I am ready to run my 2nd race. The first race was more about getting familiar with how things will go, gauge the level of competition in the local series, make sure I don't kill myself or anyone else...you know, the basics. I did that race on a borrowed MTB, but now have my own "cross" bike, and it's time to start taking this career seriously
So I'm hoping to improve on my performance, and actually think about what I'm doing versus just trying to stay out of everyones' way, and have a couple of questions that I'd like opinions on:
1. What kind of tire pressure is typical for you experienced racers. I realize it can vary from course to course, and condition to condition, but how about a range, or some examples? i.e.:
Mostly hardpan/pavement, dry conditions: Would I run all the way close to max pressure for this, or still back it down some due to the fact that there will be some turns in the junk (if so, how much)?
Woodsy, hilly, grassy, dry conditions: Any more or less pressure if there is more "off road" type condition than pavement/hardpan?
What about either of these when the weather gets poorer? Colder? Muddier? Snowier?
I ask because I was at the USGP here in L'Ville, and the Pros that we pit crewed for (Chris Jones and Adam Myerson) were running 28 psi in the front and 30 in the rear (or vice versa, I can't remember). Pretty low pressure, I thought. It was a dingy, damp, cold day. I forgot to ask what they ran on Sunday, which was sunnier, warmer, and much drier. I just ran into a local guy practicing out at the same course the other day with 80 psi or something crazy, although it was his first time out, so that wasn't thought out, I know? I've been riding around at about 30 psi (you know, what's good for the pros...), but it sure seems like a lot of work on the flat, "fast" sections. It clearly helps on the technical sections, but maybe I've gone too far (?).
2) How much ettiquite is involved in these races? I mean, I think I'm in pretty good shape, and can hang pretty good for the 30+ minutes -- I am not a road cyclist, or any kind of cyclist at that, but at the end of my first race, I was running by folks up the hills, carrying this heavy mtb, and making up good ground -- but DO NOT want to be in the way while I'm learning the ropes. I do, however, want to finish well, and don't want to just move over every time another rider comes up on me. There were numerous occasions in the first race, where I just moved over when any racers approached from behind on flatter or "easier" sections of the course (EVERYONE was a better cyclist than me), only to be held up by the same person on more narrow, technical sections or run-ups. Had I been more of a jerk and made an effort to keep them behind me, I could have stayed ahead of them, possibly, and made up ground on those run-ups. What's the expectation? I definitely realize that if I'm being lapped by leaders I need to get out of the way so as not to influence the actual finish, but what about other racers in general?
3) This sort of goes with #2, but I am interested in how to handle the start (twofold, really).
a) Being so new, what is expected at the start from me? Should I just let the field go and then pass the people I can pass, or can I try my hardest at the start, knowing I might end up in front of riders who are much better, at the risk of holding them up and effecting the finish?
b) This is technique, not ettiquite -- How do you start a sprint from a dead stop? Do you start in a middle gear and just work from there, or do you start lower, and keep shifting as you gain speed? Is it good to shift a lot during a sprint like that (it seems like that might put unwanted pressure on the chain)?
4) lastly, what is this talk of "glueing" tires? Maybe this is super basic stuff, but I don't think my tires are glued on. Is this something special for Pro racers? I've heard of tubeless tires, so maybe it has something to do with that? Do I need to know anything about this glueing?
Any other advice or tips you can think of from when you were at your 2nd or 3rd race would be great. Past the "I wonder what is going to happen?" 1st race feeling, and on to the "what should I be doing to be a 'real' participant?" stage...