Wonder if you can offer some advice. I suspect that I am a bit over-reached and require a few days recovery but would like your opinions. I've noticed recently that when I train (and race), it can take me a good hour pedaling to be able to put out a true maximal effort. My HR/body feels "unwilling" to give out maximum effort until later in the ride.
For example, yesterday I raced a 2hr Elite XC race, for the first 2 laps I felt very "flat", and a bit unmotivated given that it was a race situation. However, after about 45mins of racing, I felt my adrenaline system kick in and got into race "mode", made up some places and finished a strong 5th! I've noticed this in training too. Could it be that my body/adrenals are just a bit tired and need some proper rest? I normally ride 8-12hrs per week, 150-200miles mixed road/MTB. Also, after a day off the bike, I find it takes even longer to warm up, especially if it's off the back of a big training week.
Interestingly, I won a road race the other week but had the same issue. Looking back on it, I think it kind of helped me conserve energy and win - as I couldn't give maximum effort and over-cook it at the beginning. Lucky for me, the adrenaline system woke up at the 40 mile point and I was off the front, 6 miles to go and solo'd the win. Perhaps this is why some of the pro road racers say that your best race performance will be when you are close to overtraining? I can cope with it for road racing but it's no use when you need to give 100% from the start of an Elite MTB XC race!
What do you think? Some time off the bike/active recovery required?