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According to the math using your age, my max heart rate is 185

According to my HR monitor my max HR is 184

According to my prior coach my max HR was 174

According to the first YettiCross race of the season, my max HR is 192.

The first week was a very tough course. I could use some un-bias training advice. Loosing additional weight is a work in progress.

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is it your first season? or you've raced a bunch? what level do you race? any goals?

it's pretty hard to lose weight rapidly and get good training in. depleting calories is counter to good training - gotta do that pretty slowly. assuming time is limited in training, for weight loss, intensity is your friend.

but overdoing the intensity (going hard every day) will burn you out. while not tons of science behind it (no certification here), assuming you do one race on the weekend (let's say sunday), you're doing well to do two hard days (tuesday/wed?) and another day of drills. I like to do intervals one day and practice races another. the other days, if you can, do some drills, spinning, core, or relax.

michael birner had a good article in issue 3 about training...i'm looking forward to his next one in issue 4.

the beauty of 'cross is at most levels it doesn't take a ton of time. if you can bike to work, you can get some workouts in. for weight loss though, volume and intensity are your friends... certainly don't starve on or after rides but maybe cut out some sweets and some meats and sugared drinks and large meals, snack more often. sounds basic but it worked for me.
I'd say ignore your HR. What are you going to do about it in a race? Most of the efforts involved in 'cross (or training for it) are not well quantified by HR. At this point the fitness you have it the fitness you are going to race with for the most part. Rest and recover during the season.

I would not try and lose weight during the season. You need a neutral caloric balance to really be at your best. You'll probably end up losing weight just from the intensity of cross and training for it. Cross is all about dancing with those that brung ya. Focus on the positives and worry about changing the negatives after the season.

And find a local cross practice, above all else.
Chris' advice is spot on. Just to expand on it a bit, knowing the actual number isn't that important, but knowing the feeling is. While you might max out your heart rate for brief periods of time with no consequence, sustained efforts at MHR are damned hard to recover from (ever hear the phrase blowing up?). If you find yourself maxed out, it's better to back off a bit to something sustainable than blowing up and riding backward through the race. Of course, if it's the last lap, go balls out.
Tim makes a good point as well. Feel (rate of perceived exertion) is where it's at. My experience is people get too wrapped up in a number (HR) and not how they feel at that number.

And, I think we've all seen the guy who can win the first lap but not the race.
Thanks for the input. This is my first cross racing season. My fitness is based around long road riding. Basically, base building. I have done intervals in the past, but only for the big group t-shirt rides. I'm just enjoying going out and pounding around on the course. I fully expect never the see the podium or get any payout. This is just for fun...... for now.
my numbers are close to yours. what i do, that helps keep it under control, is to set the HR monitor to beep above 176 bpm. i know this is a rate can only be sustained for 3-4 minutes before blowing. when it hits that (usually at the start gun) i back it off a notch and try and hold it at 175 at around threshold for as long as possible. anytime it beeps is a warning to tone down just a touch.
Throw the heart heart monitor away. When the racing starts you're not going to want to see or hear what's happening in there. Practice, race, make it all fun and your form will come before you know what's happening ...
I'm glad you've found something that works for you but this is exactly why I steer people away from HRMs. What do you do on day two of 'cross weekend when your HR is going to be lower for a given effort?
I agree with other posters, don't bother with your HR for racing. I only use it sometimes for training. I think getting a handle on perceived effort is really important. You can generally go from there without a HR. I'll use mine for longer intervals if I'm trying to stay in a pretty specific zone. And even then, I should be able to do those without, for the most part. But it keeps me honest, especially if I'm feeling a little lazy.

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