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Just thought I would throw this out there to see if anyone has any good advice.  I have found the last two seasons that my starts are killing me.  I feel like I go all out to stay in the top 1/4 of the group going for the hole shot (which I never get) and  get burned out too quickly and suffer while everyone passes me.  I feel like I get stronger as the race goes on but I never really recover from that first effort.  This year I have added in more threshold training and max intervals hoping that will help.  I know convential wisdom says start slower and I am going to try that approach - just wanted to see if anyone had some suggestions.

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we're all getting softer with age, but we're getting smarter too!

My 86 4Runner needed a lot more warmup than my 2000... there's probably something to that. I will say, the old 4Runner always ran better on the interstate if I wound it out in 3rd on the on-ramp. I noticed it would cruise at a lower temperature and have more steady juice if I really blew it out, like doing 70 in 3rd gear. It's kindof the same thing I think.

I in no way meant to insinuate that anyone should spectate instead of participate. I wish I could edit that last sentence.
No way!! No need to edit! It Helped light some fire under my ass!!! When I said thank you Booksy - meant it!!!
Wow! That is what I am talking about. Awesome...great tip. I cannot wait to take this one out there.
We're all about community-contributed content, so booksy or anyone else, if you're serious about writing an article, do it! we'll work with ya. And Chris has a great feature article (see that tactics part on the cover) on this in Issue 10. Back copies are available but selling pretty fast. Also available at better bike shops and some independent and national bookstores!
yeah i find the longer i warm up the better im ready to go for the duration of the race rather than doing a mediocre warm up and getting warmed up on the 2nd lap into the race
We recently had a race in town with chip timing and it really opened my eyes.

The first lap of a race is usually BARELY the fastest. The winners are the ones able to maintain the first lap pace.

This was really surprising for me to see. Also, many of the winner's times seem more consistent, and the higher categories seem more consistent.

Maybe you should go out with a GPS on auto-lap, or find another way to time your laps so you can ride a more consistent race, which should maximize your placing. The only exception being a very technical course where you stand to lose a lot of time in the first lap. Or, as previously stated, if you think you can win, you simply must be at the front, but it also must be a pace you can maintain.
hey russell,

how did the chip timing work out? were most people happy with the new technology? did it raise race entry fees?

-A
It was only a demo, but it is being researched for next year.

It worked great, no extra fee (this time), registration took an extra 30 seconds (a second guy after the number was handed out to give a chip, code it, zip it to your head tube, and ask if you needed a second for a pit bike). Then, a guy after the finish line clipped it off.

The discussion is if our local association (which runs all the races in the state) wants to mandate racers buy chips, and/or mandate events use them. I think hardcore racers would really like it, but am not sure about the guys who are new, or race only a couple times a year.
A lot of great imput here but I think there are some other important things as well- For example, how smooth and powerfully is a rider dismounting, running and remounting. Also, I feel that I have to get my strength from puke-fest group road rides. I can't go out by myself and replicate those kind of efforts by myself. So for me, coming off of the road season I know my road fitness is decent, so mainly what I work on is lot's of running and doing all the technical stuff over and over eventhough I know I have it down. Practicing your technique at slow speeds is one thing, but can you have that fluidity when your heartrate is hovering around its max! Another important thing for me is leg speed during a race, are you effecient or just mashing a huge gear? And lastly, a biggie for me is being able to sustain such a high intensity for 45 minutes. How much do your workouts resemble such an effort as race day?

And if you made it this far- I disagree with not coming back fom fading. Last year I kept on doing the same thing; going out too hard and then fading. So later in the season I experimented in different races. A few times I let myself fade to 8-10 place and came back the last 2 laps to finish on the podium. It can be done.

I would suggest doing some specific training to increase your lactic recovery in your starts, and to make your first 2 laps more powerful. Hunter Allen made a workout specifically for the purpose of starts in MTB and Cross races.

 

15 min warm up w/ 3-4 spin ups
 4x Long Intervals:
-1 min ALL OUT from standstill
- 10 min HR zone 4-5a
- 10 min recovery spin

 

Race by your strengths to succeed, but train your limiters.

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