XC Race Strategy/Tips – What Are Yours?

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  • XC Race Strategy/Tips – What Are Yours?
  • Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Ride as hard as you can. Then a bit harder. Stop when someone tells you to.

    Wouldn’t play with things like SPD tension myself, I’d want it to be the same as normal riding. If your feet come out then I’d be looking at your cleats.

    trail_rat
    Member

    win or die trying.

    no shame in blowing up a few times in the learning process πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Ride faster, and then some.

    Had a dabble in a multisport race on the MTB legs, was ok but as you said had eased off on the easier bits and got passed. Also not fit enough and lost out on the ups.

    Get Fitter
    then get more fit
    then get fitter

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    If you can still stand up or see at the end, you weren’t trying hard enough! πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon curiousyellow
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    Does anyone play the “would I have podiumed if I dropped a cat” game?

    @njee20 Think I saw your wife? Rides a Whippet with 650B wheels?

    I swapped the pedals over from the full sus bike which had them set low for “bail or you go over a Spanish mountainside” mode. Way too low for the bog at Frith Hil when you’re climbing in the wrong gear!

    Does anyone bother with a Garmin and HR monitor? I was glad to not have put it on, but was wishing there was a way to time myself without risking a Β£300 GPS given the amount of crashing I did.

    dlr
    Member

    If youre not leading by a comfortable margin then its 95+% “flat out” the whole time. I have only won one small race where I was able to relax a little (although not that much as I didn’t know where 2nd place was), all other races I will average say 195HR and max at 205. As mentioned above, if you don’t feel like being sick at the end then you weren’t trying πŸ™‚

    I don’t use my HRM these days as I can monitor myself well enough. With regards to the GPS, some people mount them on the top tube just behind the stem, out of the way there, not so easy to see but far less danger of damage

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    @njee20 Think I saw your wife? Rides a Whippet with 650B wheels?

    Nope, not mine!

    Suspect you’re thinking of Lou – who is Jason’s wife (rides for XCRacer/Four4th) on a Whippet with 650B wheels.

    Does anyone bother with a Garmin and HR monitor? I was glad to not have put it on, but was wishing there was a way to time myself without risking a Β£300 GPS given the amount of crashing I did.

    I leave mine on the bars, and keep a vague eye on lap times, but don’t really pay too much attention to the heart rate.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Does anyone bother with a Garmin and HR monitor? I was glad to not have put it on, but was wishing there was a way to time myself without risking a Β£300 GPS given the amount of crashing I did.

    I did, looked down on the first hill to see I was at 191, it then went up a bit more so I stopped looking at that and went for average speed as a measure/target

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I really wouldn’t bother with a target myself, just ride as hard as you can. As Terry said there’s no shame in blowing up in order to find your limit. Marathons are a little different, but in XC I’d forget about pacing!

    scu98rkr
    Member

    yeah similar advice to njee. I found I didnt get much quicker trying to pace my self.

    Best advice is to go hard from the start and keep trying to go as faster as possible for as long as possible. Ok u might blow up on the current race but u’ll be quicker for the next race and probably blow later or preferably after the race has finished.

    Premier Icon curiousyellow
    Subscriber

    It would be really useful for lap times. I thought I heard the missus shout “49 lap” when I went past when she actually said 29 (still slow, I know). Sat up a little bit after that.

    Toying with the idea of an Edge 200 just for races. Don’t want to give Garmin any of my money after how shocking the Edge 800 I shelled out for is, but at Β£84 it would be handy just to have a backup GPS.

    Also, this way I have a stick if I look down and clock my HR at anything below Zone 5!

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    If all you want is to look at the number and have a lap timer why not just buy a cheap HRM or something?

    Whilst tidying the garage I found a Polar FS1 (I think), needs a battery, and I’ll have to see if I can find the fabric chest strap, but yours for Β£20 if you want?

    Dales_rider
    Member

    When you get on someones wheel going uphill put little bursts of power in then freewheel [Hope hubs required BTW] the noise of the hub psychics them out πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon curiousyellow
    Subscriber

    After my first XC race of the year and finishing with quite a bit left in the tank I’m trying to put together some things to try for the next one.

    – The sprint for position at the beginning is worth doing!
    – Don’t ease off on the easier bits of the course. My riding of the technical bits is not good enough to make up more time on it.
    – Climb out of the saddle more.
    – Don’t wear glasses if it’s raining. They just fog up.
    – Increase the SPD tension. Kept clipping out on the climbs which was very annoying.
    – Try a higher tyre pressure in the rear tyre if it’s raining. Hopefully it will make the tyre “cut through” the mud more.

    Anyone got any of their strategies/tips they’d care to share please?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Psychics them out? I guess at least you’d know!

    I say sod that – if you can freewheel just go past, that’ll psyche them out more.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    The advices to get fitter and ride hard is good.

    Although I find that using training to know what your body is telling you, how hard you can push, and how long you can push for, what your strengths and weaknesses are is invaluable. You are then able to plan/manage your ride around that.

    I did a (road) event the other day and worked around all that and came in 6th of 84 over 85 miles – not bad for my first. 2 minutes faster would have been 3 more places…

    trail_rat
    Member

    if someone behind me is freewheeling up hill in a race – i just think , oh well they are broken.

    like nick says if you are able to freewheel uphill youll really be looking to pass…..

    A really common thing to see is when people get onto a nice flat fire road section is they sit up and enjoy a rest. This is the time to bury yourself in a lactate threshold TT effort with a view to getting a bit of recovery in a twisty singletrack section later on.

    Anyway to you I’d say have a go at this strategy: Aim to try and keep up with the best for just the first lap. Doing that would be akin to winning gold. After that, blow up, sit up if you like and grin to yourself as your vision returns to normal; now you know what pace you’ve got to train to.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    My other top tip from the weekend was as we did the same course both days but in reverse I was in the strange position of making 6 mins on day 2 – most made nothing or lost time. I put this firmly at my carb loading (mostly ale but some red wine)

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    My other top tip from the weekend was as we did the same course both days but in reverse I was in the strange position of making 6 mins on day 2 – most made nothing or lost time

    Didn’t try hard enough on day 1 πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Nick Evans wrote:

    My other top tip from the weekend was as we did the same course both days but in reverse I was in the strange position of making 6 mins on day 2 – most made nothing or lost time
    Didn’t try hard enough on day 1

    I most certainly did, I was a last minute sub and had just taken the ladies team into mixed. I was trying very hard to not let the side down

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    Being in agony doesn’t in itself make you fast if you throw technique, line and control out the window.

    Premier Icon notmyrealname
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    You probably need a training day with someone like Richmtbguru. By his own admission he’s never won anything but he could teach you to be just as awesome as him πŸ˜€

    clubber
    Member

    10 mins before the race, look at yourself in a mirror (Bring one to the race, should Race HQ not have one ready) and remind yourself that you’re a tiger, coiled and ready to be released onto the unsuspecting race field. Do a roar or two just to really get yourself fired up. Even better if your competition can hear it as they’ll be totally psyched out.

    Release the tiger. That’s all you really need to know.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    Never raced an xc race in me life, never will, but, my advice would be to take some time learning to ride technically hard stuff too, not just concentrating on fitness.
    The usual xc whippet type I’ve seen seems to have trouble riding anything more technical than a field.. πŸ˜€

    The Beard
    Member

    Never raced an xc race in me life, never will,

    Think we can tell from your acute observations above…. πŸ˜‰ Most of the guys I race are so bloody fast on the technical sections it’s beyond belief.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    By his own admission he’s never won anything but he could teach you to be just as awesome as him

    He’s won everything, just never taken up any of the many opportunities he’s had to turn pro.

    The usual xc whippet type I’ve seen seems to have trouble riding anything more technical than a field.

    You need to spend some more time with some decent XC racers.

    Premier Icon eat_more_cheese
    Subscriber

    The usual xc whippet type I’ve seen seems to have trouble riding anything more technical than a field..

    Christ, the usual ones I’ve seen will put most dh’ers to shame

    Jason
    Member

    @njee20 Think I saw your wife? Rides a Whippet with 650B wheels?

    Nick, something I need to ask Lou about πŸ™‚

    Lou was slipping her way around the Gorrick race on Sunday on her 650b Whippet, not sure she found Racing Ralph tyres the best for that course.

    The bit of advice given to me years ago that I still remember is that XC races are won on the up hills and lost on the downhills. Occasionally have to remind myself of that when I get over confident on descents.

    ac282
    Member

    Of course XC racing is all about riding round flat fields…

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Nick, something I need to ask Lou about

    Well people will talk after she had to stretch me out after the Gorrick 100 πŸ˜‰

    Yep, most courses are just around flat fields

    Candodavid
    Member

    Dhana, when you’ve vomited over your bars you know your trying hard enough,r

    JCL
    Member

    These are the two best tips that work for me.

    Do you pre race warm up 40 mins before the start and finish it no earlier than 15 minutes before the start. Do three short max efforts towards the end of the warm up.

    When racing sit in on the climbs and spin to your max effort and then just as you get to the top of the climb stand up and go down a few gears, or up a chainring, and sprint until you get on top of that gear.

    IanMunro
    Member

    Tight corners are good places to overtake.
    Don’t slow down quite enough to get round then use the rider ahead, who has, as a crumple zone.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    The usual xc whippet type I’ve seen seems to have trouble riding anything more technical than a field..

    Yes, I thought perhaps my comment may not go down too well. πŸ˜€ Of course there are some very talented xc racers, but I’ve also seen a lot who are……..not. There are of course also some technical races or sections in races.
    Just saying, not all focus should be on fitness.
    Ok, I’ll leave now πŸ™‚

    thomthumb
    Member

    The usual xc whippet type I’ve seen seems to have trouble riding make anything technical look like a field.

    corrected

    JCL
    Member

    Just saying, not all focus should be on fitness.
    Ok, I’ll leave now

    Totally agree. What you want is some British Columbia XC racing. Hellish tech climbs and descents that make a UK DH track look like pump track.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    It’s definitely sound advice, XC races are won on the climbs and lost on the descents.

    crosshair
    Member

    If you did a 29 minute lap at frith hill- you’ve got nothing to worry about πŸ™‚
    What cat were you in?

    33min / 34min was enough for second place in Fun Male πŸ˜€
    Perhaps move down a cat lol

    I had my edge 800 on and it got plastered but was fine.
    I took HR off of the main screen though…

    I honestly didn’t crash once although had to unclip up a few of the short sharp hills. I managed all of those big climbs at least once.

    Premier Icon OwenP
    Subscriber

    I’m kind of hoping the lap times set at frith hill in the morning were in very different conditions to those of the afternoon, or something has gone badly wrong in my riding (but thats not unlikely)!

    As for the dropping a category thing, this is my first year of xc racing so I’m not qualified to really comment on others, but I picked the Open cat and have stuck with it as I thought it would be better to track progress. Others seem to move between close categories, like open and sport, depending on the series. My observation seems to be that this is based on where they will get the best race with similar level riders, rather than anything sinister, and the variable level of the categories at different events would seem to make that approach a good idea, more so maybe than my approach in terms of consistent races!

    Really enjoying the local xc series’ and +1 for the impressive riding skill of the good guys, on top of the fitness. Events like the xc Rampage, with no hills, really made it painfully obvious that fitness alone won’t get you up there!

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