I raced last night.
I felt pretty good and was able to find a good groove.
I also remembered something, something that helps me race well.
It’s the first 5. 5 minutes of whole shot. After the first five minutes I settle into my race pace.
This initial 5 minute effort separates the groups, and makes the race more simple. You see the pros do it too. Go watch an XCO race. After 5-10 minutes you’ll see groups begin to form, and then the pace settles down to where it mostly stays with the exception of attacks for the rest of the race.
In my case last night, I was able to put around 10 seconds on the rest of the field in the first five minutes. I looked down and my normalized power for the 5 minute effort was around 450.
Then I settled into my race pace, keeping things at around 350 watts and 180 heart rate. This allowed the gap to slowly build as I did my best to rip the descents and go the fastest I could on each section of the course. By the end of the first lap I had about 30 seconds on second and third. I then settled back in for the climb and was able to put another 30 seconds on them by the finish.
Of course, a lot of the time this 5 minute effort results in me settling into 3rd, or 20th, or a variety of different places depending on the race and who I’m racing against.
But I’ve found it’s a good way to race. It puts me in good positioning for the race and sets me up to be able to ride well on the day.
So give it a go. 5 minutes all out, then settle in.
I have a specific workout I have my athletes do to practice this for XC racing. If you’re interested, message me.