14 August 2015

post race analysis for my first MTB race of the season....

This year has been a busy one for me with lots of cycling but no much full on racing.  After the soggy bottom a couple of weeks ago I finally managed to get myself to an MTB race this season.

Last year I raced the full season and coming into the final round I felt strong, this year was a little different.   I can safely say I didn't have my race legs under me.   As we lined up for the start I began to wonder what I had let myself in for.  I had decided it was a great idea to race in the expert category (three laps rather than two), given the longer rides I had been doing I figured the longer ride would possibly work in my favour.  What I had neglected to take into consideration is the pace the expert riders all ride at.
We lined up and there were the usual suspects (Will, Jamie, Josh, Tim etc) on the front row, I lined up a little further back. Then we were off, the pace can best be described as very very fast, I was pedalling as hard as I could and people were just pulling away from me.  Previously when I raced sport or single speed I would expect to at least be pacing myself at the front of the pack if not leading it, and that is the big difference between Expert and everyone else, these guys are FAST! I don't just mean they have a fast start, they start fast and maintain their speed throughout the race too.
Without making new segments I looked for a good example of how fast they are compared to me.

The Sisson Climb is a ski trail climb 0.4 miles long, not particularly steep or technical.

My segment times were as follows
Lap 1 - 2:40
Lap 2 - 2:54
Lap 3 - 3:10
Josh, who came second in the race had the following times
Lap 1 - 2:13
Lap 2 - 2:17
Lap 3 - 2:16
On this segment alone I lost 1min 58 seconds

Clearly I need to work on my hill climbing and If I am honest technical skills, descending and fitness in general if I ever want to make the top ten.

How did I do overall?
The results can be found here and I will say although someone has to be last this time it was not me, though it was pretty close.
Did I have a good time, absolutely.  I can honestly say that I couldn't have ridden any faster for the ride.

This is my heartrate profile for the race
Heartrate for XC race
or to put that into numbers
Lap 1 - 181bpm
Lap 2 - 181bpm
Lap 3 - 179bpm

On the third lap I was cramping up a little going up the sisson climb which was not so much fun and I managed to crash going into a single track section on the first lap.  I raced the majority of the race with Megan who won the womens race and is a very strong rider.

Immediately after the race I thought my second lap was going to have been my fastest however it turned out that my first lap was my fastest, even with a fall, I guess trying to catch up with people will do that.
Rough lap times taken from Strava
Lap 1 - 28:52
Lap 2 - 29:45
Lap 3 - 31:43

Finally do I think I made the right decision to ride in the expert group finishing over 13min 50seconds back on the eventual winner... Yes I do, I had a great time racing and realised that I really have missed racing this year.  Besides someone has to finish almost last.   Next time I will improve and maybe one day with a little more focused training I will make a top ten finish.

Flat out and in the pain zone - Photo Credit Joshua Estes

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