It's been a few weeks since my last disjointed rambling and I've completed a couple more WORS races, with mixed results. I've had a chance to mull this over in my overly analytic brain. I bet you can't wait to read what I've come up with.
My last post had me musing whether or not I push hard enough during races. My first race after that post would have me answering a resounding yes! On June 25, I raced the Subaru Cup XC at Mt. Morris. Three short and hilly laps around the trails at Nordic Mountain. Short but intense climbs, some excellent single track and just enough open sections for passing. The night before this race I worked until 11 pm. By the time I got home, relaxed a little and hit the hay it was well passed midnight. I was up around 5:30 am the next morning for an 8 am race. This is about 3 1/2 hours earlier than my usual start. I felt good. I hadn't done much riding the week of the race due to lots of rain. Most of my training was short runs. This race was run with the Comp class since it was a National race and we all raced as Cat 2's. I was a little leery of racing with these guys since I was sure I was going to get my butt kicked. My goal was to ride hard and see what happened. The start was a little hairy since there were no call ups, so once we got Don's GOOOOOOO!!!! it was a mad dash to the first single track. It was hard to tell where I was with the mixed classes racing so I just pushed at a hard pace. I felt good on the climbs and did pretty well in the single track. I wasn't getting passed much and seemed to be holding my own. I had a couple guys I was watching/listening for behind me so I kept pushing, assuming they were always just behind me. I ended up 5th in my age class-1st in Sport. I was really happy with this result.
I raced the short track and the Super D on Sunday with mixed results. I got blitzed in the short track. I almost made the entire race but got pulled when the winner of my heat just lapped my at the line. I never seem to do well at these really short and intense races. The Super D went a little better. After a poor start I passed a couple guys and ended up with a solid finish.
Now for the ugly race-in my opinion. Two weeks after this race we headed up to Eau Claire for the WORS Chippewa Valley Firecracker. I like this race and the course but just never have a good race here. This year was no exception. I had an awesome start and was sitting in third going in to the first single track. After one rider lost it on the rocky switchback downhill I pushed a little harder to keep him behind me. The first lap went well. Through the single track sections and out in to the open areas I kept a solid pace. Just as I entered the second lap, someone threw out the anchor! Not really sure what happened. I had two racers in my age group catch me as we started lap 2 and I latched on to their wheels and figured we'd push through the lap and keep pushing each other. Not!! They rode away from me with no problem. I saw them gap me and just lost all my motivation. I kept trying to pick up the pace through out the second lap but just never found that comfortable groove.
So, what was the difference. My wife seems to think it has something to do with how much rest I get, or the lack of it. For whatever reason, some of my best races seem to be on little or no sleep. I actually race really well when I work 11-7 the night before and go on a couple hours sleep. When I look back, it does seem to work that way. I think the courses had a big bearing on how I did. I seem to do better when there is some climbing in the course. According to my GPS, the race at Mt. Morris had 500 ft. of climbing in each short lap. I'm not a great climber, but I don't mind suffering on the climbs. In contrast, Eau Claire was mostly flat, with very short climbs. And it has a fast and long-for me- lead out. I tend to go balls out and try to hang at the front at races like this. Then I just never get a good chance to recover. Hmmm......looks like I know where I need to focus my training on!
As far as pushing hard, I feel I gave both races equal effort. My heart rates were about equal for both races. I felt more relaxed and stronger at Mt. Morris than Eau Claire, but I can't really put my finger on why. I had less traveling and stayed at home for Mt. Morris vs. a 2 1/2 hour drive and a hotel stay for Eau Claire. Could that have something to do with it? I just felt better at Mt. Morris. The course played to my strengths. Eau Claire, not so much.
I think I'll take a little time off and see if I can work on my weaknesses for the next few weeks. I'll let you know how that goes.
Thanks for checking this out!