Next Sunday will be my first race. It is a Super-D race a few hours north of Phoenix in Flagstaff, Arizona. The mountain bike race will have two un-timed climbs followed by two rounds of 3.7 mile timed downhills. I have been tightening down on my training for the last few months now and I have to admit, it hurts, but there is no better feeling than improvement.
The Push: The most important part of any training is pushing yourself. Luckily for me, there aren’t any extended timed climbs like a cross country race, so I can really focus on 3-12 minute downhill sprints. Strava has been an incredible tool for measuring my effort and improvement but the majority of the training has been in my head where the push beyond my physical limit is controlled.
*Be careful with this one, tired downhill riding can end badly.
The Mechanics: Beyond upgrades, I have been working hard to get my bike as clean and quiet as possible. This basically consists of stripping down my frame and rebuilding. I can’t say for sure if a creaky bike is slower than a quiet bike but it certainly makes me feel a lot faster.
Body Position: I think it is easy to focus on pedaling and physical fitness when preparing for a race, but I have found my best Strava times have always come when my focus is on body and pedal position. My main focus has been on keeping my chin as close to my handlebars as possible and keeping the correct pedal down- For example, a hard left turn will need your right pedal down, the reverse is true for right turns.
Final week preparation: Obviously taking fast lines will take a huge priority on race day so I will be travelling up north to preview the course as well as allow my body to acclimate to the higher elevation.
I look forward to filling you all in on the race experience. My expectations revolve around fun but my competitive nature won’t let me appreciate the day unless proper preparation has been completed. I feel really solid about my fitness and improvement over the last year of training but I am curious as to real training practices, specifically the week before.
What are your pre-race routines or training schedules? I know XC racing has extremely rigorous training, does anyone do downhill race training? I am interested in seeing what race prep most people are doing.