TODAY'S HUNKR "TRAINING" RIDE WAS A MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE. If your strategy is to be race ready, then there's no better prep than racing. But, you have to race with a purpose:
For example, going through the 48hr countdown to race start. 48 hours out your bike better be perfect. 24 hours out you can practice resting. 12 hours out, load your RaceDay Bag(tm) and place everything but your bike and drinks in the car. Get to bed early, get up early, and arrive early. If all goes well, you'll be early and if it doesn't you won't be stressing. Perfecting the 48hr countdown is what pros do, especially the amateur pros like us.
Sizing up your competition is another reason. Go to the race with the sole purpose of seeing how fit the others are. Throw down hard attack. Who has legs? Make notes, and cruise the rest of the race.
Racing is great for getting battle hardened. Ride as aggressive as you can, really ruin yourself. Then rest the following week or two before the race that matters.
Try different race tactics: attacking off the front, sucking wheel till the final sprint, pushing hard and dropping people on the climbs, riding on the front in a stiff crosswind and leaving no place to draft, attacking with a huge tailwind.
It's a great way to perfect your food too. What can you eat during a HUNKR? How much fluid do you need? How many calories? Will you need more than two bottles? What can you stash in your car to look forward to afterwards?
None of those was my reason, mine was two-fold... one, I needed a change of pace. I've been doing long, 4-5 hour road rides every Saturday and a relatively short mountain bike race with some steep climbs and fun descending was just what the doctor ordered...
... but it was more than that,
I tricked Surfergirl into coming,
Hey, do you want to go to Palm Desert Saturday?
Do you mind if we make a stop on the way?
It's always a good idea to practice getting a hall pass for race day.
Racing is alive and well in Fontana
Before the pain... MTB racing strategy is pretty simple, stay on your bike and pace yourself... neither of which I did very well today.