Here is some more good advice from the guys at Pedals 2 Medals, this week Donny gives us some tips on how to get the best out of limited practice times at big races, you know the ones…..where you rock up and get a max of 4 laps on a technical track, so have a read of this and put this technique into action at your next big event.
It does kinda sound like common sense but I am amazed at how many riders waste their practice time just rolling the track.
Check out the website here-http://pedals2medals.com/
Practice (like a) Champion
By Donny Robinson
As I begin the journey to this weekend’s USA BMX Disney Cup in Kissimmee, Florida, it’s a great time to write this week’s #WinningWednesdays message. I encourage everyone heading down to Florida to read these words carefully. Also, as a Pedals2Medals subscriber, I want you to know that I will be available throughout the weekend to assist with any questions or problems you may have (check @pedals2medals on Twitter for where to find me). Not going to F-L-A? Not to worry; this week’s topic will translate to any important race weekend.
We have previously covered how results come through consistent mental and physical preparation that happens in the weeks leading up to a race. Most of us will feel a sense of accomplishment and added confidence through the work we’ve put in. But you never outgrow the nerves. Minutes away from the airport bus, I am nervous (maybe “anxious” is a better way to sum it up), now that the race is finally upon me. It’s important for me to not waste what I’ve worked so hard for. The cross-country flight will take it’s toll on me. And, through experience, I know I will need to eat (healthy) constantly, stay hydrated and SLEEP as much as I can. Disney Cup is a three-day event; it’s imperative we all come into this race as rested as possible, so we can sustain the demand on our minds and bodies.
Practice is limited, and many of us can only hope to get three or four gates during each practice session. I recommend trying to get a sneak peek at the track as soon as you arrive at the arena. Once you see the track, you can start visualizing your plan of attack. Then, once you set your tires on the gate, you’ll be ready to get the most out of your practice.
Here’s how to get maximum “value” out of your race-weekend practice sessions.
First gate: Roll out and size-up the usually-third-straight rhythm section. Let everyone go in front of you, but be mindful of the gate that is dropping behind you. Attack the rhythm much like you would in a race.
Second gate: Full-speed first-straight. Back off the gas out of the first turn, let everyone pass, then get the last straight dialed in.
Third gate: Do a half-lap on the gas, connecting the gate all the way to the second turn.
Fourth gate and beyond: Should you be lucky enough for a fourth run (or more), get a full-throttle gate, then back off. Connect the second and third straights at full speed. Use any extra time to apply the advice Mike gave in previous #WinningWednesdays and ride different lines, set up for out-of-position scenarios, etc. That will give you the full-spectrum prep you need on almost any track.
Practice needs to consist of a plan, not just an all-out effort which will make you tired and leave you questioning different lines on the track. We all laugh at the notion of “Practice Champion,” but you can practice LIKE a champion, which is something different altogether.
Sometimes, you will still feel less-than-confident in what you accomplished in practice. You may have another practice, or maybe not…but if you must continue to work through your problems come qualifying time – don’t worry! Stay focused, and you will dial things in as the weekend unfolds. There have been winning weekends where it’s taken me until quarters to get the track fully dialled.