Jul 21 2010

In Season Training

During a race season, if one is not in shape, it will become apparent about midway through the season.  With the heat and humidity burning up the country, the weaker riders will break down and the results will show.  Keeping a training schedule during the week is important because you ensure that you are getting enough rest for the upcoming race and that you still maintain your endurance.  The whole part of this is to be able to ride, strength train, get your cardio in and still rest.  With the right timing, you can cram this into the week and still feel 100% for your next week.

Mondays are usually a day of active recovery.  There is no weight training on this day because your body is still recovering from the conditions of the race.  You may not feel sore, but hitting the weight room or busting out hardcore cardio this soon may put you behind for the rest of the week.  So take it easy and just do a light jog or any kind of cardio.  Keep it under an hour.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the heavy days.  Get your motos in for these days to work on some things you struggled with from the weekend.  Maybe you didn’t do too well with starts or corners.  This is the time to go over any mistakes made over the weekend.  If you can’t ride during the week, hit the treadmill, row machine or stationary (road) bike.  Unlike Mondays, cardio needs to be a higher intensity (around 80% of your max HR) for over an hour.  Then you can take a breather for a while and later hit up some strength training.  Here’s a sample workout I did a while ago that’s perfect for in season training.  Don’t do this exact workout two days in a row.  You can do this on Tuesday and then for Wednesday, you can substitute different exercises.

Thursday and Friday are like Monday.  However, Thursday’s cardio requires a higher heart rate (around 80% of your max HR) and you can keep it about an hour.  And Friday is short and very light cardio.

For the weekend, just travel and keep hydrated!  This system keeps the bulk of the training in the beginning of the week so you can still rest and feel ready come race time.  The active recovery on Monday and Friday keep the heart up and the blood flowing.  Good luck!

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Jul 14 2010

Block Pass Breakdown

If you haven’t looked already, my previous post went over passing opportunities.  To recap the article, you don’t want to follow because if you are copying the guy in front of you, you are just going to stay behind him.  As far as the mental aspect, you can rev your engine and make as much noise as you can to break the concentration of your competitor, but use sparingly.  Today I really want to go over the block pass to complete the whole passing idea.  It is pretty simple concept, but requires a lot of bike control.

Below is a video of an epic battle between Chad Reed and Kevin Windham.  You can use it as a visual aid and it is a great race to watch as well.  A great example of a block pass is at 6:55.

Before you even get to the corner, you want to set up in the section prior to it.  You want to set it up so you can be on the inside of the other rider.  You can see Chad Reed is right behind and on the inside of Windham.  If you notice, Reed sets up for the corner the same time as Kevin which ensures that he can cut inside while Windham goes wide.

When the two are in the corner, they are even and Reed has complete control of where Windham goes.  One thing Reed could have done is drift out wide, but he kept to the inside which allowed Kevin to keep that 450’s momentum up.  That allowed Windham to make a pretty easy pass on the next straight.

As I said earlier, this requires a lot of control over the bike.  In the section before the corner, you want to make sure that you are squeezing the bike with your lower body and your elbows are up.  When your elbows are up in the corner, there is less of a chance of your handle bars coming together.  This is somewhat of a tricky technique, so take it slow and when you feel comfortable with it, try in a race situation.

Jul 12 2010

Passing 101

Unless you are Mike Alessi (on a 450) and holeshot almost every race, you have to make some passes to win.  So, if you want to save your tear offs, you will have to get creative and find a way around your competitors.  At the amateur level, concentration and mentality play a big part.  However, line selection and commitment will make or break your pass.

Like I said, at the amateur level, racing is a little frantic.  If you are behind someone, you can rev the hell out of your engine, scream in corners or anything that breaks their concentration.  When they aren’t concentrating on the track ahead of them, they are going to make mistakes.  Now, this really isn’t something you want to do every race, just as a last resort.  Sometimes, just pressuring the rider in front of you will force a mistake on their part.  Again, this is more for the amateur level because professionals are just that, pros.  They are used to the mind games.

As far as line selection, you never want to follow the person in front of you.  How do you expect to get around someone if you are doing the exact same thing they are?  If they go wide, try to slip in on the inside and vise versa.  On race day, the main line around the track may not be the best place to make passes because it gets beat up.  Searching for smoother lines at the end of the day will also help you conserve energy and also keep your speed up to make a pass.

Being that the amateur races are generally shorter in duration, it is better to make passes at the beginning of the race when everyone is still close to each other.  If you are going to make a pass, you need to commit to it.  The longer you stay behind someone and eating dirt, the less time you have to move up in position.  So if you are going try to get around someone, do it quick and do it cleanly.  There’s no sense in taking out the both of you.

Tomorrow, I will go through block passing, so stay tuned!

Jul 06 2010

Navigating Flat Corners

One of the great things about riding on soil is that the riders have the ability to shape the race course.  Sure, this means that the track can get rough, but berms can definitely help us out.  However, when we don’t have the convenience of a rut or berm, things tend to get tricky.  With nothing to help catch the weight of you and your bike, a steady right hand and a little balancing act is required to get through flat corners effectively.

Because you don’t have anything to help you lean, your approach needs to be a little different.  A good idea is to take a wider approach than you normally would.  If you have ever watched road racing, their lines through corners are usually wide arcs.  When you are still upright before the turn, this is the point where your braking should be done; your weight is vertical and your tires have the most available traction.  You want to stand through the braking bumps so you ensure that your entrance into the corner is nice and smooth.

So, when you get your braking done and sit down, you want to sit right up on the gas cap.  That way, you put as much weight on the front wheel as possible for optimal traction. The way in which you lean the bike over is crucial here, as well.  The best way is to sit on the outside edge of the seat.  This keeps your weight centered and straight down, rather than out and away.

Like always, keep weight on the outside foot peg and the outside elbow up put additional weight on the front wheel.  As I mentioned earlier, a steady throttle hand is the biggest part.  Slipping the clutch and getting the rear wheel rotating too quickly will just spin you out.  So, you want a steady roll on of the throttle to make sure the rear has plenty of traction

Drifting out too wide can leave the door open for a pass.  Keeping your elbow up and weight on the outside peg gives you the traction to power through the turn and avoid drifting out.  Unlike riding through a wide arc, squaring up flat turns robs momentum and drive.  It is time consuming and a waste of energy.  Once you find that balance between leaning and twisting the throttle, these corners become excellent passing opportunities.