Here is the final Tacchino ‘Cross installment. These podium interviews are just what you need to get ready for this weekend’s races. Pre-ride strategy, race tactics, barrier technique, pre-race food. It’s all here.
Thanks for reading.
Under ideal conditions (you arrive on time, it’s not pouring down rain), how much time do you spend on the course before racing? Do you walk the course? Do any hot laps? What are you looking for during this time?
Steevo Cummings (Indiana Regional Medical Center, 2nd Place Men’s Elite): 20-25 minutes is ideal. I ride around the outside of the course and watch the racers when I arrive. I got to pre-ride the course after the Elite Masters with Gerry Pflug. He showed me the lines he was taking, where bottlenecks were forming, where to recover, etc. That was like doing 3 or 4 laps on my own. Some of the stuff I would have not found on my own.
Jared Nieters (Haymarket Bicycles/HomeVisit, 3rd Place Men’s Elite): I try to arrive early, during the ‘B’ race, and do the pit work for Tyler Karnes (he does a great job taking care of the task for me during the elite race). After the ‘B’ race, I ride one lap slowly, in my street clothes, and get a good solid look at all of the corners and lines. During the next race I get my number and throw my kit on. Before the women’s race, I typically try to take a lap at a comfortable pace and then another where I hit a few of the trickier corners at speed. Some of the lines I take aren’t the ones that get beaten in during the day (I take early-apex lines more than most people in order to keep exit speeds high), and that becomes more obvious when I’m warming up at speed. I hop on the trainer during the women’s race, and make sure everything is taken care of, before catching the end of the women’s race.
Jennifer Maxwell (ATAC Sportswear p/b Bike Rack DC, 2nd Place Women’s Elite): Usually get to the race 2 hours before a UCI race and 1 1/2 for a local. I park, get the LeMond back-up bike ready, and ride to registration. If I can get on the course, I will do a few laps to get a feel for tire pressure and lines to take. I like to sometimes ride behind an Elite women/male to get a feel for which lines to take. HOT laps are for when I am running late and know that I will not get a full hour of warm up on the trainer. So I then register, drop off the LeMond in the pit, and head to the car to warm up on the trainer. I prefer warming up on rollers but with grass and uneven parking venues I need to use the trainer for cross.
Tyler Karnes (Pioneer Racing, 1st Place Men’s 3/4): I usually try to arrive at the venue a little over 2 hours before my race, that way I can get out of the car and get straight on course to pre ride a lap before the early race starts. I usually try to get another lap before the last race ahead of mine. This weekend, some unfortunate events in a rider breaking his ankle allowed a lot more course time than usual. I think I got 6-7 laps in before my race, and I re-rode some of the more difficult sections numerous times. I usually walk some of the course on the way to registration, noticing how riders are taking lines and if they are avoiding anything on course. I will get a couple hot laps before my race just as a final warm-up prep.
Patrick Blair (Adventures For the Cure, 2nd Place Men’s 3/4): After racing about 13 races this season I think I finally have my pre-race prep figured out! Before the CAT4 race I try to get in at least 2 slow laps, analyzing every aspect of the course. After the CAT4 race I try to get in at least 2 more laps at a faster pace but still taking lots of mental notes on the course layout. During the races before my race I spend time stretching, checking tire pressure, eating, cheering for teammates, etc.
Tim Brown (The Bike Rack, 3rd Place Men’s 3/4): I normally like to get in at least 3 laps before racing… an easy lap, a hard lap, and one to work on tricky sections. I usually never arrive early enough to have time to walk the course.
Meg Schiffman (Squadra Coppi, 2nd Place Women’s 4): I feel most comfortable if I get 4-5 laps in on the course…which usually means getting there about 3-4 hours before my race. I don’t walk the course, but get a few slower laps in and then one or two just below race effort. My objective is really just to gain confidence and familiarity with the course while getting the bod warmed up. The more laps I get under my belt prior to the race, the better I feel on the start line! I do try to test out lines, look for the dryer ones, etc. during the warm-up laps as well. Continue reading “Tacchino ‘Cross: Podium Interviews”