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This comeing tuesday, I will be participating in my first race. I know the trail pretty well and when i recreationaly ride it, I just hop on after stretching a bit, go. For the race, how should I warm up? Should I do it just before, and how long?
Also, before the race, what should I eat? I will drink plenty of water and I will be wearing a hydration pack during the race.

Thanks all,
Paul Levang
 

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I've only done a few races, but...

what i've done works pretty well. If possible I ride around the race area for around 20-30 minutes. I try to get to a point where I'm getting a few sweat drops going. It also gives you an opportunity to check out how the bike is running. Then after you are warmed up you can stretch. It's not supposed to be smart to stretch when you are cold. You can also run the trainer for the same amount of time. I've seen riders do it, but I probably would bring a spare rear wheel with a street tire to avoid using a nobby tire on the trainer.

As for food, I'm not a small guy so I'll eat one banana two Cliff bars and water around 2 hours or more before the race and one gel 15 minutes befrore the start. May sound like a lot, but it works for me so far.
 

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hey paul, hope that race went well for you! like the above poster, i usually warm up for about 30-40 minutes on a trainer before the race. the longer the race, the shorter the warm up, though. i'll bring the HR up gradually over 10 minutes, then do a few intervals (maybe 3/4 minutes @ 70% max HR with a 3 minute recovery;repeat twice more), then do one or two more intervals @ 80max HR, then a minute all out, then a few minutes to cool down. jump off, stretch lightly, pack up the car and get to the line. i've tried to time it so i dont have much lag time before the gun, but inevitably stand around for a few minutes. as for food/drink before the race, i try to get in a high-carb breakfast (maybe rice with an egg for a little protein) and a bottle of water two hours before, then another bottle and a gel while i warm up. hope this helps.
 
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