Legs are sore or feel great after a race

Hello. Have a question. I have noticed over the years that in some races i feel great but legs will be super sore day after; whereas other races i dont feel great and legs hurt during but next day legs feel great! Can someone help explain this?

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hey, same here, and in my case It depends on the proportion of anaerobic contribution during the race.
I do MTB races and it depends a lot on the course route and elevation; if the number of anaerobic efforts is high or they are longer than usual, the next day the legs are still very soft.

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Some things I can think of:

  1. What Everman mentioned (they are more fatiguing e.g. faster-twitch muscle fibers (which also recover slower) as well as using up more glycogen + how close you were to task failure (per effort))
  2. How many carbohydrates you took around/after the race (for recovery afterward)
  3. The CTL you had at the time (as well as what workouts you did/adapted to and whether they reflected the race well or not)
  4. How fresh you were during the race
  5. Perhaps when your legs don’t feel great during the race, you (unconsciously) back off a bit, which decreases the strain, so you have less to recover from
  6. Perhaps you modified your bike in the meanwhile (e.g. saddle higher/lower, bike geometry e.g. TT bike vs. more upright mountain bike)
  7. Differences in cadences/torque with their respective power outputs
  8. Whether you did some active recovery/cooling down/light workout (immediately/a couple hours/a day afterward)
  9. Warming-up beforehand