1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    First XC Race..Any Advice?

    Sunday will be my first XC race. I have been training myself at a local trail for over 4 months. I also do long distance rides on a state trail for endurance.

    I have purchased a Giant NRS3 and it is tuned up and ready to roll. I will have about 2 weeks on the bike by Sunday. Im pretty comfortable with it.

    I can complete a 8 mile single trac in about 50 minutes. This singletrac is beginner to intermediate terrain.

    I will be doing a 4.5mile loop 2x on Sunday. It is the Citizen Division which is the lowest division besides First Timers. I have decided to skip the First Timers race because it is only 4 miles long, and ive been training for 4 months. I know some of you will frown on this, but I am only getting 3 races in this year and I did not want to sacrifice one of them in a race that is not even scored (no points are awarded).

    To be honest im extremely nervous as I dont know what to expect. Im not sure if these guys are gonna blow me right out of the water and im gonna look like an idiot or what. Will they be mean to me my first race and give me the cold shoulder?

    How will I know when to pass? There is no passing on single track right?

    Any advice/suggestions is appreciated.

    Sorry for the book.

  2. #2
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    Passing: Just wait for a spot that seems clean and safe and make sure you say "On your left/right." There's nothing more to it than that. Just make sure you understand that passing takes a burst of energy so gauge your energy level before you redline it past someone.

    For your first race, the last thing you should be worried about is results. Just get out there, learn how a mass start xc race works, and ride your ass off. The worst thing you can do is overthink the race because then it stops being fun. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Thanks ck! Make no mistake, im not hoping to make much of a showing results wise. Im just hoping to finish, be safe, have fun, and maybe NOT finish last.

    I know im going to be nervous as hell when im at that Start Line...

  4. #4
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    Thanks ck! Make no mistake, im not hoping to make much of a showing results wise. Im just hoping to finish, be safe, have fun, and maybe NOT finish last.

    I know im going to be nervous as hell when im at that Start Line...

    good attitude - go to finish....enjoy the anxiety and the rush.

    yes, there is passing on singletrack.

    you are not required/expected to make it easy for anyone to pass on the course - but don't make it difficult on purpose.

    99% of racers are cool cats - so when they want to pass they'll let ya know...and only move over if it's not gonna clobber you...

    and if you encounter one of those jackhole 1% of the group bad-attitude-racer-rick types don't let it get to ya....i'm serious about that. they have the problem, not you.

    No one in your race class are pros/cat 1's/etc...
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  5. #5
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    pattongb will this by chance be the Crystal Ridge Classic that you will be racing? Great course. There is plenty of places to pass or be passed on the climbs. Single track is super awesome. Don't worry about your skills. Even if it is your first race, you won't stand out from other citizens. Some of them have been racing for years and still looks like its their first race. If you've been training, then you should do just fine. My advice to you for this race is WATER. If you have 2 cages on your bike, use them both. This course does not usually have a water station except at the start/finish area. It will probably be hot on sunday too. Other than that, go fast have fun be safe out there and most importantly treat each other kind(ly) as Don would say. See ya there

  6. #6
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    Yes 3fast it is the Crystal Ridge Classic! I pre-rode it last weekend since I cannot be there in time on Saturday to pre-ride.

    Do you know what part of the main hill the Citizens climb? To be honest I wasnt able to take any of the single track up the big hill without dismounting. I was hoping Citizen went around it..lol.

    I have a camelback and I plan on hydrating real well before the race, im hoping that will be enough. It is only 9 miles.

    Some of the single track is very tricky compared to what im used to. Lots of rocks and trees that seem to be closer together than the width of the average handle bars making getting by them very precarious.

    What division are you racing in?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    Thanks ck! Make no mistake, im not hoping to make much of a showing results wise. Im just hoping to finish, be safe, have fun, and maybe NOT finish last.

    I know im going to be nervous as hell when im at that Start Line...

    You said it right there. Just have fun and don't take it too seriously.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
    Yes 3fast it is the Crystal Ridge Classic! I pre-rode it last weekend since I cannot be there in time on Saturday to pre-ride.

    Do you know what part of the main hill the Citizens climb? To be honest I wasnt able to take any of the single track up the big hill without dismounting. I was hoping Citizen went around it..lol.

    I have a camelback and I plan on hydrating real well before the race, im hoping that will be enough. It is only 9 miles.

    Some of the single track is very tricky compared to what im used to. Lots of rocks and trees that seem to be closer together than the width of the average handle bars making getting by them very precarious.

    What division are you racing in?
    I race sport clydesdale. Your course should take you up the big gravel road in the middle(that's the start) Then after the singletrack there is a more narrow gravel road on the back side of the big hill that you climb. Don't feel bad about dismounting there. Most of your peers will also. And if its hot enough, I will be too. You will descend through the switchbacks on the big hill. Last year we had to climb that, so be thankful. Then you go back down to the bottom to climb back up through the gravel where you started.

    I will give you a word of advice that I shared with a friend of mine on sunday. He is also citizen and had the same concern about the narrow trees. You have to ride cat-like. Think of your handlebars as your whiskers. If they make it through, you have nothing to worry about. I guarantee that there is no spot on that course that you will not fit through. You can actually make up a lot of time on your competitors if you go through with confidence. You will not get stuck I promise. You really want to keep your speed up through that stuff because that course has a lot off little rock gardens and mini bridges and stuff. You will have problems if you go too slow through that stuff. Just keep good speed and float over it.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I semi-accidentally did my first MTB race in sport class. I actually won my age group, but it was a less popular race - I haven't repeated that in any races on the mainland where I live.

    For the first one, try to ride the course at your pace. If you're behind someone who's climbing slower than you'd like to or dogging it in the singletrack, that's how you know it's time to pass. Call it out and most people will get over. If someone behind you asks for a pass and it won't screw up your race to allow it, get over. I think there's a rule, actually, but I generally try to let sportsmanship be my guide.

    I have a lot of fun racing, despite having had pretty undistinguished results for most of the last two seasons. As long as I ride my own best race, I'm happy with it. So, if I sit on the wheel of someone who's passing people but not as fast as I'd like to, I'm angry at myself. At least I only did that once. This season, one of my projects has been to try to race cleaner. I'm not sure if it's improved my times - I suspect it has, but my records aren't that detailed - but I haven't had a DNF this season, and I broke a saddle in lap 1 last year, leading to a DNF.

    Anyway, for every race, I have a goal. Usually more specific than "finish the prescribed number of laps in as little time as possible." For the first one, I'd say finishing and not hurting yourself is a good goal. For the rest of the season, once you've accomplished that, I think figuring out pacing is huge.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
    jalopy jockey
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    For the first one, try to ride the course at your pace. If you're behind someone who's climbing slower than you'd like to or dogging it in the singletrack, that's how you know it's time to pass. Call it out and most people will get over. If someone behind you asks for a pass and it won't screw up your race to allow it, get over. I think there's a rule, actually, but I generally try to let sportsmanship be my guide.
    .
    Well said on when to pass, when you are riding someones wheel. That is also when you will be passed.

    Citizen is a good place to start. 1st timer is IMHO is almost a spousal race not a beginner race. My wife would kill me for saying that but she's not the 'typical' mountain biker's wife.

    This year her goal for iceman is to have enough energy left over to make it to the bar.

  11. #11
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    I've been invited to do a 24 hour XC ride down in Naples County. I guess it's a loop that takes an hour a pass and you can keep going and going as long as you want.

    I don't know yet, but I am strongly thinking about it.

    All I know is I'm not going to try and be a hero, because you'll tend to override and get burnt out quick. There will be super strong guys there that will trample the hell out of you...

    Best bet is to relax and just ride....don't think about being last....it's your first time so just do it and feel it all out. Next time you'll be more excited and less nervous.

    Just ride man....just ride.

  12. #12
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    Have fun, go fast but no rush don't worry you'd get in the red zone most of the ride. If there's traffic and it start to back up don't wait just get out and walk.

  13. #13
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    So how did it go?

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