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  1. #1
    Mountain Biking Madman
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    First race coming up and already nervous!

    My first race will be coming up Aug. 4.I am already nervous when I re-read the flier for the 7th time of the day.I have been swamping myself with worries and questions im hoping some of them can be answered.The race will be 14.8 miles,should I take my hydration pack with spare tools and tube.Or carry tube,multi-tool and water bottle?Is their anything in particular I should do the morning before or the day before in preparing for it?I plan on riding 1 lap "7 miles" of the course to get a idea of the trail the day before.I have been training steady for the year and these closer weeks im trying to ride a minimum of 10 miles a day.When the race begins should I go all out or try to hang in the middle?I thought about trying to keep closer to the front the first lap and then trying to let it all out the second lap.I will be racing in the Junior intermediate class.And I will have a friend riding with me at the same gate drop but different class.Any other tips or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!Oh and here is the race ill be in US Cup East / SERC #10

  2. #2
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    dont do anything you wouldnt normally do before the race...no new drinks, food, etc. Eat a really good breakfast, preferably 3 hrs before start time. Hydrate before and during.

    ride hard but ride within yourself. Pre-riding the course is a great idea whenever possible.

    The week leading up to the race- catch up on your rest. Dont stop riding altogether but do a few short easy rides. If my race is Sat, I'll make sure to take Thur off, then Fri I'll do another short ride with some short intense bursts (openers) to get the legs ready for the next day.

    Most importantly- try to relax, and enjoy the experience. If youre anything like me you 'll never be a pro, so just have fun and do your best.

  3. #3
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    Just think of it as a fun ride at speed with 50 of your closest friends! If someone is breathing down your neck, or asks for a pass let them pass. If you're stuck behind somebody, ask for a pass, it can/should be polite and friendly, and fun.
    If you're nervous pre race, just try to focus on how alive and aware you are feeling at that moment. I now enjoy the pre-race nervousness, I find there are few areas in life where I feel more alive and aware than in those moments so I just try to absorb it.

  4. #4
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    Just ride your race at your pace, and dont worry about it. Dont try to "prove" yourself to anyone. Smooth and steady, and youll be surprised at how well you do. When I did the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in 2011, I was a little nervous. Guys went out the gate super fast, and I set my pace and stuck to it. Before the first aid point, I had passed alot of thee guys who went all out to early. Never saw any of those folks again.

  5. #5
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    Good luck. I'm registering for my first race in September. I'm already feeling the same exact feelings you're experiencing. Let us know how it goes!

  6. #6
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    You are in for a good time Sparky! I have raced at Fontana a number of times, in fact it was my first ever mountain bike race, and it's not a good course for a beginner to come burning out of the gate. I did my first time there and seriously burned myself out. Depending on the weather preceding the race it could be seriously muddy with a lot of HAB, check out my profile pic. It was taken after the Icycle at Fontana. I will usually carry two bottles at that race and for sure a tube, pump, and tire tool. Nov is right, set your own pace and stick with it. Now I use a heart monitor to keep my pace regulated but I wouldn't worry about that at this point.

    That first time you hit Turkey trot you will be grinning ear to ear! Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by -sparky- View Post
    My first race will be coming up Aug. 4.I am already nervous when I re-read the flier for the 7th time of the day.I have been swamping myself with worries and questions im hoping some of them can be answered.The race will be 14.8 miles,should I take my hydration pack with spare tools and tube.Or carry tube,multi-tool and water bottle?Is their anything in particular I should do the morning before or the day before in preparing for it?I plan on riding 1 lap "7 miles" of the course to get a idea of the trail the day before.I have been training steady for the year and these closer weeks im trying to ride a minimum of 10 miles a day.When the race begins should I go all out or try to hang in the middle?I thought about trying to keep closer to the front the first lap and then trying to let it all out the second lap.I will be racing in the Junior intermediate class.And I will have a friend riding with me at the same gate drop but different class.Any other tips or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!Oh and here is the race ill be in US Cup East / SERC #10
    First focus on not forgetting your bike...then focus on not forgetting your helmet etc....If you can get a legal riding combination to the start line you have already suceeded.

    have a break before the race....figure out how to taper.

    When they let you go...go like hell....then find someone faster than you and tuck in behind them and hold on for all you are worth.....after 10 mins....make sure you are not going to hard.

  8. #8
    Mountain Biking Madman
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    I will be running WTB Bronson's for this course I hope it is a good choice!How are the climbs and are their many rock gardens?

  9. #9
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    Re: First race coming up and already nervous!

    Just learned a lot from my first race 2 weeks ago.

    1st just eat normal if you already eat right. No big diet changes though. As said don't overdo riding through the week but keep riding. Couple days before rest/leasure light rides. Make sure to eat things with electrolytes. Also good carb like whole grains and lean protien. And lean breakfast before as said, nothing greasy, ull regret it.

    2nd HYDRATE!!!!

    3RD. HYDRATION!!!

    4TH. HYDRATE AND REMEMBER TO TAKE IN ELECTROLYTES TOO.

    4th. Don't forget anything, leave yourself plenty of time to make sure you have everything. Excitement over the race coming can cause u to forget obvious things

    5th rest especially the night before. I used camamile tea to help sleep early because excitement will make life hell to try and sleep.

    Final is at race start to finish. Pace urself. Don't blast hard right away. Go as if your riding with ur friends at a pace u know is easily maintained. Also if you have a section that makes you really nervous to the point you slow down and an error in section could be dangerous at best, take it at lowest safe speed or DON'T BE AFRAID TO HIKE A BIKE THROUGH IT. Better to finish then get hurt or broken bike by trying to take a section at a race speed. Towards the end (last 15-25% of race pending on your energy level and race length) then give it everything u got till u cross the line.

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  10. #10
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    A checklist is good for low-stress not forgetting anything: every pilot in the world can't be wrong.
    Also, do no real work on the bike a few days before the race, unless something breaks and must be replaced. You should make all your changes to your bike at least a week prior, so you can ride it a couple of times and get everything properly sorted out. My friend called me the morning of a spring race this year, I was already at the event site, he had decided to replace his chain that morning and he got it through the derailleur wrong and snapped the quick link in place, oops! I was able to get it sorted out for him about 20 min prior to start. There are plenty of nerves pre-grid without a bike to work on.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by -sparky- View Post
    I will be running WTB Bronson's for this course I hope it is a good choice!How are the climbs and are their many rock gardens?
    No extended climbs just steeps. Plenty of rocks.
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  12. #12
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Lots of good advice here already. Hang back and try to soak it all in for the first race or two. Just treat it as a learning experience...nothing more. Say hello to a couple of guys at the start line to take the edge off.

    If you do feel competitive, then make sure you don't go out too hard. Maybe focus on staying midpack. Pace yourself and leave a ton in the tank for the second 7 miles!! A ton of guys will pop in the first five miles of a beginner race no doubt. They will drop like flies.

    Good luck out there.

  13. #13
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    And one more thing: be friendly and be prepared to meet some cool people. I have made some good friends at the races.

  14. #14
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    All good advice so far.

    Also, don't forget to breathe at the start.............. I'm not joking.

    Good luck and have a blast.

  15. #15
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    Definitely all good advice, this is only my 2nd year racing and don't even have 10 races under my belt. One thing I found was that because of the race atmosphere I tried to chase people down who were in front of me. I raced Cat 3 last year and all the Cat 2 age groups went out first, so I would inevitably catch up with the real slow Cat 2 racers. The problem was that I pushed it a little too hard at times trying to pass and got out of my rhythm. You have to know what your body and legs are able to handle, if you start pushing past your ability that is when you will bonk.

    I know some people might say that a race is where you push yourself beyond your limits, that is true but the reality is your body/legs will only do so much before you break. Your not going to be do anything extraordinary unless you've already put in the work (training) beforehand. That is just reality. So go out at what you are comfortable with knowing you can maintain that the entire race. When I say comfortable I don't mean that it doesn't hurt, racing freakin' hurts no matter your training. Comfortable being that you mentally know you can maintain that pace for the entire race, it should hurt like hell though and you should have given everything you could when you cross the finish line.
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  16. #16
    Mountain Biking Madman
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    Any thoughts on energy things such as gels,bars,shots,drinks,etc.I have been using clif bars although they are good they dont pick my energy up.The X-treme energy shot was a very bad idea.I picked up some nature valley protein bars and gatorade mix tonight.Yet to try them,though I would assume that their would be something out their better.What do you all use?

  17. #17
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    For short, fast races,

    Tape a gel on your top tube, or stick it under your shorts(bibs) so the top of the gel barely peeks out on the top of your leg. Or, just put one in your jersey.

    Powerbar gels work for me cause they go down easy(minds out the gutter please).

    YMMV
    Last edited by evenflo; 07-27-2013 at 11:13 PM.

  18. #18
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    like mentioned above, I tape a gel to my top tube. My last few races have been around the 1.5 - 2hr range...so I'll have a gel around half way just to top off the calories. Most importantly you need to have a big breakfast around a few hrs before.

    but everyone is different...as far as gels, bars, etc. you have to find what works for you. Personally I try to stay away from all the 'sport specific' chemical stuff as much as I can. A lot of it bothers my stomach during race efforts.

  19. #19
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    Hammer gel in a flask meant for it. Much easier than trying to tear one of those packets open.

  20. #20
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    when taped correctly you can pull the gel from the top tube and squeeze. Makes for a quick easy movement, no need to reach in a pocket, or do any tearing etc.

  21. #21
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    hammy,

    sounds like you're settling in well to the high country dirt racing.

  22. #22
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    somewhat...Im enjoying it. I think. Still breathing like a fish out of water.

    you live in CO?

  23. #23
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    Nope, Idaho. I just remember you from the other side of the interwebs.


    p.s. sorry about the highjack OP. Also, remember to let us know how your race went.

  24. #24
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    ah, ok. BF.net I assume...

  25. #25
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    Correct.

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