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  1. #1
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    first time racer

    So I registered for my first race. I've been browsing the forum and I'm looking for any hints or tips so I don't look like a total newb for my first race. Btw its the Rock Mountain Endurance Series, I assume there are other people on this forum that are racing that series also.
    Thanks for the tips guys
    Mike

  2. #2
    Harshing my mellow, man..
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    Usually to get an answer, you must ask a question first. So....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrk9182 View Post
    I'm looking for any hints or tips so I don't look like a total newb for my first race.

    Was that not good enough?

  4. #4
    Harshing my mellow, man..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrk9182 View Post
    Was that not good enough?
    Lycra full kit. Clipless pedals. Carbon shoes. Carbon bike. Pit crew.

    No, it wasn't.

  5. #5
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    Check, check, check, check, and check. Thanks for your help

  6. #6
    Rod
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    I only have the lycra full kit and clipless pedals. 40% isn't passing so from one newb to the other: pace yourself, try to get a good start, and if you hear on your left, someone is coming around you on your left, so move over as far as you safely can. Try not to hold up a lot of faster racers either. Move over as soon as you can safely. Stay safe, have realistic expectations, and have fun.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  7. #7
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    Last year was my first year racing and I did the half marathon RME and Winter Park race series.

    They are both a lot of fun, but RME is better and has free Dale's at the end of every race Breck is the best race in the series.

    I did my first race with a camelbak, but switched to water bottle after that as they have lots of aid stations.

    There are some really competitive people in RME, but also a lot of people just out for fun. If you've been MTBing for a few years you'll be fine. On some of the more technical courses (e.g. Breck) there are riders who have great motors, but lack tech skills. Make sure you don't get stuck behind them on the down hills.

    I'm normally dead last at the beginning, but end middle of the pack at the end. Don't get too discouraged if you start at the back. A lot of the guys who races off at the beginning loose steam pretty quickly.

    Enjoy!

  8. #8
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    Looking back to my first time racing, the biggest hurdle I personally had was pacing myself. With the adrenaline at the start, it's really easy to go out much harder than you should. Keep it under control at the start, don't worry about the guys the blast away, your either going to catch them after they blow up or they are just plain faster and you have no chance. The fastest way around a MTB course is at a consistent pace.

    Once you have a few races under your belt, you can get a little more strategic like going out a little hard to get a good position in the single track, attacking on certain sections....but leave that stuff for later.

  9. #9
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    i signed up for my first race, the battle at burlingame. ima do it with my friend. just gonna have fun with it. any tips on what i should bring, like just a camelback?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by locobaylor View Post
    Lycra full kit. Clipless pedals. Carbon shoes. Carbon bike. Pit crew.

    No, it wasn't.
    way to respond to a curious member, smart@$$

  11. #11
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    Try the search, it is good!

    First race, what to expect

    My favorite response: "Expect to win while experiencing no pain."
    My other bike is a /7.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    I only have the lycra full kit and clipless pedals. 40% isn't passing so from one newb to the other: pace yourself, try to get a good start, and if you hear on your left, someone is coming around you on your left, so move over as far as you safely can. Try not to hold up a lot of faster racers either. Move over as soon as you can safely. Stay safe, have realistic expectations, and have fun.
    Agree with this.

    What else?

    Show up early. Give yourself an hour to an hour and a half for registration, warmup, maybe pre-ride if the laps are short and the schedule allows it.

    If you can pre-ride on another day, do it.

    Don't do anything really new or different on race day. That's new and different enough! For example, don't choose that day to start using gels or a new sports drink. If you don't already have a way that you warm up, just ride around for a while, don't get into doing any potentially counterproductive new warmup protocols. The idea is that opening up the throttle at the start of the race shouldn't be a big shock.

    I think that the first couple races are all about figuring out how not to leave time on course. Ride a little more conservatively than you think you need to, especially in the first lap, and try not to launch yourself into the bushes. You'd waste more time crashing than you'd save riding faster.

    In my region, beginners' class is a real crapshoot. If you've been riding for a long time, you might win it while experiencing no pain. In that case, definitely upgrade. On the other hand, for a lot of long-time riders, racing is a real shock and it takes a couple not to DFL. In general, "beginner" means "beginner racer" and not "beginner mountain biker," so it's generally quite an exception for someone to do well in beginners' class the first time - usually there's a learning curve.

    How far out is the race? How long have you been riding?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Mike, if you're racing RME, I assume you're in or near the Denver/Boulder area. Lots of really helpful folks in the area. I'm not the best source of info but I can help. I'll pm you later.

  14. #14
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    I'll reiterate the "pace yourself" piece. Lots of people go full out at the start (especially in the beginner races, and especially at my local races) and totally blow up by the first climb and end up limping along the rest of the race.

    And honestly, the most important piece of advice is to just have fun. Seriously.

  15. #15
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    The best preparation is to be fit and good with your bike; ride it a lot in the type of terrain you'll be racing on, as best you can.
    Have any changes/upgrades to you bike sorted out days before the race, race morning wrenching is forbidden unless something breaks or you completely overlooked it, -you should do your final tune-up days before.
    Lay out all your clothes and gear 2 days before. Use a checklist, -every pilot in the world can't be wrong. Checklists = less stress.
    Know where you're going to carry/leave your keys etc ahead of time too.

    Be friendly and chatty before and at the start line, you need more friends than foes on the course.

    If it's a long race with a climb near the start there will be lots of time for the group to get sorted out after the start, don't worry about starting position. For short races with lots of singletrack starting position is more important. Since this is your first race, don't worry about starting at the back of the pack, there will be time to pass, and maybe avoiding early on pileups due to too much excitement.
    Politely announce your intention/request to pass, and politely let a faster rider by, if he/shes' been riding your bumper for a minute or more.

  16. #16
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    Much good info here (and elsewhere on these forums) but I'll add one thing that doesn't seem to get mentioned too often:

    Don't expect or think you have to ride (clear) every section.

    This works in two ways. First, at the start especially, there can be bottlenecks making sections that you can normally clear into a mass of humanity along the 'A line.' Don't get frustrated when you have to get off and run around, or even wait a few seconds. Think of it as forced recovery. Second, sometimes there are sections that are just faster to run. I'm thinking of one particularly rocky, slightly uphill section at a local trail - I can clear it (barely) but it requires a lot of concentration and I'm generally not going that fast as I hop around and hope to balance. During a race, not only am I more blown out and less able to concentrate, but its simply much faster to just pick up your bike and sprint/jump over the mini gorges. Plus, there no chance of ripping a tire sidewall on a sharp rock if you're running. Don't be embarrassed, don't morph into a trials rider - summon your inner cyclocrosser.
    My other bike is a /7.

  17. #17
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    I havent read all the responses in this thread so I apologize for repeating anything.

    two days before race make sure the bike is "dialed in" all tuned up.

    day before race if you can try to pre-ride the course, notice spots that might give you trouble. try to remember spots where you can grab your bottle for a drink if youre not using a camelback. listen to your bike to make sure there are no weird sounds and it is shifting correctly. eat a good recovery meal and drink within 45 minutes of pre-ride. kick back with a movie and get some good rest.

    race day! YEAH!!! this is it the first of many more races!! eat a good breakfast a 2-3 hours before your race ( i love oatmeal and/or bagel). show up early so you dont have to rush around and you can meet fellow racers. do a nice 20-30min nice warm up, try to get your HR up and pumping and your legs ready to go. line up 10 mins before and relax talk to people around you and just relax.

    boom- youre off, pace yourself, ride smart and most importantly... HAVE FUN!!

    Good Luck! and make sure you post how you did and some pics! youre going to have a blast!

  18. #18
    Rod
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    Like Andrew said go preride the course if the lap is short on race day or the day before if it's possible. Try to keep in your mind where you need to brake hard, the tricky sections, any areas that may be faster to run, etc. Keep mental notes as you ride the course.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  19. #19
    Drop in?... Anyone?
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    As everyone else said... have fun!!! That's the main thing.

    Here is something else: if you have any designs on a podium or placing well, don't let the front group get away... you will never see them again, the races are too short (even if you go an do the half).

    Oh... the Winter Park Series is great too... you should do it. Super fun courses with sick single track, tons of climbing and great people. A terrific place to learn and/or make your competitors cry! (be careful, the Sport classes are super fast... don't underestimate them... however, after the RME, sport would be a good place to be as the racing is pretty clean... you will gain some valuable experience in the sport class in WP)

    Good luck and see you out there!
    "Money can't buy you happiness. But it can buy you a yacht and you can sail right up next to it!" David Lee Roth

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrk9182 View Post
    So I registered for my first race. I've been browsing the forum and I'm looking for any hints or tips so I don't look like a total newb for my first race. Btw its the Rock Mountain Endurance Series, I assume there are other people on this forum that are racing that series also.
    Thanks for the tips guys
    Mike
    I did my first race last November here is what I learned.

    Tip 1, Bring your normal kit and ride - if you use bottles, use bottles, if you use a camelbak use it.

    Tip 2, Don't ride beyond your ability on the climbs and descents. More time will be lost in a crash or if you blow-up.

    Tip 3, If you are on single track climb and want to pass. Ask. "Like to pass when you a good spot". I get the impression most riders are willing to recognize and allow you pass. Of course do the same when another rider asks for a pass as well.

    Tip 4, Go out and have fun. Chances are you will not win your class, but if ride hard and you will finish fine. Enjoy the ride and the atmosphere.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  21. #21
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    Tip 5, A water bottle is not worth crashing over. Chuck it if you need to.

    On one of my first races I tried to get a quick drink in before the next section of singletrack, but then struggled to get the bottle back in the cage. Heading down a singletrack section at ~20km/h with my head down was not one of my shining moments. It was brought to an abrupt end by a tree that was just off the side of the trail-- fortunately the only damage was to my pride. As my buddy reminded me though at the end of the race, the bottle was worth $2, next time, chuck it if you need to!

    Seems obvious now, but when you are at the limit it's amazing how your judgement can be impaired!

  22. #22
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    Thanks for the tips.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlowMaster23 View Post
    i signed up for my first race, the battle at burlingame. ima do it with my friend. just gonna have fun with it. any tips on what i should bring, like just a camelback?
    Going to be my first race too (B@B)

  24. #24
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    Don't crash! Smooth and steady will carry you through...seriously don't crash.

  25. #25
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    If/when you mess up and get in someones way or accidentally buzz their back wheel etc, a heartfelt sorry can turn an agro situation into a no problem mate situation. Good vibes on the course can make you ride so much better.

    Personally I'm a great fan of riding as hard as you can and blowing up! That way you get to enjoy the thrill at the sharp end and it gives you an idea of the pace you'll need to train too.

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