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  1. #1
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    How to get Started

    I've always had the goal of entering XC races and competing. I still need to improve my skills and endurance, but I'd like to get started on how to register for events and how to determine which category I'd qualify for and the resources to find local races.

    Is there a central site or association that I need to visit or become a member of to start the process?

  2. #2
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    In the US (if that's where you're from) there's USA Cycling, who does all the sanctioning of... well, sanctioned events and you'll need to buy a license (you can do one-day licenses for Cat3/2 or a yearly one for $65). However, depending on the area of the country, most if not all mountain bike races will be unsanctioned/independent (I live in WY, and notice that most racing in CO, WY, and UT are not USAC associated).

    Try maybe a google search of your state/general area for races. Many places have low key race series.

    If you're brand new to racing and aren't some uber athlete, try beginner or if it's a USAC race, Cat 3. You can always move up if you find yourself way more competitive than you thought you were!

    Most of the time the process is find a race. Show up, sign a waiver, pay some money and have some fun!

  3. #3
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    What state are you in??

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    What state are you in??
    I'm in New York.

  5. #5
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    1) Find a race in you area that sounds fun.
    2) Read their entry requirements
    3) Sign up and race.

    Don't sweat it. Just show up and ride as hard as you can and plan on finishing. There will be faster riders and probably there will be slower riders too.

    Not much to it really.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  6. #6
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    Do I/should I register with USA Cycling?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    Do I/should I register with USA Cycling?
    Depends on if the racing you want to run requires it. Mine don't so I don't bother. Then again I don't want to race in series and prefer to race one off events here and there that are fun.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    Where are you located in NY? Western (Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse), ADK, Catskills or city region? Based on where you are can help you determine where some races are and some sites, but I can also tell you what regions of the state you'll want a USAC license fore
    FasCat Coaching
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9 View Post
    Where are you located in NY? Western (Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse), ADK, Catskills or city region? Based on where you are can help you determine where some races are and some sites, but I can also tell you what regions of the state you'll want a USAC license fore
    City region...specifically Long Island.

  10. #10
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    The stewards of stewart race this weekend would be a good first race. Not very technical, a fast and fun place to ride or race. And I hear the course is fairly flat/fast. Cat 3 9.5 miles, Cat 2 19 (I think). If you have decent fitness, 9.5 miles in Stewart would be a very short/easy race, and I'd race Cat 2 to get my moneys worth

    Races « New York State Mountain Bike Series

  11. #11
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    How to get Started

    Great link!!!! Perfect!!!!


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  12. #12
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    for now, just toe the line and race. Dont stress about where you might finish. Just finish. Then you can decide how much effort you want to put into it.

    All that matters right now is that you'll be racing your mtb. And thats pretty cool. You'll be glad you did.

  13. #13
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    Do the NYS series, a lot of guys from LI do it including one my teammates.

    New York State Mountain Bike Series

    https://www.facebook.com/NYSMTBSeries

    * nevermind on the links, see someone beat me to it. My suggestion, just because you might ride 8 miles when you go out on the weekend doesn't mean that you can race 8 miles. For your first race I would do Cat 3 to see how you like it then you can always go up to Cat 2 if it was too easy. You can't go back down though. Last year was my year racing and there was no way I would have been ready for Cat 2, even if it was technically more bang for my buck. Just my opinion.
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  14. #14
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    How to get Started

    What makes it more bang for your buck? The longer distance?


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by qdawgg View Post
    Do the NYS series, a lot of guys from LI do it including one my teammates.

    New York State Mountain Bike Series

    https://www.facebook.com/NYSMTBSeries

    * nevermind on the links, see someone beat me to it. My suggestion, just because you might ride 8 miles when you go out on the weekend doesn't mean that you can race 8 miles. For your first race I would do Cat 3 to see how you like it then you can always go up to Cat 2 if it was too easy. You can't go back down though. Last year was my year racing and there was no way I would have been ready for Cat 2, even if it was technically more bang for my buck. Just my opinion.
    I certainly don't have much racing experience at all, but I would say it depends on Vanilla's experience/fitness level. If he's been riding for a while and has good fitness, a Cat 3 race is a short distance(at least in Stewart, 9.5 miles there is cake)

    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    What makes it more bang for your buck? The longer distance?


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    Yes. How is your fitness? What's your experience?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kawigreen99 View Post
    I certainly don't have much racing experience at all, but I would say it depends on Vanilla's experience/fitness level. If he's been riding for a while and has good fitness, a Cat 3 race is a short distance(at least in Stewart, 9.5 miles there is cake)



    Yes. How is your fitness? What's your experience?
    I go to the gym at least 3 times a week. And ride at least twice a week, weather permitting. On the days I ride, I try to get in between 6-8 miles on each ride. The trails don't possess punishing climbs, but its got its share of singletrack, roots, descents, rocks, sand, and loose over hard.

    I've been riding trails for about 2 seasons. 1 season of riding, for me, consists of Spring/Summer/Fall.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=Kawigreen99;10552845]I certainly don't have much racing experience at all, but I would say it depends on Vanilla's experience/fitness level. If he's been riding for a while and has good fitness, a Cat 3 race is a short distance(at least in Stewart, 9.5 miles there is cake)

    That is true, with Stewart being very flat that's definitely a different type of 9 miles. I still think that for people who haven't raced before they don't realize that 9 miles of racing is very different than a 9 mile group ride on the weekend.

    I'm always surprised, even now, how exhausted I am during a race. That sounds silly b/c it's a race but I train how I race to physically and mentally prepare myself and it still freakin' hurts.

    More than anything else though, if the OP starts his first race at Cat 2 and realizes he's not ready for the distance, he's stuck at Cat 2. At least doing Cat 3 even for just one race will give the OP an idea where they're at and they can always do Cat 2 in the next race. But at least they aren't stuck at Cat 2.
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  18. #18
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    I'm definitely set on starting at Cat 3 regardless of what my fitness level may be. I've never raced before so Cat 3 should give me a great entry into the experience.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    I go to the gym at least 3 times a week. And ride at least twice a week, weather permitting. On the days I ride, I try to get in between 6-8 miles on each ride. The trails don't possess punishing climbs, but its got its share of singletrack, roots, descents, rocks, sand, and loose over hard.

    I've been riding trails for about 2 seasons. 1 season of riding, for me, consists of Spring/Summer/Fall.
    If your normal rides are 6-8 miles then a race at 9 miles is probably best to start with. You can always move up if it seems to short or just go faster and push harder. It would stink to ride a hard for 11 miles and crack and struggle to make remaining distance.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    I go to the gym at least 3 times a week. And ride at least twice a week, weather permitting. On the days I ride, I try to get in between 6-8 miles on each ride. The trails don't possess punishing climbs, but its got its share of singletrack, roots, descents, rocks, sand, and loose over hard.

    I've been riding trails for about 2 seasons. 1 season of riding, for me, consists of Spring/Summer/Fall.
    Based on the response, yea, I agree- start in Cat 3. If you had said you regularly do 15-20 mile rides, I would have said go for Cat 2.

    Quote Originally Posted by qdawgg View Post

    That is true, with Stewart being very flat that's definitely a different type of 9 miles. I still think that for people who haven't raced before they don't realize that 9 miles of racing is very different than a 9 mile group ride on the weekend.

    I'm always surprised, even now, how exhausted I am during a race. That sounds silly b/c it's a race but I train how I race to physically and mentally prepare myself and it still freakin' hurts.

    More than anything else though, if the OP starts his first race at Cat 2 and realizes he's not ready for the distance, he's stuck at Cat 2. At least doing Cat 3 even for just one race will give the OP an idea where they're at and they can always do Cat 2 in the next race. But at least they aren't stuck at Cat 2.
    My first race ever was Singlespeed-a-palooza, 25 miles. I had worries about even finishing, as I'd never even done 25 miles on a MTB... nevermind at race pace. I did do 25 miles the week before(course pre-ride) so that helped as far as getting past that mental barrier. The race actually seemed to go by extremely fast, even though it was a 2 hour race for me.

  21. #21
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    I'm leaning towards making my first event the September 8 race at Round Top Rally. I've checked out the course map and profile and the climbs are pretty consistent with what I do already and they have a First Time category for 1 lap. It's 4 miles. However, the 4 miles should have me be less nervous and rattled about running my first race and allow me to have fun.

    Between now and then I'll train as though I am doing the Cat 3 entry (2 laps) and if I feel like I'm in good shape, I may enter as Cat 3.

    I'm very excited. It'll be a great opportunity to make an extended weekend out of the trip. Its less than 3 hours from me.

  22. #22
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    IF Stewart is even an option for you, 9.5 miles isn't very demanding if that's a concern for you. I'll put it this way- my first race was 25 miles in Stewart, the next was 10.5 at Wawayanda(LOTS of rock gardens)- Waway was more exhausting despite being less than half the mileage and 45 minutes of less riding time. Never been to Round Top but I'm guessing its got more climbing and more tech than Stewart(pretty much any place does)

  23. #23
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    Thanks for all the info guys! When I hit the trail this weekend, I'll start paying attention to pace and distance. I'm also replacing my front tire since its time for something a little more grippier and larger diameter.

  24. #24
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    1) Find a race in you area that sounds fun.
    2) Read their entry requirements
    3) Sign up and race.

    Don't sweat it. Just show up and ride as hard as you can and plan on finishing. There will be faster riders and probably there will be slower riders too.

    Not much to it really.
    Best advice! Don't sweat it. Just find an event and enter the first timer category or beginner. Make sure you meet their requirements. If you need a license there will be the option to purchase a license on site for beginner racers. Read the flier to make sure though. Show up before the start time, warm up a little, and go for it. Just stay in control, pace yourself, and enjoy. Just keep it simple.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  25. #25
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    What makes it more bang for your buck? The longer distance?


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    You have to remember that most people that visit the racing forum are in better shape than the average rider. The 9.5 mile race would be about an hour, but whoever wrote that comment would prefer to race longer to make it worth it for him. Since you are new, I would race beginner unless you can hammer for 19 miles. There is a big difference between riding 9 miles or 20 miles and racing for 9 miles or 20 miles.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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