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Thread: Race etiquette?

  1. #1
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    Race etiquette?

    So, I am riding in my first xc race in a little over a week. I have tried to read as much as possible, but haven't seen anything on race etiquette.

    What are some things that a newbie needs to know. Never do ____ at the start line, don't show up and ____. I realize that people will ask to pass, and the other normal trail rules apply, but what else do I need to know to give me a better chance at not making a fool of myself?


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  2. #2
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    Race etiquette?

    Make sure your bike is in good working order a couple of days in advance. I've watched more than a few end up with mechanical issues in the first couple miles.

    I limit ride distances and intensity the week before.

    Stay near the front at the start so there is less chance of getting stuck behind others. Depending on your level of fitness, this may not be a wise choice for your first race.

    Do not expect other riders to indicate when they are passing. Many do not.

    Follow the course, not necessarily other racers (that go off couse!),

    Have fun and good luck.
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    Thanks!
    Just picked my bike back up from my LBS yesterday, so it should be good to go. Normally do my own wrenching, but had a couple things I needed special tools for, so just took it in to have them do a tune-up.

    I know the course because I ride there frequently, so that should help with staying on course. Looking at the times from the same race last year for the Novice cat. I think I can get out with the leaders and hang on just fine, so I'm gonna give it a go.

    As long as my bike or a crash doesn't cause me to get a DNf I think it'll be a good learning experience.

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    Have fun and pay attention. If you feel up to it, no reason not to be friendly on the start line with everyone. If you need to pass, try to ask politely and do it in a nice fashion. Of course if that doesn't work - try other measures If someone wants/needs to pass you, especially if it's another category, try to do so as quickly and safely as possible.

    Otherwise enjoy it! Whether you're in baggies and a skate lid or wearing a custom fitted kit and road helmet, everyone's out suffering together. It's all about camaraderie.

  5. #5
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    It's not nearly as nerve wracking as it seems. Warm up, try and relax just before the gun, and know the course/how many laps you should be doing.

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    Re: Race etiquette?

    Good stuff so far. Thanks and keep it coming.

    Planning to do one last good long ride a week ahead of time then take it easier through the week. Just registered this morning for cat3. Debated going straight to sport class because I wanted to race the longer race. I think I made a good choice, though. Start with the beginners and go from there.

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  7. #7
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    Depending on where you're racing, Cat3 is a good bet. My Cat3 XC circuit is won by Cat 2 guys who want to podium on a short-course track.

    I'm Cat 2 this year, moving up to Cat 1 this coming year if my CX training works out.

    As for advice, preride the course. Know what you're up against. But the best advice? Crack as MANY jokes at the start-line as you can.

    Remember, we do this because it's fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by hey_poolboy View Post
    Good stuff so far. Thanks and keep it coming.

    Planning to do one last good long ride a week ahead of time then take it easier through the week. Just registered this morning for cat3. Debated going straight to sport class because I wanted to race the longer race. I think I made a good choice, though. Start with the beginners and go from there.

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    Yes, get there early and be friendly and chatty. Bike races are a great place to make friends. Be polite on course and allow for others to make mistakes; try to not get irritated at other racers, they are often end up nervous wrecks (pun intended). If someone crashes near your, make sure they area ok. Be encouraging to the other racers around you; "go go! You can do it! let's catch those guys up there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hey_poolboy View Post
    Thanks!
    Just picked my bike back up from my LBS yesterday, so it should be good to go. Normally do my own wrenching, but had a couple things I needed special tools for, so just took it in to have them do a tune-up.
    Never take your bike to the LBS before a race. In fact, if you or the LBS do any significant work on the bike, ride it at least once to make sure all is ok.
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    Re: Race etiquette?

    Yeah, I planned that to make sure that I got it back at least a week ahead of time. Plenty of time to ride a couple of times to make sure it is all sorted out.

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    If in doubt, check all small allen hardware with a multi tool for torque. Bonus points for torque wrench usage My first XC was very much in the bag until I had a front derailleur mounting bolt work loose and turn into the crank. Limping got 5th place...

    X2 on the chatting it up remark. That's one of my favorite ways to loosen up before the gun and it gets the feel for who you are up against. When you see a large crowd of riders it helps to have an idea who in that crowd is your game. Sometimes those who aren't in your category can be allies (in a peloton kinda way) if they are similar to your ability level.
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    Get rest the nite before. Don't do anything different the morning of. If you normally ride with a hydration pack then race with. If your used to water bottles try to set up someone to pass you spares as you go by. Maybe a small bowl of oatmeal a couple hours before but dont do anything you wont burn. Get there early and just walk around and meet people. Warm up and hit the pisser before you start. At the start look around to see who's in your category. Remember your racing them not everybody. This way you'll know if you need to grind that hill to catch that guy. Pace yourself and have fun!!!

  13. #13
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    I realize I am not there yet, but how soon can one enter a race? How much experience should I have before getting into a race?

    Never been to one before so not really sure what they are like. (Just got into mountain biking last month)
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    Re: Race etiquette?

    Well, I just started last year about this time. Never been to a race yet either.
    This will be my first race to attend or participate in. We have a local mtb group that I belong to that helps facilitate, so I plan to volunteer to help after my race is over.
    Beginners, sport and expert each have a different start time, so I can finish, cool down then help with whatever needs done.
    I don't know if I'm "ready" but I'm gonna do it anyway. I just decided that I should give it a try because I'm competitive and I ride faster than my buddies and need to meet some more riders that can push/teach me.

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    Awesome! That's pretty much what I am aiming for is to race next year, but we will see it might get delayed for one more year after that as I would like to have a better bike to do it with. Might do it anyway and rock it on my rock.
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    I wish I had seen this thread a week ago. I participated in my first MTB race last week. They made my race the beginner class. I had no idea about how to pass people etc. I still finished first and they bumped me to the next class, but I could of done a lot better.

    My next and 2nd race is this week. I am just going to jump out in front and not get stuck. I want to win the intermediate class

    As for the OP, you will have a blast. My advise is don't let yourself get stuck behind slower riders for to long. You will loose valuable time. Watch out for riders that arent keeping the lines and hitting every root/rock etc. I saw about 5 gives fall hard in front of me. Last thing I can say, is dont look back. Keep your eyes forward, and just get into the zone.

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    Desidus; you don't need a better bike, for starting out you just need a reliable bike. 90% of my rides are on my 'winter' bike, it's mid range and heavy but it works fine, I would only be a couple of spots slower on that bike vs my race bike.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Never take your bike to the LBS before a race. In fact, if you or the LBS do any significant work on the bike, ride it at least once to make sure all is ok.
    Guess it depends on your shop.
    Our protocol is along with whatever work the bike is in for, to put a torque wrench on every bolt on the bike, have the mechanic who worked on the bike test ride it, and then have another mechanic re-test it as confirmation. We only want to see you come through the door again smiling.

    Regardless of who does the work, a bolt check and shakedown ride are always a good idea (mandatory!).

    ...and if you run tubeless, refresh the sealant!

    Goodluck and have FUN!

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    Race etiquette?

    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    Guess it depends on your shop.
    Our protocol is along with whatever work the bike is in for, to put a torque wrench on every bolt on the bike, have the mechanic who worked on the bike test ride it, and then have another mechanic re-test it as confirmation. We only want to see you come through the door again smiling.

    Regardless of who does the work, a bolt check and shakedown ride are always a good idea (mandatory!).

    ...and if you run tubeless, refresh the sealant!

    Goodluck and have FUN!
    That is great advice. I took my bike to my LBS. That same day did my first race. The next day I went for a ride and the crank arm fell off. I'm glad it frll off during the race and I learned that next time I'm checking over bolt that beast!

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    Good luck with the race! I competed in my first two races this year, both endurance type, and had a blast. I would suggest some really good stretching before you head out and try to get some pedaling in before the start. The stretching really helped calm me down and loosen things up a bit because once that gun goes off, boom there is no easing into race pace.

    Ditto all the advice above. Most importantly have fun!!!!

  21. #21
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    Some races will have sections of singletrack broken up with double track or fire roads if this applies to your race use the double track sections to really hammer and get around slower racers so you don't get stuck behind them in tight single track. In some cases you can recover from a hard burst once you hit the single track. The same approach would apply to any climbs try and set up your approach so you not stuck behind a lot of traffic which can break your rhythym as you are grinding up the hill.

    It can be a little nerve racking being in your first race, just remember you are out there to ride your bike on dirt and have fun.

    The week of your race your rides should still have intensity but the quantity should be less than the previous weeks, and overall ride time in race week should be reduced. The day before the race an hour easy spin should be plenty with 4 or 5 1 min bursts.
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    Sounds like you had good results in your first race, but don't be disappointed if you don't finish anywhere near the top of Cat 2. Cat 3 is pretty much commonly guys who are truly beginners. If you have any type of fitness, you can typically blow these guys out of the water.

    Cat 2 is a combo of guys who were upgraded from Cat 3, guys in the middle and Guys waiting to be upgraded to Cat 1. The Cat 2 field is pretty broad in terms of who is lining up next to you. Also, the extra 5 or so miles does work to sap your legs a bit more.

    Good luck either way and have some fun!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shmack View Post
    Sounds like you had good results in your first race, but don't be disappointed if you don't finish anywhere near the top of Cat 2. Cat 3 is pretty much commonly guys who are truly beginners. If you have any type of fitness, you can typically blow these guys out of the water.

    Cat 2 is a combo of guys who were upgraded from Cat 3, guys in the middle and Guys waiting to be upgraded to Cat 1. The Cat 2 field is pretty broad in terms of who is lining up next to you. Also, the extra 5 or so miles does work to sap your legs a bit more.

    Good luck either way and have some fun!
    Yea my first race last week they stuck me in the beginners. I only finished second because I didnt get the rules of passing. My Cat was only for one lap, but I stayed on the course and did 2 and I ended up passing 8 Cat 2 guys. It was fun. I do look forward to my second MTB race tomorrow night.

    I do have a question regarding passing. If I fly up on guys, is it rude to start yelling out( not in a rude way) that I am coming up on them and they need to move? I do have a high level of fitness so I can turn the crank for hours on all types of terrain while maintaining a high MPH.

    If I dont place hight in my first Cat 2 race I wont be disappointed. There is nothing more I want than to ride with racers/riders who are more skilled and fit than I. In the end it helps me become better at my riding.

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    If you are right up behind somebody and ready to pass, it is perfectly acceptable to clearly and politely say "I'd like a pass please", or shorten it to "pass please". Repeat as necessary. Forcing a faster racer to slow down is rude, especially if they're not even in the same age group. I started the season in Cat2, it seemed to me that some of the younger guys were less polite about it. A couple of times I was leading my group and getting slowed down by the younger guys, after a few polite requests it was "I'm leading my category, YOU NEED TO LET ME PASS". When I upped to c1, I found the politeness to go way up, everybody has been super polite in c1, asking if you need a pass before you are even ready.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyg80 View Post
    Yea my first race last week they stuck me in the beginners. I only finished second because I didnt get the rules of passing. My Cat was only for one lap, but I stayed on the course and did 2 and I ended up passing 8 Cat 2 guys. It was fun. I do look forward to my second MTB race tomorrow night.

    I do have a question regarding passing. If I fly up on guys, is it rude to start yelling out( not in a rude way) that I am coming up on them and they need to move? I do have a high level of fitness so I can turn the crank for hours on all types of terrain while maintaining a high MPH.

    If I dont place hight in my first Cat 2 race I wont be disappointed. There is nothing more I want than to ride with racers/riders who are more skilled and fit than I. In the end it helps me become better at my riding.
    Some guys take themselves way to serious and will be screaming A-holes when passing. A polite "coming up on your left" or "on your left" is common.
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