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I don't want to race (yet) I just want to improve

DomWintDomWint Posts: 59
edited June 2010 in XC and Enduro
As the title suggests. I've been back riding for six months or so and think that XC is the way forward for me. I've looked at a few race events and, to be honest, at the minute the idea terrifies me.

How far/fast do I need to be before I'm in no danger of embarrassing myself at a race event, and what training do I need to be doing to get in race shape? I appreciate I'm not going to win anything ever, but I like having goals to work towards or my enthusiasm dries up.

Would something like one of the Evans events (or similar, I'm no employee) be a good place to start?


  • AndyAndy Posts: 8,207
    Go for an enduro. The atmosphere at enduro events is always very chilled and friendly.

    Any that are lap based are ideal as you can do them solo/pairs/teams and just take them at your own pace and see how you get on.
  • DomWintDomWint Posts: 59
    OK thanks, will look into that.

    Like the sound of the solo. I know MTBing is supposed to be a social activity, but I somehow feel better when I am on my own - not worrying about slowing anyone down/leaving anyone behind. Does that sound ars*y? :oops:
  • Don't worry about embarrassing yourself, no one's paying any attention anyway! Just get out of the way when getting lapped.

    I can't really advise you about getting better, but you can read my account of my first MTB race. Once you see how under prepared I was (and still am) you should realise you just have to go out and give it a try. My goal for last year was to try a XC race. Once I did that it became to complete the 4 race summer series. And then by the last race the goal was to not come last in any race in the series. All relatively easy goals but I couldn't have achieved any of them if I hadn't gone out and did the first race.

    Anyway, here's my account: ... highlight=
    No-one wanted to eat Patagonia Toothfish so they renamed it Chilean Sea Bass and now it's in danger of over fishing!
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    not really, it's a standard concern.

    Just join a chilled out ride group who tend to stop and drink a lot :D
  • DomWintDomWint Posts: 59
    Great write-up, Finbar. That gives me a good idea of what to look for. I see there's a Hope race series at Lee Quarry near me. Reckon I might give that some consideration. Now I'm starting to get excited.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    The Lee Quarry Races are meant to be good, pretty low-key and relaxed.

    Just go along and have a go, no one can tell you how quick you 'should' be to try a race, there'll almost always be people quicker than you, and people slower than you.

    Most of all just enjoy yourself!
  • cat_with_no_tailcat_with_no_tail Posts: 12,981
    Meh, just rock-up at one of your local races and have-a-go, you'll be surprised at just how relaxed they are.

    The local races (as opposed to the national series) tend to be pretty low-key. Sure, there are some quick riders there, but most people are just doing it for a laugh. I did a few of our local races last year, and you tend to find that with the exception of a few, most people don't actually care where they finish.

    A lot of people treat them as events, or challenges, rather than actual races. Where finishing in a set time (or just finishing) is the goal, rather than winning.

    I know that's how I look at these things anyway.
  • Cj83Cj83 Posts: 58
    After your first race there will almost definitely be things you wish you had done differently or were better prepared for but these are probably different for everyone and you won't know what they are until you've had a go.

    I've done a couple of races recently, the first ones since i was a kid. This is what I learnt:

    - bike has to take much more of a sustained hammering than when i go for a cruise through the woods so make sure its really up together.

    - warm up properly - in both races i've found the later laps a bit more comfortable than the start, probably partly because i didn't warm up enough.

    - for me its a very painful experience at the time, but get enough satisfaction from the sense of acheivement after and quest to get fitter to do another. (i also convince myself it will be less hellish when i am actually fitter!)

    - keep properly hydrated. i don't have a camelback so on my first race (2hrs as many laps as poss) i filled a bottle thinking it would be enough (sounds ridiculous now i know). the reason i thought it was ok was because i was looking at other people who seemed to have 1 full bottle on their bike. wasn't until the end i realised they were picking up a fresh bottle every lap from the feed zone haha. i was gasping by lap 3 of 5. Second race my bottle swung out my bottle cage within 500m of the start. stopped to get it but by sheer bad luck had struck a tree and cracked open. gutted. continued race with no drink, but at least it wasn't the hottest day of the year. oh yes it was. was frothing at the mouth by the time i'd finished. aluminium bottle cage now bent right in - will not happen again.

    - a course may seem pretty non-technical on first lap/warm up lap but for me at least its a different story when your completely knackered. stacked it over the bars on a basic downhill section on my first race just coz i was too knackered to concentrate on going down hill properly. my stem had swung around the steerer in the resulting mess but twisted it back and now very glad i continued. (take multi-tool!)

    but def don't worry about embarrasing yourself, no one cares and i never have a clue what lap anyone is on anyway. in the first race i know i lapped people in but i was getting laped too, thats how mixed up it was. in the 2nd race the start times were staggered according to category, so soon got mixed up anyway, for an on looker it must be almost impossible to tell what position a random person is in. just remember to be aware of and leave plenty of room for fast people if any manage to come round to lap you - although this is common sense. good luck!
  • DomWintDomWint Posts: 59
    Thanks CJ, that's good advice.

    Guess I just need to MTFU. Lee Quarry, here I come.

    Got my Camelbak from Merlin yesterday, so hopefully no frothing at the mouth for me.
  • wavey1490wavey1490 Posts: 39
    it all depends how serious you want to take it ?

    catergories start from a fun 2 lap race, upto an expert/elite 5/6 lap race of normally a 4-5 mile loop.

    pre race -
    The main prep work will be done in your training rides. If a normal 3 lap novice race for example will take 1hr30 mins its no good training for 30-40 mins. You'll need to go out for 2 hrs with mixed riding. Some intervals ones day thrown in, and some hill work another day. You'll need to pick up the intensity to improve your lactate thresholds

    race day-
    stay hydrated, eat a good amount prior but not too much as the day goes on, and warm up. Then in the race, ride at your pace and find your rythem you can sustain for the duration

    also pick your catagory wisely, just start off with fun then as you improve move up the ranks as you see fit. the xc events are generally relaxed and the entry level ctatergories have all types of riders in them from 1st time racers to weekend wanabee's

    but most of all just have fun, have a natter with the guys as your racing round and have a laugh afterall you have no sponsors to please its just for you so enjoy yourself !!!
    Anorexic Racing Snake ;)
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    The local races (as opposed to the national series) tend to be pretty low-key

    To be honest, the vast majority of people in the nationals are just there to have fun too. There's always plenty of banter on the line in most, if not all, of the categories! The reality is there's rarely more than 5 people in a category (and often less) who could win, everyone else is just there to have fun and do as well as they possibly can.
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