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Racing gear and set-up...

Kerrmit1992Kerrmit1992 Posts: 275
edited February 2013 in XC and Enduro
Hi guys,

Sometime soon I'm looking to have a go at my first mountain bike race (cross-country) and was wondering how to best set up my bike and what best to wear? I notice a lot of guys seem to wear lycra shorts and tops like a roadie? Also, what about a bag for carrying things for punctures and carrying all kinds of repair gear?

All advice will be welcomed! :-D
Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!


  • Wear what ever you feel comfortable in. This is your first race remember, so don't go out buying loads of racing kit, as you may not enjoy racing.
    Just go, have fun, talk to the other racers and gradually build up a set of kit that you are happy with.
  • As huskyboy64 says wear what your comfortable in & what you have first time round.

    As for the bag and other items take what you would normally go on a ride with. Years ago I used to race with a small camelbak which I could put my micro pump, tyre levers, repair patch and spare tube into. Now I tend to use CO2 (as ride road bikes too) so they fit in a small bag that i can fit into my back pocket.
    Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Yep, wear what you're comfortable in.

    Consider if you really need a bag, it's much more comfy without one, and you'll be back at the same place every 30 minutes or so, consider using your jersey pockets for stuff. I carry a CO2 pump plus a small multitool, and a tube if it's a big race.

    Bottles to drink from, fresh one each lap.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,572
    I ride with my usual massive camelbak stuffed full of inner tubes, pump, first aid kit, survival blanket etc - I can't be bothered to take stuff out each time and I feel odd and unbalanced riding without it :oops:
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    I'm quite new to XC racing but I have learnt don't wear too many layers, you get hot quicker than normal rides and overheating isn't pleasant and you'll waste time trying to ditch what you don't want on, also I don't bother with a bag you'll end up filling it with censored you don't need, just take a tube, multitool and a bottle. If you have supporters get them to have bottles I only do short races so just grab a bottle each lap lob it and my daughter picks it up for the next lap saves the extra weight :-)
  • Thanks for the replys guys!

    I was looking at entering the Scottish cross country series, but it's in march and don't know if I'll have time to get for enough (I would only plan to finish each race this year and maybe try and get competitive next year) but also, don't know if I'll have the cash to get the membership required from British cycling + entry fees, what are entry fees usually like?

    Plus, I'm def gonna need new tyres lol
    Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    Entry fees are normally around £10-£30 for races between 1 and 4 hours more for longer enduro races. Do you need a BC membership?
  • I thought you at least needed the bronze membership for competitive events? (this gives me a provisional race licence?) this is only £15 for the year though, however, won't gain me any points apparently lol, not that that would matter this year.
    Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Yes and no. There is always a non-licensed category (ie Open) you can race without one.

    They do keep changing it, so I don't know for sure and it varies by series, but last year if you wanted to race the national series you needed a licence for every other category (including Master etc), in previous years you've been able to do one round, or do as many as you want but not get series points.

    Regional series tend to be more relaxed.

    As said a bronze membership gets you a provisional licence if you don't want the points, not sure I'd bother with that personally. YMMV, but I'd do open, or get a licence.
  • Doesn't look like I can even get access to the entry page on the British Cycling website without first taking out a membership. (You can't enter on the event website, only British Cycling website)

    I may just buy it, only £15, I have some money lying around somewhere I think.

    So what are the usual procedures for race day?

    I'm just trying to get an idea of what its all like and what I need to do.

    Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    What's the event?
  • Scottish cross-country series :-)
    Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Never done one of those, so can't specifically comment, but basically...

    Turn up in the morning, sign on, get your number. Do a practice lap to get an idea of what's out there. If you're short on time I recommend doing at least the first mile or so, so you know what to expect. Stay warm and hydrated.

    Don't eat anything too heavy before hand, depends a bit when your race is. Check the bike, warm up, get to the start 5-10 mins early depending how many people are there. When gun goes pedal like mad, stop when you've completed the correct number of laps. If you can talk you're not trying hard enough.

    You shouldn't have to join BC to enter - there's a "I'm new to BC" link at the bottom which allows you just to sign up to the website (but not actually join).
  • Thanks for that mate, well described :-P lol
    Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!
  • C0LL0C0LL0 Posts: 271
    what njee20 said, spot on but I'll add another bit of advice

    Enjoy it, if like 80% of the entrants you will be a competitive person, but just keep in the back of your mind enjoy the moment, if you don't have fun you won't do it again. If you get a good result your smile will be massive.
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    Totally agree with the above, enjoy it, I set out to finish and improve each race, my first race target was to not come last and I didn't it was something like 5th from last :-) but had great fun and I've entered more since.
  • Thanks for all the replies guys! :-D

    The first race is on the 17th of march and I've managed to get the day off work.
    What would use suggest I do training wise? I'm quite a fit guy but I've never really done any long distance stuff before.
    I play rugby and do lots of weight training.

    It's hard for me to get to a trail centre more than twice a month or so as my nearest is about an hours drive away, would just getting out and cycling do the trick? On and off road?

    Mountain biking is the bicycle version or rallying, except you don't need a Co-Driver!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Well XC races aren't long distance, so I'd not worry about that. Even an elite race is less than 2 hours, other categories shorter.

    Just ride your bike as much as you can, no reason to go to a trail centre. Do some intervals - the start will be immensely fast, just some one minute balls out sprints, with good (5+ minute) recovery in between.

    Don't do anything too strenuous in the few days before the event, but don't do nothing - keep your legs turning.

    However fit you think you are, it's likely to be an eye opener! Enjoy it, it's fun and addictive.
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