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  1. #1
    n00bin and lovin it
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    What's a Race Like?

    I'm from Phoenix, 30 yrs old, and recently took up biking. For the last 2-3 months, I've been commuting to work 2-3 days per week (25 miles RT), and I'll ride the trails a couple times per week (South Mtn and Hawes, ~8 miles each time).

    I'm thinking about entering the GT McDowell Park race in Ft Hills as a beginner, but never done it before and am a little apprehensive. The race is 15.8 miles of fairly easy fast singletrack.

    Any advice?

    Oh, I've never ridden the track before...

  2. #2
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Preride the course and then be ready to lose. As long as you don't come in last, you outran someone. If you do finish last you did better than DNF, and DNF is better than than too lazy to try. See if any of the clubs in your area do clinics for first time racers. If they don't just remember not to ride above your skill level, and it is the faster rider's job to find a place to pass- you do not have to yield to them unless they are in a different class.(at races where several classes are run at once). Most importantly have fun.
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    Should be riding Bike Lover's Avatar
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    Don't go out to fast. It's not who gets the hole shot, as a friend of mine thinks, then I pass. If you go out too fast you'll blow up and not be able to finish strong. You'll probably want to be near the front of the pack though so you can pass if you're able to later.

    Make sure you have fuel for the race (eat breakfast of some sort). Warm up so your body knows what it's about to do (get some sprints in). Don't go out too fast. Have fun. It'll be over before you know it.
    Regret lasts longer than pain
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  4. #4
    n00bin and lovin it
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    I'm going out to ride the track this afternoon - I'm taking the day off work [cough, cough]. I have a HRM I can use to help gauge my effort.

    Wish me luck! I really don't care if I finish last...

  5. #5
    Type 1 Racer rydaddy's Avatar
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    Just have fun. Keep expectations low (for now). And what the others said... pace yourself.

  6. #6
    Gray Haired Commuter
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    Jump in and go!! The above suggestion to pre-ride the course if possible is a good one. It's a great way to get some of the rush of bike racing, without the possible consequences from doing a short-course crit with the Cat5 crowd!
    Dave Clary
    Corpus Christi,TX
    Home: http://davidclary.com
    Blog: DaveGetsFit

  7. #7
    Senior Member nachomc's Avatar
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    Racing is a blast. When I race (so far only in a local grassroots series) I'm nervous up to the start, then I'm redlining for 12-15 miles, then I'm drinking beer with friends and talking about the race.

    As has been said, start out fast but not at your max. 15 miles is a long way and you don't want to blow up. Conserve some energy and use it when your opponents who blasted out of the gates start to lose some speed. One thing I always remember when I'm racing and pushing as hard as I can up a long hill, is something Mr. Overend said - You can catch your breath on the downhill . If you can climb well, you'll make up a lot of ground on other riders.
    cleanspokes

    29 inches to freedom.

  8. #8
    Still riding too slow
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    l, and it is the faster rider's job to find a place to pass- you do not have to yield to them unless they are in a different class.(at races where several classes are run at once). Most importantly have fun.
    I see post like this a lot so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. Around here we pick a spot and allow the faster rider to pass
    when he ask for it. It's not good for either rider to fight for a pass and have one or both riders go down and possibly dnf or
    worse. Some times this really pays off a few miles later when you catch the guy that you previously allowed to pass and
    it's your turn to ask him for track. Race your own race, pass when you catch somebody, allow others to pass when they
    catch you, and if you are fastest you will win.

  9. #9
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    HRM on a mtb = pegged .. I quit wearing it and just assume 190+
    I only pedal uphill.

  10. #10
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martytime View Post
    I'm from Phoenix, 30 yrs old, and recently took up biking. For the last 2-3 months, I've been commuting to work 2-3 days per week (25 miles RT), and I'll ride the trails a couple times per week (South Mtn and Hawes, ~8 miles each time).

    I'm thinking about entering the GT McDowell Park race in Ft Hills as a beginner, but never done it before and am a little apprehensive. The race is 15.8 miles of fairly easy fast singletrack.

    Any advice?

    Oh, I've never ridden the track before...
    pm me if you want to ride there this sunday. are you talking about the race on saturday??

    i am entered for the 24 hr solo the following week.

    i ride there all the time. just do it, there is nothing to be nervous about. i might be able to go on thurs or fri before dark.

    mx

  11. #11
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    you might want to post your questions in the mtbr arizona forum

    mx

  12. #12
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    A race is like a ride, only faster and with more people.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

  13. #13
    n00bin and lovin it
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    Yeah, the Sat race. I'm entering as a beginner -- props for doing the 24 hr ride. I always look at those races and think "Who are the crazies that ride that thing??". Now I know.

    Ironically, just as you were hitting 'Submit' on your reply, I was just huffing my way out of the Long Loop. I did S/T to S/T/L in about 95 minutes. Not sure if that's fast or slow, but felt slow to me. I'm shooting for under 2 hours total, and I figure I'll declare victory for finishing, even if I'm in last place.

    Fun ride, though... I must say I wasn't a big fan of the south ridge -- too bumpy on a HT.

    Good luck in your race - if you're there on Sat, I'll be the guy riding platforms who can't seem to stay on the trail...

  14. #14
    Who farted? Ka_Jun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martytime View Post
    I'm from Phoenix, 30 yrs old, and recently took up biking. For the last 2-3 months, I've been commuting to work 2-3 days per week (25 miles RT), and I'll ride the trails a couple times per week (South Mtn and Hawes, ~8 miles each time).

    I'm thinking about entering the GT McDowell Park race in Ft Hills as a beginner, but never done it before and am a little apprehensive. The race is 15.8 miles of fairly easy fast singletrack.

    Any advice?

    Oh, I've never ridden the track before...
    Good luck! I rode my first race in beginner a few weeks ago First race ever: Race report - Month of Mud , here's what a friend of mine who used to ride for UCLA said:

    1) Be sure to get there plenty early before the race, so you're not rushed for reg, suiting up, figuring out the start order, or whatnot. What with pre-race jittters (natural), you'll also need time to poo/get down to race weight.

    2) Have eyewear that will keep the dust out of your eyes (big problem in large race fields) and a sweatband made from a strip of old T-shirt is useful to keep sweat from streaking your glasses. I'd send you my "rising sun" headband, but that might be inciteful.

    3) Don't try any new electrolytes or energy bars/gels that you've never eaten or drank before on a ride, as they might upset your stomach and do more harm than good. But, if you use things like Cytomax or Heed and they work for you, have 3 bottles made up: one for the drive to the race, to get hydrated; one for the race (unless you use a Camelbak, don't EVER put anything but water in there); and one for afterwards to recover

    4) There will be a tendency for everyone to sprint off the start line, then blow up on the first climb. Pace yourself and reel those suckas in one by one on the climbs and on the descents (when they're too tired to hold a good line on the downhills).

    5) If there is any way to pre-ride the course, you'll know where you can and can't do number 4 above. You can strategize good locations to pass and know when a few more seconds of standing/agressive/redlining climbing can get you to a piece of singletrack first -- where you can set the pace for the sucka trapped behind you.

    6) Have a wonderful time and look up now and then during long, smooth climbs to enjoy the beauty of the view. It brightens your spirit and takes your mind off the pain of the climb.

    Have fun!

  15. #15
    Senior Member IAMTB's Avatar
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    DON'T DO IT. It's more addictive than crack. You'll be looking for your next race by Sunday.













    OK do it. Relax and have a good time. Mountain bikers are a pretty good crowd. Bring some beer for after the race and you'll meet a bunch of new friends.
    Pulling the trigger as often as possible.

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