I have a 2006 Raleigh Mojave 8.0, which I purchased in 2006. I have ridden the snot out of it, i've taken on some good trails. I've considered upgrading to a new bike, mostly so I can ride with other people that have fancy bikes. It's not in my budget right now though. I was recently surprised that I was able to climb better than my friend on his full suspension XC bike, but he smoked me on the downhill (I understand the shock absorbing the pedal strokes, but I thought his higher end components and lighter bike would make him significantly faster than me)
I've been running half marathons and marathons a few a year for the last 7 years. I understand foot races. I've been interested in shifting to something new, so i've started investigating MTB racing. I won't win any races, i'm just looking for a good time.
1- I'm afraid i'll be behind the curve because I don't have a fancy bike, I'm a fairly strong rider, but a bike can make a difference.
2- I don't know the racing culture, foot races are very open to people just racing to complete as an achievment.
Really the biggest thing is #1 , i'm afraid my bike will set me back and If i'm going to race I don't want excuses, I want to be competitive for my skills and strength and not my wallet.