XC MTB racing, where to start?

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  • XC MTB racing, where to start?
  • Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    Why wait, jump straight in would be my advice

    Larry_Lamb
    Member

    Well, I doubt you’ll be doing too much racing the season is practically over.

    Search for series on say Google/British cycling.

    Do you want to accrue points to climb the British cycling series ladder?

    stumpy01
    Member

    As close to the start line as possible, facing in the direction of the course….

    Sorry…

    😆

    Premier Icon dafoxster
    Subscriber

    I would also recommend to jump straight in. I started XC racing straight after buying my first mountain bike, my bike skills were pretty bad and my fitness was awful. However I entered the easiest categories to start with and I learnt a lot very quickly. I was never troubling the leaders but neither was I last. I espcecially enjoyed the wheel to wheel racing. I also found fellow competitors were very supportive and would offer lots of useful advice.

    chum3
    Member

    Agreed – crack on!

    There’s so much to MTB racing that’s not fitness based, which is best learned through experience. Everything from how to organize yourself, learning what you like to eat / drink when racing, what pre race prep that works for you. You even race on the same courses from one year to the next, which is great to know.

    Also, it’s easy to put racing on a pedestal (oooh – it’s a RACE!), and to build it up more than you should. The more races you do, the more you come to realise it’s nothing more than a bunch of people thrashing round a forest for a while… It’s great fun though!

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Look at any early CX races in your area and have a go on your ATB MTB.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    looking to build fitness this year and start next year

    Again, jump right in, you’ll get a good idea of your starting baseline that way, and there’s no better workout than racing anyway 😉 You’ll never (well, unlikely but maybe you’re the next Shurter) be the fittest one on course so no point waiting until you’re ‘fit enough’ or you’ll never start.

    Don’t know where you are but down here in Devon we have at least one winter XC series, but there’s plenty of ‘cross on over the winter too, you may not have thought about racing ‘cross for the racing, but it’s damn good training.

    Fairly interested in getting started in this, looking for pointers for a complete novice

    Well, for starters tell us a bit about what you’re currently riding so we have an idea if it’s just fitness you’ll need or if you need to focus on skills too.

    Have you ever ridden a proper XC course? Or ridden the places where tey hold them?

    Do any of your friends race who you could get some pointers from, or info about local series or course for you to go and investigate?

    The one thing I will say up front is, do NOT worry about your bike/kit. If you have a working bike that’s all you need to get started. At the beginning, unless you’re already very fit and likely to progress super quick then it will be you that holds you back not the bike. Worry about upgrades, weight, tyres and all that stuff later down the line when it might make the difference, if you’re battling it out for top 10 or above the kit can become a bigger factor, below that it’s simply not worth worrying about unless you’re intending to race a DH bike.

    Most XCO races are in the 1hr – 1.5hr ballpark, so you need to be able to sustain your output for at least that long, if you currently only do 1-2hr rides and they involve some pootling or relaxing bits then you’ll need to work on that as you’ll probably find once you’re at ‘race pace’ you’ll blow up well before the end.

    In tandem with the above this means pacing is important, you need to learn to ride to the race, so balls out for 20mins then a gasping slumped trudge for the rest of it isn’t going to work.

    There’s loads more info we can give, plenty of XC racers on here, so I’m sure more will chip in soon, and if you have specific questions then don;t be afraid to ask them, no matter how stupid they may seem.

    I was never troubling the leaders but neither was I last. I espcecially enjoyed the wheel to wheel racing

    It’s addictive, at my best I can top 5 a local Masters/Sport race, more often hover around top 10 or a few places either way, but there is nothing I enjoy more than turning myself inside out for and hour or so fighting tooth and nail for a mediocre placing 😀

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    Plenty of late season xc races still about. Gorrick have some nice friendly autumn races if you are near enough. As above – just jump right in and give it a go. Pick an easy category if you are uncertain of your speed, then adjust or stick for following races. Have fun!

    Premier Icon schmiken
    Subscriber

    Whereabouts are you?

    kiksy
    Member

    Yep, don’t wait until next year, just find a regional race near you and have a crack! You’ll learn a lot about what you need to work on and be able to meet other people into racing.

    dedrater
    Member

    Fairly interested in getting started in this, looking for pointers for a complete novice, looking to build fitness this year and start next year. Any advice appreciated!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Easy as anything, easier than other types of cycling afaik.

    Find nearby race, enter online (fun category), turn up, pedal like f***, if you win, enter open next time. If you win that, get a license and enter Sport.

    If you’re up north I can highly recommend this https://www.facebook.com/MidweekMTBMadness/

    I’ve done a few of them, well organised, high level too.

    dedrater
    Member

    Oh wow. I didn’t expect such enthusiastic replies! To answer a few questions;

    I’m based on South Yorkshire.
    I’m in my mid-thirties and so I doubt I’m going set the world of MTB racing on fire!
    I do 30mins (6.5miles) each way commute along Sustrans routes (tarmac, gravel, woods, road) 5 days a week and ride this years Boardman 29er Pro.
    My only means of pacing/training is beating my segments on Strava.
    I’ve never been to a trail park, the last time I was in anything remotely like a bike park/track was probably about 20 years ago at an old Quarry near Sheffield.

    I have a young son who will be (hopefully) off his stabilizers by Christmas so it was more a thing to do as a father/son as he gets older (if he’s bothered). I’m quietly competitive though and when I find something I really like I get obsessed!

    I guess its something I always wanted to do as a kid but never got the chance.

    Aristotle
    Member

    jonnytheleyther – Member
    If you’re up north I can highly recommend this https://www.facebook.com/MidweekMTBMadness/

    I’ve done a few of them, well organised, high level too.

    Yes. I really enjoyed them too.

    Aristotle
    Member

    dedrater – Member
    I’m just about still in my mid-thirties and so I doubt I’m going set the world of MTB racing on fire!
    I do 30mins (6.5miles) each way commute along Sustrans routes (tarmac, gravel, woods, road) 5 days a week and ride this years Boardman 29er Pro.
    My only means of pacing/training is beating my segments on Strava.

    You’ll be fine.

    I’m in my late 30s, ride a 2014 Boardman Pro 29er and mostly just commute by bike these days too. I always seem to finish half-way down the “racer” class.

    Some of the busier, muddier races can be quite frantic. It’s great.

    I’m hoping to do some cyclocross races this year too.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    OP
    If you can get in to a series where the same folk turn up each race,you won’t believe how much fun racing at the back can be.
    Battle for 42 and 43rd spot,oh yeah,bring it. 🙂

    steve_b77
    Member

    It’s cross season, have a crack at that and if you like it, try xc next year. Just turn up and ride as hard as you can

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    Battle for 42 and 43rd spot,oh yeah,bring it.

    NOT last is always my target.

    Managed it by one place in my first & only Gorrick race. Was still fun.

    dedrater
    Member

    Great stuff. I’ve had a look and there seems to be a few CX races within 90mins or so of me so I might give them a go. I take it MTBs aren’t so rare at these events?

    Also got my eye on Yorkshire True Grit.

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