My First Mountain Bike Race - Steps to being prepared

My First Mountain Bike Race by Coreen Wright, Tough Girl Cycling

Coreen Wright

I think for me, my first mountain bike race was the most memorable. I had a positive experience that kept me coming back for more. Unlike running races, which I was more accustom to, mountain bike racing has some variety to the race, you get to go fast! Like faster than running. When I first arrived at the race, I was a little nervous. I
just didn’t want to be last. I signed up as beginner in the 40-49 year old group. Yeah, my first race was when I was 40. My concerns, as you can imagine were crashing, and of course hitting a tree or something crazy like that. I didn’t have the easiest time when I first started riding…I crashed a lot. Thankfully, with patience and perseverance, my husband didn’t give up on me and so I kept on riding.

I remember the announcer yelling “GOOOOOOO” in the loud speaker and racers taking off. That was kind of scary. I wasn’t sure what to expect after that but I was about to find out. So we were off and my heart was pounding out of my chest. I tried to relax and calm down but the rest of the start was a blur. I finally recovered on the downhill and from then on it was a blast. What was so fun about the race, were the other racers. We had conversations along the way and through the struggles together of pushing up a climb or going over a scary edge we encouraged each other along and I felt like we knew one another. Passing on the trails was easier than I expected and if you communicated well it made it safer for all. We were all in it together.

I liked the feeling of being in the forest and surrounded by trees and fresh air with single track beneath my tires. I had a hunch I would be doing this again. Mountain biking quickly became a lot more fun. Racing brought a whole new aspect to my riding. It’s the one thing that makes me feel like a kid again.

If you are thinking about racing for the first time, do it. A few things to remember are to be familiar with the course, so pre ride it. Be hydrated before the race and have planned what is easy for you to eat if you need more nutrition during the race. Also, check your bike to make sure the tires are inflated to adequate pressure and you have
CO2 cartridges or a pump and tube in case you get a flat. Make sure your seat post and handlebar screws are snug to eliminate mechanical problems during the race.

Knowing how to take care of your bike and knowing how to repair a few bike mechanicals can be beneficial on and off the race course. If you are not sure how to do some of these things you can check with your local bike shop for some classes or you can ask other experienced riders for help.

If you are not sure of what trails to ride you can check 303 cycling for riding trails and race schedules. Remember to have fun and always wear a helmet. You are never too old to do your first race.

Coreen Wright
Tough girl cycling

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