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Just hit it with speed
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Biker Girl said:
How long did you ride before you entered your first race?
I've been riding MTB since I was probably 14(I am 22 now) but I would say that I have only truly gotten into the sport(riding a few times a week) since Jan of this year and I am trying to get up the guts to enter the First Time Beginner class this weekend. If not this race then definitely one in Mid August near my house.
 

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I raced three weeks after I started. I mountain biked maybe 5 times before this 5 years ago in high school. Now that was a joke, my time 1:29, winning time 1:03. It's been almost six weeks and I've done two more races. This past weekend I finished in 51 mins, while the guy that came in at 1:04 in the aforementioned race came in at 49 mins. So improvement is pretty rapid in the beginning.

My advice: just get out and do it. The first is primarily a learning experience anyway. You'll probably hate it while you're racing but afterwards you can't wait for the next one.

CW
 

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i started mountain biking (again) in 2003. Entered first race in '04, so one year of riding until my first race. I entered sport category and finished DFL. Entered that same race the next year in beginner class and won! I have decided to stick with sport class and my two races this year have had mid to back of the pack results. i have fun and I'm no longer finishing dead last!
 

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No no...the OTHER LA.
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I've been mountain biking on and off for 12 years before my first race. I always had the low body weight and interest in the sport, but my lungs were lacking. I would literally feel like puking for hours after a moderate ride, and feel like crud for a few days. So I would take a few weeks off, forget the pain and try it again - only to go through it again. Something finally clicked last year (getting a bike that fit and didn't kill me going up a hill was a big part I think!) and I fell in love with the sport. I hit the trails constantly from Dec-April and entered my first race ever as sport. I finished 14 out of 18 in my class, but at least I finished. Would have been in the top 5 if I had classed as beginner, but most of me is glad I jumped in as sport and I will stay in this class until I get a podium.
 

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2004 - 1st year mtbing - just learning

2005 - 2nd year mtbing - raced Beginner

2006 - 3rd year mtbing - racing Sport

I think it's a good idea to prepare to race rather than diving in head first. If you're not comfortable on the bike yet or riding enough, your first race could be miserable and it could turn you off. If you're at least somewhat prepared and excited, you're more likely to enjoy it and want to keep doing it. When you finish your first race, even if you don't do so hot, you'll be damn proud of yourself.
 

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I'd been riding MTB about 4 months, had just got clipless and entered my first one. Didn't do to bad as it wasn't really a race, was a "fun ride", but I placed 21st out of maybe 70 people who went. 1 year later I did the same race and placed 5th, this year I plan on doing it and am going for 1st. Just get out and give it a try, you'll have fun, some pain and it'll be an eye opener on just how unfit you really are compared to what you thought.
 
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