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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this should go in Racing or Beginners, but thought I'd start here.

I'm planning on using a SS in my first XC race (mostly easy-to-advanced intermediate singletrack). This is a "fun" race (but still lots of competitive classes) so I thought I'd try it out on my Monocog 29. I've been riding this bike for a few months now, and I'd like to try this whole racing thing as a new way to enjoy the trails (or suffer, as the case may be).

I'm not really a beginner, but I'm just getting back into regularly riding MTB after about 10 years or so. I have never raced in the past, so this is all new to me.

I'm not going to race in the SS class, as that's an extra lap and I don't think I'm quite ready for that - plus based upon last year's results, that's quite a competitive class and I don't think that's a good fit for me. I'm planning on riding clydesdale, which goes out as a group with the men's beginners. That seems like a better fit for my skill/fitness level, regardless of the SS. I know the clydes can be competitive (as well as beginners), but I think I'd rather be out on the course at the same time with people going about my speed.

Anyway - are there any issues riding SS in other classes? The organizers don't seem to have a problem with it, but I guess I was just wondering about general etiquette when you do that - for example, I'll probably be running up a few hills, etc. Just kind of curious how that works. I want to do the best I can, but I also don't want to be the jerk that's holding everyone up because I think I'm joe cool on my SS ;)

Any experiences riding SS for the first time in a race? Especially as a relative novice? I'm just trying to prepare myself.
 

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heywood said:
I was just wondering about general etiquette when you do that - for example, I'll probably be running up a few hills, etc. Just kind of curious how that works.
You won't be the only guy running up some hills, I assure you. As long as you yield to someone riding that's trying to pass you, it really isn't a problem. They'll usually holler "track!" or something to let you know they want to go past. Give them enough room to get by, but you don't have to stop running.

But also don't underestimate how many hills you'll be riding. With a good head of steam, a determined SSer can hammer and mash his way up a lot of stuff while the gearies are spinning away in the granny ring. And once you get to the top, accelerate! You'll put distance between you and the ones still climbing, demoralizing them when they hit the crest and you're no longer in sight. Ned Overend taught me that one.

Have a good race, and remember, a lot of shorter races are won or lost at the start. Get that hole shot! :thumbsup:
 

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[*]Show up to the start area early and find a place near the front of the pack. People will be jostling for position -- stand your ground.
[*]When the race starts, hammer like mad. Don't worry about saving something for the rest of the race. If you fall off the back at the beginning, your race will be over before it started.
[*]Know the course, especially where sections of singletrack start. Do everything you can to get ahead of people before singletrack sections start so you don't end up stuck behind someone slow.
[*]If you have to run up a hill, chances are you will be moving as fast or faster than other racers spinning up the hill.
[*]If you are running up a climb with limited rideable lines, stay off of them so that other people have a better chance of cleaning the hill. Its usually not a handicap for the runner and other people won't have a reason to get frustrated.
[*]You have just as much right to the course as the next racer. If they are faster, but don't have the skills to pass you, they are not faster. Don't be a jerk, but don't be a push-over either.
[*]Always be attacking.
[*]Always be looking for the next racer to catch and pass.
[*]When you pass someone, always try to put them away for good.
[*]It is possible for someone on a fully geared dual suspension bike to be slower than your full rigid(?) SS, on any terrain.
 

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Great suggestions here

Also...Have fun!!:D Sounds like a great time and you are fine to race any class...even more so because you are new to the race scene and not looking to set any land speed records. Good luck and enjoy the 29er!!:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies and advice - especially about passing and hills. I had a general idea of how I was going to tackle some of the hills (I've ridden the approximate course), but I had trouble picturing how that would work with bunch of other riders around. Very good tips!
 

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Since it is your first race, think twice about "hammering like mad" from the start. You need to be well trained and well warmed up to do that. Even if you decide to start hard, try to settle into a sustainable race pace before your heart rate goes through the roof.

My advice for a first time racer is to pace themselves, enjoy the experince, learn how to deal with traffic, how to pass and be passed. Don't put too much pressure on yourself and have realistic expectations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
serious - I agree - I'm not going to worry about the start. My plan is to try and keep a steady (but fast) pace, try and go flat-out on the parts I'm comfortable with and just deal with the tricky parts as they come. Overall goal for me is to have fun and finish.
 

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Until this year, I never thought I had a fast start, so I never fought to be first into the singletrack.
Well it turns out I was wrong, I do have a good start, and can be one of the first to the woods.
My point is don't under-estimate yourself, or handicap yourself because of your size or your bike.
If you start too hard and feel you're going to blow, back off until you feel better, but you never know until you try...
 

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Granted, you don't want to kill yourself. But IME slow and steady does not win the race at an XC event. You can win by staying up front and having the strength to go the distance. You can lose by staying up front and blowing up. Or you can lose by taking it easy. I'm not that agressive by nature, but for my money (the race entry fee), I would rather go down fighting. (And winning and losing are all relative to the individual's realistic expectations.)

I think it is worth looking to have a good start, even practicing by really red-lining it for 30-60 sec. Better yet, scout the course and figure out how long that first sprint will be. With and SS you can ride it slowly and count pedal revs., then practice sprinting the distance anywhere. It helps a lot to realize that you can do this and still recover. Getting a good start is great psychologically and will spare you the hassle or passing that many more people.

By all means, ride for fun. But don't sell yourself short and be too conservative.

Good point though about being warmed up! That is what a I always end up wishing I paid more attention to.
 

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you want to be the first into the trees, especially if there is anything technical soon after you enter. You will waste more energy picking thru slower riders and getting balled up in crashes then going for it at the start. I am racing my first year in beginner and am usually the only ss in my class. I have missed the podium mainly because of not getting the start i need. I've been taken out or held up by slower riders every race. The energy you waste grinding a gear behind someone is worse then being ahead of the mess and catching your breath while everyone else is stuck behind a pile up. It's a lot more fun up front than mid pack.

I had a race this weekend that went like this. Long start to the trees, got in top 5 before the singletrack. Large log in the 2nd turn, guy in front of me crashes and takes me out. Lose 3 spots. Get up and hammer my brains out trying to catch up. pass a few people and get hung up another person who can't clear a log. I ended up 4th, but the top three that had no traffic to deal with finished 2 minutes before me. That is the difference a start makes. The energy expended to try and chase was much worse than the 3 cruising at the front.

Have fun, don't get frustrated and keep doing it! It just keeps getting better!
 

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heywood said:
Not sure if this should go in Racing or Beginners, but thought I'd start here.

I'm planning on using a SS in my first XC race (mostly easy-to-advanced intermediate singletrack). This is a "fun" race (but still lots of competitive classes) so I thought I'd try it out on my Monocog 29. I've been riding this bike for a few months now, and I'd like to try this whole racing thing as a new way to enjoy the trails (or suffer, as the case may be).

I'm not really a beginner, but I'm just getting back into regularly riding MTB after about 10 years or so. I have never raced in the past, so this is all new to me.

I'm not going to race in the SS class, as that's an extra lap and I don't think I'm quite ready for that - plus based upon last year's results, that's quite a competitive class and I don't think that's a good fit for me. I'm planning on riding clydesdale, which goes out as a group with the men's beginners. That seems like a better fit for my skill/fitness level, regardless of the SS. I know the clydes can be competitive (as well as beginners), but I think I'd rather be out on the course at the same time with people going about my speed.

Anyway - are there any issues riding SS in other classes? The organizers don't seem to have a problem with it, but I guess I was just wondering about general etiquette when you do that - for example, I'll probably be running up a few hills, etc. Just kind of curious how that works. I want to do the best I can, but I also don't want to be the jerk that's holding everyone up because I think I'm joe cool on my SS ;)

Any experiences riding SS for the first time in a race? Especially as a relative novice? I'm just trying to prepare myself.
Heywood,

If you don't mind, what race are you going to be participating in? Just curious.
 

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Let's get weird
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Heywood - I'll see you there. I was at Crabtree yesterday experimenting with different paces and realized that I won't know until the start of the race. I tried following the route of last years event and got off track several times, which screwed up the whole process and left me with no lap time. I ride a fully rigid SS 29er, and found that all of the exposed roots are going to zap me more than a super quick pace would. Hopefully it will rain a bit before hand, the dirt was super sandy making speed into and out of turns sketchy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You may already know this, but there is a pre-ride Thursday at 7 (meeting at 6:45 by the boat ramp lot). I may try to do that.

I rode what I think was last year's course (based on a map) on Saturday and was pretty slow to say the least. I'll just have to see how it goes on race day.

Are you racing in the SS class?
 

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That time in the evening is hard for me, but I'm trying to make the pre-ride. Even though this will be my first MTB race and will probably get smoked, I'm thinking of entering the younger sport class. The SS class used to include downing a beer on each lap, don't know if this is true of this year's event.
 
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