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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I'm doing my first race tomorrow -- i'm excited and also very nervous, but i figure that's normal (based upon the pre-race jitters thread).

Any advice/stories of your first race you'd like to share?
 

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jonwebah said:
Hey all,

I'm doing my first race tomorrow -- i'm excited and also very nervous, but i figure that's normal (based upon the pre-race jitters thread).

Any advice/stories of your first race you'd like to share?
Drink a lot of water.

My 1-year anniversary since my first race is on Sunday. After the 15 or so races I did last year, the best advice I can give you is Drink Water. All the other stuff will come to you in time :)

Oh - and don't eat any really spicy Stromboli for dinner tonight.

To commemorate that anniversary, I am going to do that same race in the Expert class this weekend. I have no illusions about my potential for performace - I didn't train for jack this winter due to a myriad of reasons. But they cut 5 miles off the course, so I am not too concerned.

Is there a technical term for 2nd to DFL? I dont think I'll DFL, but I think there should be a cool acronym for 2nd to DFL.
 

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forkboy said:
Is there a technical term for 2nd to DFL? I dont think I'll DFL, but I think there should be a cool acronym for 2nd to DFL.
Not an acronym, but I like to refer to myself as the "PENULTIMATE" racer.
 

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My advise:

Sprint off the finish line as fast as you can, but don't kill yourself at the start. If you do get in front of people, they will have to slow down and pass you. If you don't, you will be the one slowing down and passing.

Treat it like a time trial. Go as fast as you can, but don't worry about placing well. My first race I made the mistake of keeping up with the lead riders for half the course, then I just had no energy left and fell way back.

Eat some high carb foods tonight, like Pasta.

And finaly. Have fun! Hang out, meet some people, do stuff. :cool:

The story of my first race might scare you, so I think I will save it for another post :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Lone Wolf said:
My advise:

Sprint off the finish line as fast as you can, but don't kill yourself at the start. If you do get in front of people, they will have to slow down and pass you. If you don't, you will be the one slowing down and passing.

Treat it like a time trial. Go as fast as you can, but don't worry about placing well. My first race I made the mistake of keeping up with the lead riders for half the course, then I just had no energy left and fell way back.

Eat some high carb foods tonight, like Pasta.

And finaly. Have fun! Hang out, meet some people, do stuff. :cool:

The story of my first race might scare you, so I think I will save it for another post :rolleyes:
i'll let everyone know how it went tomorrow after the race. i hope i can hear your story then, wolf!

i did one lap today (of a two lap race) and came in at 39:46. Past years' results have beginners finishing the race from about 60 minutes to 100 minutes. I'm hoping that i can finish under 90. that will probably mean last place - but who cares?!

primary goal: finish the race
secondary goal: under 90 minutes
^^^^^scratch that

primary goal: make biking friends so i'm not always riding solo
 

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as somebody else has said recently in another thread, one of the biggest challenges of xc racing is not going so fast that you crack half way through, but also not going to slow that you finish without having left everything on the course. It's a challenging balance to find!


1. don't be suckered into going all out at the beginning just to keep up with other guys (who may crack or who may just be faster)

2. drink water - today and yesterday. Hydration is important and it's the days leading up to the race that matter

3. have oatmeal for breakfast, and maybe a banana. No sausage, ham, or orange juice! Or you'll be writing about that in your writeup!

I know this isn't the way to win races but I always enjoy myself the most when I start slow and gradually work up to where I find my max sustainable pace over the first say 15 minutes of a race. The reason it's more fun is that in this case I generally get to pass people, which is fun and builds confidence through the race, whereas if I start super fast I eventually get passed by anybody that's faster anyway, and that always pisses me off!

Good luck!

PS my 1 year anniversary for my first race is next weekend, just like a couple of other peeps on the thread.
 

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mtbjen said:
Not an acronym, but I like to refer to myself as the "PENULTIMATE" racer.
That's a really good word. I might just get the opportunity to use that this weekend!

Language is really fascinating to me. I always feel cheated when I read one of the classics, and realize exactly how little I learned from my public-school upbringing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Race Report

Well I managed to get myself out this morning to register and race.

Overall the experience was just great -- it was a smaller race, so there were 70 entrees total and 9 in my class (Beginner Men).

The race was a 5.2 mile loop that had plenty of hills and fun, rocky descents. You can check out the elevation map here: http://www.student.virginia.edu/~bikeclub/images/meltdown_profile.jpg

The beginners went first and then the sport/experts. Watching some of those experts tear up the trails was truly amazing. To you experts out there, I salute you! The overall race winner completed 4 laps in 1 hour 58 minutes. nuts.

I, on the other hand, finished 2 laps in 1 hour 26 minutes. I was glad to finish without a flat or getting really pooped, and my time was good enough for second place. It was a lot of fun dueling with the eventual winner of my class, but he ended up getting the better of me with his efficient hardtail vs my 30lb full squishy. I could catch up in the downhills, but the climbs is where the race is won and he definitely was in better shape for those. He finished with a 2 minute advantage over me.

So the moral of this story is that racing is really awesome, especially when there are a ton of supportive people who don't put too much emphasis on winning (but hey they gave me a prize - a sweet multitool).

Can't wait for my next race.
 

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Awesome!

What a great way to start your racing career!

Here in Colorado the climbs also determine the winner of most races. As for bikes, you see a lot of hard tails, but probably even more full suspensions underneath the winning riders.

I too was and still am impressed by the supportive attitude at races..it's what keeps me coming back for more.

Again, congratulations!
 

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jonwebah said:
Well I managed to get myself out this morning to register and race.

Overall the experience was just great -- it was a smaller race, so there were 70 entrees total and 9 in my class (Beginner Men).

The race was a 5.2 mile loop that had plenty of hills and fun, rocky descents. You can check out the elevation map here: http://www.student.virginia.edu/~bikeclub/images/meltdown_profile.jpg

The beginners went first and then the sport/experts. Watching some of those experts tear up the trails was truly amazing. To you experts out there, I salute you! The overall race winner completed 4 laps in 1 hour 58 minutes. nuts.

I, on the other hand, finished 2 laps in 1 hour 26 minutes. I was glad to finish without a flat or getting really pooped, and my time was good enough for second place. It was a lot of fun dueling with the eventual winner of my class, but he ended up getting the better of me with his efficient hardtail vs my 30lb full squishy. I could catch up in the downhills, but the climbs is where the race is won and he definitely was in better shape for those. He finished with a 2 minute advantage over me.

So the moral of this story is that racing is really awesome, especially when there are a ton of supportive people who don't put too much emphasis on winning (but hey they gave me a prize - a sweet multitool).

Can't wait for my next race.
Great job.

The Meltdown is a brutal race. The constant up/down and transitions make it just as hard as any race with a long extended climb. The downhills while short are punishing. Usually it is super hot there.

I think that first timers / beginners deserve way more Kudos than expert/pros. It takes SOOOO much courage to make that step to sign up and get on the start line of race.

Way to go
 

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jonwebah said:
Well I managed to get myself out this morning to register and race.
Great job!

Sigining up and getting to the first race is definitely the hardest part of racing. Then you realize that everyone is not going to laugh at you. You might not do as well as you want, but it's not about being the best - it's about doing your best.

And getting better.

If you're taking second, maybe next time you can try out sport ;)

My first foray into Expert went exactly as planned. Penultimate. I don't feel the least bit bad. The winner was 25 minutes ahead of me. Bunch of superhuman freaks.

The next fastest (slowest) guy was only 5 minutes ahead of me, so I can at least set realistic goals. By the end of the season, maybe I'll be able to see the main pack finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
just by racing expert, i am in awe of you.

the experts in my race kept pace way faster than mine -- for twice as many laps. amazing. my hope is that by the end of the season i'll be finishing mid pack sport, seems like an optimistic, but hopefully attainable goal.

keep on truckin'


oh, and Lone Wolf -- i'm ready to hear your first race horror story now that i've got mine under my belt. please indulge us!
 

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That's a good, but aggressive, goal.

Each class up is significantly faster. Bock posted some statistics on this a few months ago; if you're interested search for Bock's posts. You'll hear lots of opinions on when to move up, and it's been discussed a million times. Do your own thing, and don't feel pressured to move up, just do it when you want. It's totally reasonable for you to spend a year in beginner, or, given your results, move up right away. I for one think you ought to give yourself at least a shot or two more to win a beginner race before moving up! That guy that beat you? Figure out how to beat him...
 

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jonwebah said:
just by racing expert, i am in awe of you.

the experts in my race kept pace way faster than mine -- for twice as many laps. amazing. my hope is that by the end of the season i'll be finishing mid pack sport, seems like an optimistic, but hopefully attainable goal.

keep on truckin'

oh, and Lone Wolf -- i'm ready to hear your first race horror story now that i've got mine under my belt. please indulge us!
Ok my first race... I sat at the start line nervous as hell and took off having no real idea what to expect. The course was wide in the begining and made a sharp left and turn, which was marked off with metal stakes.There was like 12 riders all riding side by side and making this turn. Now I made the mistake of starting on the far right side. So we race up to the turn and we all hit our brakes, then the guy beside me goes wide in the turn and runs into me. I swerve over towards the outside to keep from crashing and I catch one of the metal poles with my bar end. So now I'm stuck on the pole and the pack is leaving me. I fiddled with my handle bard for about 30 seconds to get them untangled and take off full speed towards the singletrack. Basicly I was at a all out sprint for the first couple miles to catch up with the pack. I sprinted some more to catch up to about 4th place. Then after all that sprinting I ran out of energy and just coudn't keep up. I finished in 8th place. The only reason I didn't get last was because the other guys crashed.
 

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jonwebah said:
just by racing expert, i am in awe of you.

the experts in my race kept pace way faster than mine -- for twice as many laps. amazing. my hope is that by the end of the season i'll be finishing mid pack sport, seems like an optimistic, but hopefully attainable goal.
I think Awe is a pretty strong word. I always figure that guys who are better than me just have more free time.

The biggest thing to getting better is riding. Riding a lot. I was fortunate to hook up with a couple buddies at work that are ex-racers. They took me out at lunch every other day and beat the hell out of me for 2 years. Then they didn't beat me up quite as much, and gradually it gets to where I'm the one pushing the pace.

I'm more in awe of the chubby old guys who go out and race beginner and sport. I know that it is hurting them a lot more than it is hurting me. That takes fortitude. They might not look as cool or go as fast as the experts, but they are paying some serious suffering dues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
forkboy said:
I think Awe is a pretty strong word. I always figure that guys who are better than me just have more free time.

The biggest thing to getting better is riding. Riding a lot. I was fortunate to hook up with a couple buddies at work that are ex-racers. They took me out at lunch every other day and beat the hell out of me for 2 years. Then they didn't beat me up quite as much, and gradually it gets to where I'm the one pushing the pace.

I'm more in awe of the chubby old guys who go out and race beginner and sport. I know that it is hurting them a lot more than it is hurting me. That takes fortitude. They might not look as cool or go as fast as the experts, but they are paying some serious suffering dues.
awe was the only word i could use when i was absolutely spent at the finish line after 2 laps and the experts were flying through their 3rd and on to a 4th. it takes a little more than free time to get to expert as well -- i don't know whether i have that kind of comittment to train to get myself to that level.

and you're right about the suffering, that's really what it comes down to and i know that some people definitely suffered a lot more than I did at the race. the race was inspiring in general. for example, one junior girl broke her derailleur in her first lap-- it had sheared right off! ran the bike the rest of the lap. i thought that was impressive.
 

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Dude! You just did the O-Hill meltdown??? I would have done that race, but I run varsity track here at UVA and we had a home meet that same day. I rode the course that evening, it was pretty tough... Anyways, if you're looking for someone to ride with in the C'ville area, send me a message or something...
 
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