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This Sunday I am entering my first race... ever.

I have two goals- surviving and finishing.

I know many of you race regularly and I was hoping that some of you wouldn't mind sharing some of your wisdom and tips to help me prepare.

I will ride my singlespeed, geared to climb as I am unfamiliar with the course. The length of the course is 10 miles with few technical obstacles. I plan on running my Panaracer Fire XC Pro's but could choose among the following tires- 2.24 WTB Mutanoraptors, Motoraptors or 2.1 Specialized Adrenalines.

The gear I plan to carry includes 40 oz of water, 2 powergels, 1 tube, multitool, tire levers, a few extra chain lengths and a CO2 inflator.

Dumb question- if I hook up the inflator to the CO2 canister will it hold the CO2 for an extended peroid? It is a trigger version inflator.

I would like to carry the gear and food in a seat bag and water bottles rather than a camelbak because I normally avoid camelbaks on my recreational rides.

Good idea? Bad idea?

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Go out hard and don't slow down! ;)

Do not puncture the CO2 cartridge until you need to use it.

Carry your food, tube and inflator in your jersey pockets. The tools can go in a seat bag.
One water bottle should be enough for a ten mile race.
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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Warm Up!

XC or road, the single most important bit of preparation IMO is getting a good warmup. Don't forget to eat in the morning, and try to top off (if you can force it down) about 200 calories about 60-90 minutes before the start. Warm up for at least 20-30 minutes beforehand, and get your heartrate up to race pace for at least 3 or 4 minutes. Do a couple of hard and long sprint starts to get the blood flowing. In fact, you should be worried that you are doing too much. Trust me, it is impossible to go SO HARD during a 20 minute warmup that your 2 hour race will suffer. The opposite is true. When the gun goes off and everyone else is reeling from the shock and pain, you will be ready and you can focus on position and getting to the singletrack. Because it will be hard, immediately. Have fun, there's no other feeling like racing! And try to smile for the cameras!

Molasses said:
This Sunday I am entering my first race... ever.

I have two goals- surviving and finishing.

I know many of you race regularly and I was hoping that some of you wouldn't mind sharing some of your wisdom and tips to help me prepare.

I will ride my singlespeed, geared to climb as I am unfamiliar with the course. The length of the course is 10 miles with few technical obstacles. I plan on running my Panaracer Fire XC Pro's but could choose among the following tires- 2.24 WTB Mutanoraptors, Motoraptors or 2.1 Specialized Adrenalines.

The gear I plan to carry includes 40 oz of water, 2 powergels, 1 tube, multitool, tire levers, a few extra chain lengths and a CO2 inflator.

Dumb question- if I hook up the inflator to the CO2 canister will it hold the CO2 for an extended peroid? It is a trigger version inflator.

I would like to carry the gear and food in a seat bag and water bottles rather than a camelbak because I normally avoid camelbaks on my recreational rides.

Good idea? Bad idea?

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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try driving your car less
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Molasses said:
This Sunday I am entering my first race... ever.

I have two goals- surviving and finishing.

I know many of you race regularly and I was hoping that some of you wouldn't mind sharing some of your wisdom and tips to help me prepare.

I will ride my singlespeed, geared to climb as I am unfamiliar with the course. The length of the course is 10 miles with few technical obstacles. I plan on running my Panaracer Fire XC Pro's but could choose among the following tires- 2.24 WTB Mutanoraptors, Motoraptors or 2.1 Specialized Adrenalines.

The gear I plan to carry includes 40 oz of water, 2 powergels, 1 tube, multitool, tire levers, a few extra chain lengths and a CO2 inflator.

Dumb question- if I hook up the inflator to the CO2 canister will it hold the CO2 for an extended peroid? It is a trigger version inflator.

I would like to carry the gear and food in a seat bag and water bottles rather than a camelbak because I normally avoid camelbaks on my recreational rides.

Good idea? Bad idea?

Thanks for the feedback!
do not change anything from your normal riding patterns, in terms of tires or anything, even gearing. just do a normal fast ride for your first race. the biggest difference is that it is a good idea to warm up a little, then go hard off the starting line. it is hard to pass people, so try to get out front first. this is tough on a SS if they have a long flat road section before the woods (somewhat typical).
I made the mistake for my first race of going into what i thought was race mode: light tires, different clothing (not baggies), etc. I was not used to it and i was slower.

you have the first thing down: your goal should be to finish and feel good about it. dont let other people bother you too much, both before the race and on the course.

smile and laugh and chat on the starting line. it totally bothers the real racers. the fact is, if you are racing novice/sport, they should not be there next to you and are just lame sandbaggers. experts usually start at a different time.

pack cold beer for after the race!!!
 

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Only dead people are old
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I agree with what others have said here...Carry less water (1 bottle is plenty ten miles), go out as fast as you can from the start - after that you can adjust to your fitness and needs, wear your normal riding clothing, use the tires and equipment you are most comfortable with...etc.

More...
-> You shouldn't need the gels (you can easily complete 10 miles on internal energy stores).
-> Eating before a race is a preference thing - Don't change from what you currently do before a ride. My preference is to stop eating 3 hrs before an event to ensure my stomach and bowels are done working and to be sure that my body has the insulin turned down (insulin promotes energy storage after eating and you don't want that happening when you need those stores in the start of a race). If I think I will need energy during the early part of a race I will take a gel right at the start-line just before the gun goes off.
-> The equipment you are carrying is good - it is to get you back on your bike (which is better than walking back any day). And yes carry it as you usually do on a normal ride.
-> On the trail pass whenever the opportunity presents (waiting is always a mistake). And do not ever just sit on someone's wheel unless you are really struggling to keep up with them or need a few minutes to recover before passing. Focus on passing them!
-> Remember to breathe - especially breathe out.
-> Pre-race goals are important also - for any race finishing is a good one, but maybe you should also aim higher like finishing in the top 5, 10, 15...or whatever.
-> The smile factor - If it is not fun and you are not smiling then you should reconsider what you are doing. Competition is always serious, but it should always be fun, otherwise it is work (yuk!). I actually laugh a lot during a race - it's always funny when a SS passes me on my gearie bike...it's also funny when I pass gearies on my SS...have fun and go fast.
 
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