Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to start racing XC...

I posted looking for races in the Northeast. I know where to race now...

but now I wonder...just how do you begin?

I understand that one should just show up, pay there entry fee and race a beginner race. But...I don't know if I'm a true beginner. I used to race road bikes years ago. I train with roadies all the time. I'm comfortable on trails and technical issues of trail riding. I am comfortable with mass starts. I know how to draft and sit on someone...along with sprinting and such. I know how to craft race strategies....and I raced at a sponsored pro level in snowboarding and skateboarding until recently. While I've never "raced" in a proper race on a XC bike it's been suggested to me today (by a few ex-NORBA racers and XC racers I work with) that maybe I should skip the "beginner class" completely and move into sport. Personally I'd much rather have it handed to me in the sport class than do well in a beginner class against people just out for a fun ride on department store bikes (or the like).

So I guess my question is this. How competitive is your average beginner class at your average race? What is the sport class normally like? Can I just enter a sport class without a license? Can I just enter the sport class without ever actually properly racing before? Ultimately (by the summer) I would like to be racing in the sport class. I'm just wondering if I should start there.

Also are there any links anyone can offer here for your beginner racer? I've lurked her for a while and have learned alot, which is what got me to think about racing anyway. It's a good use of all the time I spend on building my bikes, training and the like.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
I would say go sport, as far as a licsense goes it varies from race to race. Most beg races are like 8 to 12 mile and spt like 16 to 26 some longer both classes will go hard out of the gate but beg is so short you may not even get in a good groove.
 

·
mutaullyassuredsuffering
Joined
·
2,053 Posts
Sport

You can buy a one-day license for sport.

I have been athletic my whole life in non-compeditive outdoor sports. After riding MTB for a summer I decided to try out racing. There are alot of people who say to do a couple races as a beginner to find out where you belong. After reading a million beginner or sport posts, I decided beginner was the way to go.

I won my first race by over 30 minutes and upgraded the next day. I'm not that fast, but the competition was just more of a recreational group. I had been training for a couple months, and just did very well.

After placing very well in two more small sport races our regional series started up. The first race at that level was a rude awakening. I got my butt kicked and realized it was time to train on the hills a bit more. I would have finished last if I didn't DNF. That was the learning experience I needed. If I had raced beginner I could of won, or gotten beat by a guy who would be an expert by the end of the season. Either result would have taught me nothing. Either I would be overconfident and gotten beat the next race, or I would have decided I sucked and stayed in beginner for the year. Instead I started training smarter and won one race, ended up on the podium a few more times, and finshed on the podium overall.

The beginner races that me and my buddies participated in had very few racers who do a whole season at that level. It's usually people who race once or twice and never again, or people who race for the first time and would be compeditive at a sport race. You could go out there and get killed by someone who will upgrade to sport and then expert within a month, or just destroy folks who have never trained a bit before. I don't really think the results tell you a whole lot aboput your level unless you can compare your times to the other sport riders. Unfortunately the distance is usually different so that isn't possible.

Especially since you ride with roadies, I think you would be fine at Sport. Just get it over with. If it's a series you are wanting to ride in, you will also waste points on the first race because you can't transfer beginner results.
 

·
vegan cyclocross disco
Joined
·
282 Posts
Unlike cat 5 road racing, mt bike beginner races are actually beginners. Yes, there's still the sand baggers and guys that need to move up. But the majority of the racers are just beginners looking to have fun, which is awesome.

Definitely just start in Sport.

If you win a race and podium on a few others, then move up to expert.

Good luck and no matter what remember to always have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
With your experience I'd say sport is the way to go. The race series I do in the spring, I enter as sport and get my butt kicked, but the way I look at it is if I'm going to drive that far for a race, and pay money, I want to get some miles in. Some of the beginner races were only 6 - 10 miles, whereas the sport races were 12 - 18 miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
you can often find finish times on-line for the various classes from the previous year of a race, have a look at the times/avg. speeds. Then, set up a "race-sim" at your local trails of the same distance and check your times.

I'd suggest making a test-course of a mid-technical variety with some long climbs, most XC races are like this.

Usually the flyer (or feedback on the net) will give an indication of it's toughness.

There is a good chapter in Ned Overend's book about MTB race strategy, you can usually find it on the shelf at Borders. "Serious Mt. Biking" from human kinetics is also good IMO.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top