I'll add that you can also look at racing as a social event. Regardless of where you place, everyone shows up a bit nervous but leave happy to participate and mix it up with fellow mtbers. If you stay with racing, you end up meeting folks and becoming friendly with a lot of peeps, plus you learn a lot about mtbing in a relatively short time.
Cat 3 is learning laps. If you haven't raced, thats where you belong. I don't mean that as an insult. Keep your eyes open and pay attention. You will learn a lot and most importantly how to race safely. Then bring your experience to the Cat 2 races. Patience and knowing yourself is a big part of racing. Enjoy the experience.
Ok, now go out and do 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 30 pullups, 100 box jumps, 5 minutes of planks.. then jump on your bike, find the nearest steep 3 minute hill and do 10 hill repeats as hard as you can.
Ride back to your car, light you bike on fire.. go to the gym, do 5 pyramid sets of deadlifts and squats. Finish with 5 sets of 25 burpies
Then jump on the spin bike and light spin it out for 30 minutes. Do that every other day until you realize how stupid it is and how much time you could’ve been spending ripping through the woods.
Buy a new bike and ride the fuck out of it and try to have as much fun as possible
Ive only done a handful of races, so here's my short list of advice.
1- If you have a pre-ride routine, stick to it. Dont try anything new the morning of.
B- if the folks you currently ride with arent racers, and you think you roll at a pretty good pace, well, lets just say to go into your first event with an open mind, use it as a learning experience, and have fun.
No seriously, make yourself well known behind someone... most people will allow you to pass if you’re riding up their ass. Mayhem has plenty of areas to pass. You may get that one occasional dick who isnt even in your class that is holding everyone up and either won’t communicate and straight block your pass - for those people - Do the needful.