Your First Race


JORBA: Ringwood
Some Quick Tips for Your First Race! From Pro Racer, Tonya Bray.

Usually Beginner races are short enough that you won't need to eat during the race. If you know the race is going to be over one hour, you might want to have a couple of gels in your pocket (always drink water right after eating a gel!) Gels are super concentrated and need water to help you digest them.

Try to use a sports drink - something with a few calories to keep you hydrated and to keep your minerals up. Drink every chance you get. Do not wait until you are thirsty! If you become thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Drink water before the race to ensure you are hydrated- also 2 days before the race try to not get dehydrated! (Drinking too much water alone can led to hyponatremia, which is caused by overdiluted blood, meaning you don't have enough sodium un your body- so drink Gatorade or a similar drink as well as water!)

Carry some tools and flat repair kit (spare tube/levers/air). Know how to use them... Learn today about how to change a flat!

Eat 2-3 hours before the race if possible. The rule of thumb is 200 calories per hour before the race you eat. in other words, if you eat 2 hours before the race, eat 400 calories. A small amount of protein and some carbs. low in fat if possible. (often i eat a bagel with cream cheese or chicken and rice or stir fried rice with fresh tuna).

Beware the fight or flight syndrome... you will have to go to the bathroom about 100 times before the race. this is normal. even for pros!

Warm-up. Take 20-30 minutes to get warm. Use your time to preride the course as a warm-up. Or ride around, do a couple of sprints to get your heart rate up, and then spin around to keep your muscles warm.

Race strategy. Don't start out too hard so that you bonk- or lose all your energy right away. better to follow someone and try to hold on to their wheel if possible. What i like to do in smaller races is tag on to the fastest person- unless i know i can beat them. then i just take off. But don't pace yourself too much! You should be working pretty hard! mtb racing is hard!
It is common to have this thought during a race: "what am i doing here? i should just drop out. this hurts too much" ignore that thought. it is part of mtb racing!!!

Have fun- laugh at yourself when you make mistakes- it's not a life or death situation!!

Cool down, stretch and recover after your race. Be sure to get a recovery drink or food in right away to replenish all the lost nutrients, etc! Follow with a massage, too!

Mountain bike racing is really an experiential learning situation, and the learning really never ceases. Most of all, it's fun, so just do it and have some fun!
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