How To Prepare For Your First Mountain Bike Race

How To Prepare For Your First Mountain Bike Race


(intense music)
(bike tires riding on dirt) – I’ve probably done my fair share of mountain bike races
in the last 20 years. I’ve made a lot of
mistakes, that’s for sure but I’m gonna give you some tips on how to approach your first race. (upbeat jazzy music) So first thing to do really, is try and prepare physically so try and identify the demands of that race and maybe this might inform you into the type of race you do, if this is your first ever event. For a fitter rider then maybe think about heading out and
do a cross country race. Maybe your skills are really good but maybe you’re quite so fit, then maybe go for downhill. So try and identify these
demands as early as possible. Try and get as fit as you can, try and ride as much as you can, that is gonna make your life easier but probably gonna make your
first race more fun as well. (upbeat jazzy music) What about the mental approach to racing? Often people come apart at the seams when it comes to race time and time to go. How do you try and stop this? Well everyone gets nervous, people try and prove something to
their mates or whatever but just relax and ride like you know how. It will disappear with a bit of practice but you’ll also know how to
recognize it and deal with it. Maybe try to recreate the race situation. Maybe time it if you’re racing downhill and try and put a bit
of pressure on yourself. I know loads of people who are super fast on Strava or at a race where you can do as many runs as you want, but many of them can’t back it up if you only have one go and the pressure is on,
so try and practice this. (upbeat jazzy music) Now it’s time to enter the race, which is pretty easy to do nowadays. Get online, look on
Facebook, look on websites. There’s loads of information out there. Find a race you know you can compete in, so maybe don’t go for an
epic 400 kilometer challenge if you’re new to riding. In the UK there’s a good range of races catering for the top pros who want to race downhill, cross
country or marathon but there’s also grassroots cross country, downhill and enduro racing. You might need to travel
to the bigger events like the Enduro World Series or world cups but you’ll need to qualify for these first by racing locally and nationally. Do your research online and
speaking to riding mates. You can learn a lot from
riders with experience but don’t take it all for gospel. Some people love to tell a war
story from a dramatic race, like how they were t-boned off a cliff and the mega avalanche. At a lot of races for every super serious racer head that’s there, there’s another person who’s
there just for the experience and won’t risk life and
limb to beat everyone. Even check out YouTube for
previous head cams of the race to learn about it. Right, now you know the
event, you know what to expect and you’re working towards getting ready mentally and physically, time to make sure you have the right equipment
and your bike is up to it. Again, read the race website. There should be a list of
compulsory and recommended kit. For example, downhill races
often make full face helmets, back protectors, gloves
and knee pads compulsory or maybe just recommend some of it. Same with enduro, some
series have full face helmets as a must. Don’t forget to take spares for your bike. (upbeat jazzy music) So I like to make sure prepared at races and take spare everything, really. I take my full kit bag. You never if maybe
practice is gonna be wet so you get through loads of that. I’m at an enduro race so
I’ve got a couple of options. Got my bumbag, a Camelback
and I’ve got my bigger one. That’s the one with the back
protector, that’s the Kudu. I’m taking that one today
because I’m also taking, I’m taking spares so a spare tube. I’ve got some bars and gels in there. I’ve got some water, I’ve
also got a bottle on my bike but it’s a super hot day today so I’ve probably got
like two liters of water. I’ve also got my mini camera. If you can take a mechanic with you to help you out, fix your bike. And then spares, I’ve got
things that I might need. You know, you never know
if there’s gonna be a shop near the race where you
might pick up extra bits so I’ve got a chain, got
some tubular sealant, got a couple of tubes. Things like lubes, spare break pads and all the tools to look after my bike so pumps, shot pump. First aid kit, never know
when you might need that and spare tires. (upbeat jazzy music) Try and make sure your bike
is prepared before the race. There’s nothing more frustrating
than spending your money on entries, fuel, accommodation and food and then your bike letting you down so I really check this bike
over before I came here. It’s race day today and I
did some practice yesterday, I rode four of the stages, so again, I checked the bike over afterwards. I actually had a couple
of loose bolts on it. And it’s good to do that
after that practice. Don’t do it the morning of the race because you might find something wrong and then it’s too late so try
and keep on top of your bike. Check the most common things, really, like, you know, your tires,
check the side walls. Check the chain, lube it
up, and you’re ready to go. (upbeat jazzy music) Time to fuel up and prepare for the race. If you’re doing an endurance race then you need to carry
some food so just make sure you plan this ahead and even practice what food you’re gonna
take, just to make sure it doesn’t disagree with your stomach. So there you go guys,
there’s a few tips on how to do your first race. Don’t be too nervous, everyone’s
got to start somewhere and we all mess it up, so get entered and hopefully have some fun. If you want to see the video of me racing the Ard Rock Enduro, click
to the left of the screen for that one and for an older one, me racing the Andes Pacifico
in Chile a couple years ago, click to the right. Don’t forget to give us a thumbs up if you love racing mountain bikes.