Getting Ready for Mountain Biking Race!
Upcoming races should be known as early as possible. This will help you ready the necessary papers (if any) or simply give you more time to prepare physically and mentally. Most biking websites as well as local bike shops have list of race events open for beginners and experts. Get a hold of entry or registration forms early. Pre-register to avoid long lines on race day.
Know the location, length of the course, date and time, categories, and direction of the race. It is better if you can ride on the actual trail before the race day to familiarize the track and learn the terrain.
If you are riding alone, make sure that you pack everything you need including a tool kit, tire repair kit, clothes suited for the weather, helmet, gloves, shoes, food and liquid. If you are riding in a team, check with the race organizers the rules. Can you munch powerbars during the race? Can you borrow tools or extra inner tube from your teammates? Can you get water-bottle from your pit crew as you turn a lap? These things are important to know beforehand to properly prepare and strategize how to race.
While you may not aim to finish first in the race, physical preparation is still a must. Make sure that you have been doing some personal time trial on your chosen course weeks before the actual race instead of the usual casual riding. Try to improve your time on every ride. Strengthen your legs more by doing leg exercises like squat. Eat properly and get enough rest and sleep.
Note: Any type of mountain bike race can be very competitive. If this is your first time to race, try not to push yourself too hard. You may need not aim to finish the race first. There is more to racing than winning, so enjoy the view and at the same time, improve your personal best.
Check your bike at least 2 days before the race day. This will give you time to go to shops and buy replacement parts if necessary. The last thing you want is to find an open shop at 11pm or change inner tube minutes before the race starts.
On Site Preparation
Arrive early; at least one hour before the start of the race. This will allow you to get a good parking spot, time to rest, relax and loosen up, and handle any registration complications. Practice a pre-race ritual by polishing your bike with a rug. This will give you time to mentally prepare and do a final check on your bike.
Warm up (but not get tired) by taking a lap around the course. If the weather is bad, consider bringing a roller or a trainer. Stretch your muscles.
Eat foods rich in carbohydrates, protein and fats before the race. Drink plenty of water. Go if you need to. Nothing could be worse than having to go in the middle of the race.
When the gun goes off or when the gate drops, pedal fast!
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