Ask MBAction: Racing Tips
SoCal rider working on her bike handling skills at a GRiT (Girls Riding Together) Gathering. Photo by Nikki Peterson
I’ve been riding for a few years now and want to test my skills in a cross-country race. I’ve found a local race series that I’d like to try, but it would be my very first attempt lining up on a start line. Are there any tips you could give a beginning racer like me?
Orange County, California
We’re stoked you caught the bug for racing, and the fact that you dialed in on the category of racing you want to pursue is a great first step. Cross-country racing requires fitness, skill and technique. If you want to take your racing season seriously, start by riding as much as you can now. Since you’re new to racing, there’s no need to go overboard on interval training or anything like that. Just get out, ride, push your heart rate and have fun. If possible, ride with groups and get comfortable being close to other riders. Leaving the start gate is probably the most dangerous part of the race, so it’s best to get comfortable being side by side with other riders before race day.
Kate’s Post Ride Goodies (TAQUERIA LOS PERICOS): Make sure to refuel after racing and workouts with plenty of delicious proteins. Kate Courtney is a professional mountain bike racer for the Scott-SRAM MTB Racing Team. Kate is the 2019 Elite XCO World Cup Overall Champion, the current Pan American Champion and the 2018 Elite XCO World Champion. katecourtney.com
On race day, make sure you eat a meal that fuels you (everyone is different) and give yourself enough time to warm up and get in the moment. You can save time by getting your race number on your bike and jersey the night before if possible. Think about how you plan to fuel your body throughout the race. You will want to carry quick-energy foods such as Gu packets that are quick and easy to eat. It’s also of the utmost importance to stay hydrated, but most of all, make sure to have fun. That’s really what it’s all about.
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