Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

12 tips for your first MTB race

Posted by Jez | September 29, 2009 | 4 comments so far

Well it must be autumn, as it’s time for Dusk Till Dawn, the last big endurance event of the race calendar, consisting of 12 hours of Norfolk night riding. But for us Moles it’s only our first race of the season. In fact, it will be the first race that many of us have ever done which marks a new step in our riding.

So we are now talking up kit lists and talking down training in our final preparations. I am not an experienced racer by any means, just someone who has been a couple of times before, so here are a few things you might want to remember if, like many of us Moles, it’s also your first race.

  1. Most people are there for a giggle. If you have never raced before then I expect you’ll be in this large demographic. Marvel at the speed of seasoned racers and just ride your own race. If you can’t get on the podium then just aim for bragging rights down the pub. Team riding in a relay is great as you get to ride both for and against your mates.
  2. Don’t worry about fast people passing you. It’s a real mish mash of speed and anyone racing seriously has to expect this. You will normally hear a word from behind letting you know someone wants to pass. If you can move over a bit safely then by all means but don’t ride off into a hedge just cos someone bellows from behind. If they are quick and skilled they will find a way past without you needing to veer wildly off course.
  3. Carry a pump, tube, etc as if you do have a mechanical and can’t fix it then you will have to push/carry your bike all the way around to the finish.
  4. Consider ditching the Camelbak. You don’t need to be lugging around 3 litres of water and all the rubbish that lurks in its dark depths. If you’re doing one lap at a time then empty it right down or just take pump, multitool, tube and a water bottle on the bike.
  5. Take lots of cycling clothes. In fact, take ALL your cycling clothes. Doing it in a team means you will be cycling for an hour or so and then resting, eating burgers, whatever for a couple of hours and you will get cold quickly and want fresh clothes. A woolly hat + big jumper are recommended.
  6. They will have a burger van but nothing fancy so take plenty of food unless you plan to survive on bacon rolls with extra onions. I expect Torq will be there offering all sorts of go-go juice. Try it out if you want but make sure you have lots of ‘comfort’ food too that you will want to eat in the dark hours.
  7. Take ear plugs if you want to kip during/after the event as there will be lots of generators about (including ours – sorry).
  8. There will probably be a bike tent selling a few bits like brake pads but not a lot so take spares if your pads are old/unusual.
  9. Lumicycle are normally there with a light charging tent. You just hand over your charger + battery and they give you a ticket so you just go back and collect it whenever you want. Thanks guys, you really help make these events possible.
  10. It’s not a proper campsite. It’s a clearing in the forest. So there is no running water, no showers, no bike wash. Take all the water you need. It will have some plastic chemical loos but take bog roll. Especially if you overdo the carb drinks.
  11. Whoever does the first lap might do a slow time if they are a mere mortal and not out at the front. It just needs one person to fall off on the first lap and it quickly backs up like the M25.
  12. If you see someone in a Muddymoles t-shirt looking like they’re on their last legs then give him a cheery wave and lie about how far it is to the finish line. Thanks.

And finally. Don’t bother muttering in a dark place in your head that you will never enter one of these damn things again. Twelve months and some keen mates and you’ll be on the start line again…

Good luck everyone!

Filed under Tips in September 2009


About the author

I've been riding around in circles for quite some time now but only regularly in last few years since meeting the moles. Wannabe endurance racer but too lazy to train. And compete. I'll just stick to the circles. I can do circles.

There are 4 comments on ‘12 tips for your first MTB race’

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  1. Jem says:

    Reading your tips Jez has just made me realize that this is upon us, NOW……, Sh..t….., AAAhhh….., Yippee!!

    Realization, Anticipation, Excitement, not sure what order. Brilliant we’re really doing it, can’t wait!

    See you all Saturday.

  2. DaveW says:

    Good luck at Dusk Till Dawn!

    (Bordon Enduro next on November the 1st?)

  3. Muddymoles says:

    Dusk til Dawn (D2D) 2010 is on the way

    Time to turn our thoughts to the 2010 Marin Dusk til Dawn (D2D), with a list of this year’s riders and a look back to last years event.

  4. Related: Dusk til Dawn (D2D) 2010 is on the way | Mutterings, Lifestyle | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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