TIPS FOR NOVICE CLASS RIDERS
1. pre-riding the course. it
enables you to pace yourself properly
on the first lap as well as suss out the obstacles etc.
2. getting your bike prepped up early. don't leave it to the day
to find out your spare tube is kaput. (i did - thanks to the LBS
guys to sort me out with a spare) also having a second tyre set
would have been useful - my Panaracers were a bit sluggish in the
3. keep out of trouble at the start. don't go off in the crush and
risk a spill/DNF. it's better to catch and pass the guys on lap 3
- much more satisfying!
* some things we discovered in addition to the useful posts:
1. talk to other riders before the race about the course - but
don't let them wind you up about "12 ft drop-offs with broken
bottles and hungry wolves at the bottom". pre-ride the thing. make
your decisions about which bits to ride, and which bits to run,
stick to them.
2. don't be freaked out by the tricknology on show. ultimately,
it's not the bike's name that gets the good spot on the results
sheet, it's the rider's. we saw loadsa bikes much better than ours
in the fun race, and we got beaten by guys on lesser steeds than
ours in our own! and good for them!
3. if you're coming up to a single-rider technical section, and
you've got slower riders to pass, either pass them early or hang
off. there were a couple of accidents where faster guys were
brought down by accidents to slower riders in front because they'd
not left enough air for emergencies. also the slower riders would
spill because of the faster guy being too close!
4. don't take unnecessary risks in the last lap and ruin all your
5. camelbaks not bottles
6. this course was about ten big climbs and descents with three
wooded technical sections. we thought the best plan was climb in
the granny and use the rear cassette to find your best speed - not
try to middle-ring everything and blow up. plus, if you've got a
bit in reserve, you can power over the top of the hill, crank up
your big ring "widowmaker" and get away fast. we noticed that
people take breathers at the tops of hills and lose the advantage
they had from middle-ringing it!
7. ask people pushing their bikes up hills to let you have the
best line if you're still riding - they usually will
All-in-all we had a great time - racing really is the thing to put
some variety into your rides, sharpen up your reflexes, test your
real fitness level. i wouldn't do it every week, but then i
wouldn't ride the same singletrack every week either!