Gearing up for your first mountain bike race

You might be a weekend warrior, throwing your Trek down your local trail at the end of a hard week, but as you begin to push yourself it might feel like time to step up to the next level. If you’ve been considering putting your skills to the test in a competitive environment now might be the time to start racing. So, when the season begins, grab the opportunity with both hands.

Getting ready

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It’s important to know the race schedule as soon as possible, to give you time to prepare both mentally and physically. Most biking websites and shops loaded up with men’s and women’s mountain bikes will have all the information on location and registering. Once you’ve registered, it’s time to get prepped.

Pre-race Prep

It’s vital that you get to know the location, the length of the course, categories and direction. If you can, try and ride on the actual trail before the race. Whether only just starting out, or a seasoned pro knowing the track is an integral element of proper preparation.

If you’re not riding in a team, you need to take everything with you you’re going to need on the day. You might have loaded up on all the latest kit or you may be wearing your lucky gear that’s been with you from the start. Either way you’re going to need clothes suited for the weather, helmet, gloves and the right footwear.

Food and liquid are probably the most important thing about a race, so it’s important to follow nutrition advice from reliable sources. You can also find a number of guides to food and energy on the Evans Cycles Blog.

Also make sure you check with the race organisers on all the rules.

Personal Prep

Both you and your bike should be finely tuned machines prior to the race. Whilst your personal fitness may be pretty good from your normal weekend casual riding, it’s important you step it up well before race day with some personal time trials. Ensure you keep trying to improve on your time each time you ride.

You also need to do some prep work off your bike in the form of strength training. Remember to get plenty of sleep and eat right in the days and weeks leading up to the race.

Prepping your bike

You probably can’t help it as the excitement builds anyway, but don’t forget to prep your bike at least two days before the race. You never know what replacement parts you may need. If you do need any, opt for good quality parts or components like Shimano as this will ensue your bike is in top condition for those future races and doesn’t need a tune up for parts every time.

Getting ready to race

On the day of the race, make sure you arrive in good time. This will give you time to familiarise yourself with everything, ensure your bike is in order, warm up adequately and get some remember to make a tactical dash for the loo just before the race!

Evans Cycles is the UK’s largest mountain bike shop, stocking the widest range bikes from leading brands such as Specialized, Trek and Cannondale. Need some cycling advice? Ask our experts on Facebook or watch our How to videos on Youtube.