Mic’s First XC Mountain Bike Race

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Well, my first ever mountain bike race is officially in the books, and with that, a great deal of what made me nervous in the days and weeks leading up to it, are now behind me.

Hopefully, for anyone even remotely thinking about XC (cross country) mountain bike racing (and you should be, it’s a blast), I hope this will help you feel a little bit more inclined to try it out after reading this, if you are at all like I am, and just nervous to give it a go do to the uncertainties.

One of the biggest uncertainties I had, was how the events are even run. In fact, trying to even find information regarding any of the Washington series was difficult. It took me a while before I found them, and I’m not even sure if I’ve found them all.

For this, I’m going to focus on BuDu Racing’s “Singletrack Cycles West Side Mountain Bike Series”, a mass start XC format race.

Here is a quick rundown of information about BuDu events.

BuDu Racing – Singletrack Cycles West Side Mountain Bike Series : XC
URL – http://www.buduracing.com
Events – 8
Cost – $28 ($17 for under 18)
Registration – Online and Day Of

Categories: (You can skip this if you understand Categories, the only thing to note is MTB Racing uses a 3 category system as opposed to 4 and 5 of other deciplines)

BuDu hosts a self seeding, non governing body sanctioned racing series. You do not need a USA Cycling race license, or any other governing bodies race license. You show up, you fill out your waiver, pay your fee, and you prepare to race.

Racing categories are broken up into age groups. The following categories are:

Cat 3 (Beginner) – Relatively or completely new to mtb racing. This is where you most likely want to start, as it will give you an idea of your own fitness level, as well as help prepare you for what to expect overall.

Cat 2 (Sport/Intermediate) – If you have raced before, or are familiar with XC format, this might be where you want to start. Cat 2 grids will be quicker, as well as have additional laps over Cat 3.

Cat 1 (Expert) – If you’ve raced, and you know you’ll be bored in a Cat 2 race, and are confident you won’t get lapped with the additional laps over the Cat 2 race, then there will be where you are. I am also pretty sure you are bored with reading this already ☺

BuDu events are Family Friendly, in that they will allow pretty much anyone on the course who knows how to ride a bike.

Age Categories are broken up into the following:
12 and Under
13-18
19-29
30-39
40-49
50+

Age groups reflect your age as of December 31st of the current year, meaning that if you are currently 29, but your birthday is in November, you would race the 30-39 age group within your category.

Arrival
You should focus on trying to arrive early enough to give yourself plenty of time to register (if you have not pre-registered), affix your number to the front of your bike on the handlebars, and pre-ride the course if you can. Look at giving yourself a good solid 40 minutes to pre-ride the course. For Cat 3 racers, this means you need to be in line for register when registration opens (and hope to be in the front!) and having enough time to get back in order to prepare for your race.

This also gives you time to go over your bike one last time before the race start, as well as prepare yourself and your gear (such as your camelbak if you are wearing one), and make sure you have enough hydration and food for your race.

Pre-Ride and what to expect
Pre-riding the course will allow you to take mental notes of obstacles, area’s you feel you will possibly struggle, and area’s you know you will excel, allowing you to better strategize and ride comfortably during your race and prevent injuring yourself.

Pre-riding is obviously completely optional, but for some, such as myself, I find it to be relaxing to be able to see the course prior to racing (I pre-ride the course once or twice before a CX race).

XC race courses are made up of single track (1 bike width) and double track (2 or more bike widths with climbing, and descending, fast sections, slow sections, mud, loose dirt, roots, rocks and trees.

Race Start
Race starts are mass starts based on age group within your category.

Show up to the starting line about 10 minutes prior to a start to get situated, and in place, and be able to listen to any instructions that the race starter gives. This is when you will be notified of any last minute changes in the race course or schedule.

Age groups are called up to start a race as waves, you will line up with your age group (in rows) and the starter will count down, and your race will begin.

The Race
You’re racing! Pedal Pedal Pedal!

The Finish
You finished! You can collapse now!

Stick Around
BuDu does their awards ceremonies after the race has fully completed and results are posted. You can look up your results once they are posted and know how you did.

Plan for the next race
Now I know you will be hooked, so I expect to see you at the next race ☺ Hope this little write-up encourages some of you to come out and race! It really is extremely exciting, and you’re on a mountain bike, so how could it not be?

Michael McLane