Mountain Biking

The Mpora Guide to Mountain Bike Racing (For First Timers)

10 Mistakes That Every Racer Makes When They're Starting Out

4) Don’t forget to fix your bike

Racing takes a heavy toll on bike and body. While the body is usually easy to repair, bikes are fickle mistresses that require near-constant attention.

Not everyone can afford a world cup style pit setup like this, but giving your bike a bit of TLC will go a long way to helping you race. Photo: Laurence Crossman-Ems

You will never have enough time before practice or race runs to fix your bike, no matter how inconsequential the repair is.

Most race rules state you must have a bike in full working order before racing, but a cataclysmic bike failure can often be hard to spot by the naked eye.

Also, one man’s ‘fixed’ bike is another man’s scrap heap. Arriving with a bike in need of repair will seriously impair your ability to fully satisfy #5.

5) Learn to deal with nervous poos

You never know when you’ll need to go!

This phenomenon is not exclusive to first time race goers, in fact even the best can suffer this awful feeling despite not actually feeling nervous.

The nervous poo is something that is much harder to deal with than a nervous pee, and usually strikes where no suitable facilities are available, normally at the top of the hill, miles away from the nearest portaloo.

“The nervous poo defies physics and simple biology.”

Find solace and cameraderie in the fact that almost everyone else present will be in the exact same situation.

Do not make the mistake of assuming that because you have had one or two nervous poos that the trauma is over. The nervous poo defies physics and simple biology.

Tank empty? Running on fumes? Irrespective of whether or not you think you’re done, the nervous poo will rear its ugly head as many times as it sees fit.

6) Don’t hold up faster riders

If you’re lucky enough to be practising on the same course as people like Troy Brosnan, don’t be a bellend, let them through!

During practice, everyone is in the mix together. In the same queue as the entire Elite field for the next uplift truck at a DH race? Arrived before the pros at the top of the next enduro stage?

Don’t mindlessly ride off down the hill with Mr. Rainbow Stripes still putting his goggles on.

“Steve Peat passed me with his wheels at about my eye level.”

Yes, practice is for everyone, but use your head and ask if they want in front before you set off.

Most fast boys will be able to overtake you without you ever knowing they were coming, Steve Peat did this to me at the Rheola NPS downhill in 2005, passing me with his wheels at about my eye level.

That was practice though. Don’t do what I did and prevent someone from winning by feeling incapable of moving over to let a faster rider past. I wouldn’t advise crashing to let someone through either, you may simply make them crash as well.


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