As you get into mountain biking, it is inevitable that, sooner or later, you will engage in your first tour or race. From experience, we have found that people who mountain bike for pleasure rather than competitively, get between two or three days a week to train with their bikes. This is very different from the training of elite cyclists who take to the saddle every single day to prepare for a professional competition with specific training, special diets and special bicycles prepared for such training.
Participating in your first race? Here’s how to prepare:
Experienced runners have a specific training program for each competition which ends right at the time the race begins. As weekend warriors, you do not need specific training for any competition, but neither should you forget that you must plan at least a couple of things in the week before our first race so as to ensure that your legs will not fail.
You must avoid making the first race a tragedy. With that, here are some tips that will help you enjoy your first competition and pass really well. The week before your first race or competition:
- Break your legs 7 days before the race. A week before the competition, take a trip using the bike, for as long and hard as possible. The idea is to do an intense workout, the kind that will make your legs sore during the next few days. This is to test your fitness and apply a little more force over your legs. When performing very intense exercise, muscle fibers and fabrics are broken, then regenerated again resulting in larger fibers and fabrics which are more resilient.
- For the sole purpose of recovering the muscle tissues of your legs and prevent them from slacking at your race, make a couple of outings during the week prior to the competition to stretch them out a bit. That way, you’ll arrive at the event with fresh legs.
- Sleep, sleep more and then sleep some more. In the days before your first competition, the best thing is to make sleep possible. Our body regenerates and recovers better during sleep, and it is vital so as to ensure that your legs are fully recovered for the race. Have your 8-hour sleep every night and, if possible, take an occasional nap during the day.
- Hydration and nutrition, the key to success. During the week before your first competition, hydrate properly and eat lots of protein and carbohydrates. The benefits of good nutrition take time, and you must begin to consume more protein and carbohydrates for at least seven or eight days before the race. The night before the competition, it is most effective to eat a good plate of pasta or boiled rice with grilled chicken, along with plenty of water. You must also ensure a good breakfast in the morning and maintain hydration of the body at the highest level possible. You have to stay 100% hydrated in the starting line, as during the race, your body will consume all the liquid, replacing the same through sweating. If the race is long, you must use protein bars, isotonic recovery drinks, energy gels and fruit juices. A choice depending on your own preferences.
- Adjust your bike to the detail. It can be a real frustration not to finish the race and compete with some minor technical problem. Check the operation of the changes, brakes and suspension, and make the necessary adjustments. Special mention to the tyres, which you must thoroughly check and inflate to the pressure that you consider most suitable. It is worth to take this opportunity to mount some new tyres and tubes lighter, for example. Another highly recommended option is to opt for the brand new bike, one which is lighter and prepared, if possible.
- Find friends who will also compete. One of the most fun ways to enjoy your first competition is to be accompanied by one or more friends who are also into racing. It is always better to have people close to you, than being with strangers who will make you want to leave behind as soon as possible. It is clear that a competitive race permits the air around to have people help you perform better and better than doing it alone. Of course, the jokes, the laughter, the faces of suffering and anger, the trips or falls, will be forever in the memory of each and every one of the friends who will compete in the same race.
- During the race, have concentration and inner peace. Upon passing the starting line, you can only enjoy the experience and try to finish the race in the best shape possible. Avoid the rush of adrenalin from the start, when all runners started at the top. You also need to avoid keeping ahead of the race runners, and the even more experienced professionals who are pushing hard. You must find your own pace. Listen to your body and maintain, more or less, a stable intensity. You might be surprised at the end seeing that you have advanced many of those runners who came like a bullet at the beginning of the race. By keeping concentration, you will successfully finish first in the race.
So that’s it, that’s how you get ready for your first mountain bike race. If you need any advice, we’re always here to advise you on the best products and equipment, that will serve you most efficiently on your ride. Get in touch with us or visit us in-store, and let’s chat!