It’s your first mountain bike race!  Here’s a quick guide to help you know what to expect when you arrive to the race, having a proper warm-up, overcome some of those pre-race nerves, and get to the starting line feeling excited and ready for the challenge!


Race Day:



Step 1: Arrive Early

On the day of the race, be sure to arrive early (90min – 2 hrs is good!) so you have time to check in, get your number, bike in order, and have time to warm up. Giving yourself plenty of time will help alleviate some of the anxiety you may be feeling already!


Step 2: Go to the Registration Tent

First thing when you arrive is to get checked in or registered.  Head over to the registration tent with a photo ID or racing licence.  This is where you’ll get your race number (to be fastened to the front of your handle bars) and find out any changes to the schedule or course.


Step 3: Get kitted up and ready to ride!

After you have your race number, put your cycling kit on (if you haven’t already), fill your water bottles or hydration pack and put the race food you’ll want into your pockets.

jennifer xterra course

Step 4: Start your Pre-Race Warm Up

One question people always ask is, “Will this warm-up use up all of my energy before the race?” The answer is, “No!”  Think of any other ride you would do and how long it usually takes you to ‘feel’ warmed up and less out of breath.  For many people this is about 30+ minutes.  In a race you are pushing past your physical limitations – so your warm-up should include riding around at an easy to moderate pace with some harder efforts mixed in.


Here’s an example warm-up you can us:


Coach Melissa’s Warm-Up Routine:

Start your warm-up 60 min before your race.

Spin easy for 10 minutes to get the legs moving. (If you can ride on the course a little, do this so you can also make sure you have good tire pressure.)

Then do:
3 x 5 min ON @ a moderately hard effort (7/10 for perceived effort), 5 min OFF (easy spin) between each effort.
Spin for 5 min easy.
Then do 2× 10 second sprints with 30 seconds rest between efforts.

Spin easy for a few minutes,  use the bathroom, adjust your tire pressure as needed, then roll over to the start.


Step 5: Roll to the Start Line with a Smile!!

Most people have pre-race jitters which is normal! Just remember to breathe, relax that upper body (shake your arms out!) and have fun!  Many of the riders surrounding you are feeling the exact same way so don’t be afraid to smile and say hello.  You’ll be amazed at the camaraderie you’ll find at a mountain bike event!

Fist pumps or high fives are appropriate to give out to your competitors before the start of the race!
Fist pumps and high fives are appropriate to give out to your competitors before the start of the race!

Good luck and enjoy the ride!


About Melissa Ross:

melissaMelissa Ross is Co-Founder and Cycling Coach of Potential Energy Training and Nutrition. Melissa’s 12+years in the sport as an athlete and 6+ years as a coach has taken her all over the world from touring Italy, racing across Europe and the US as a professional road cyclist, to becoming a pro mountain biker, exploring the trails across Arizona and even recently finishing 13th in the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa and making the podium 2 years in a row in the Leadville Trail 100! Currently Melissa is expecting her first child in September so can be found taking casual rides and hiking with her 2 border collies. Melissa has an incredible desire to help other people reach their full potential and bring the passion of having a healthy lifestyle into their lives.


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Are you registered or thinking about riding in the upcoming Beti Bike Bash in Castle Rock, CO on June 19th?


We have created an easy to follow 4-week plan just for you – to help you prepare for this amazing event!

Learn More about the Beti Bike Bash Training Plan  HERE!


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5 Race Day Steps to Conquering Your 1st Mountain Bike Race