How to get into MTB competition?

Pennoir
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How to get into MTB competition?

Postby Pennoir » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:08 pm

Just trying to figure out how to get into comp, I believe yet another licence is required, as if I am not qualified after riding pushies and motos all my life, on and off road and doing comp on motos as well.
So if I do decide to do comp, what is the process?
Where do I go to find the rules etc and a comp calendar?

Sparx
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby Sparx » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:31 pm

What kind of racing do you want to do? Downhill, XC, Enduro?

Race rules will be on the event website as will entries.

Here is a calendar, probably does not have all events on it though.

http://flowmountainbike.com/calendar/

The licence you require is more about event insurance than being competent on a bike. Most events allow you to purchase a day license or you can join MTBA which allows you to race in MTBA sanctioned events.

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trailgumby
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:40 pm

Where are you based?

As noted above, the license is more to do with insurance than competency.

In NSW there are a few event companies like Rocky Trail Entertainment that host races and your insurance is included in the entry fee. These aren't as cheap as club races, but they are well organised and good fun. I'm doing the Shimano GP series organised by this company, with a few mates. Everything from four to seven hour solo, and relay teams f two or three. So far they've been a blast. Very social. Lots of different categories depending on what sort of challenge you want to undertake.

RTE also do DH and Enduro events.

I'm sure there is similar in other states, and Flow MTB is a good place to look.

Then there is club level racing. Normally much shorter up to two hours and over and done with on a Sunday morning. You can get a day license but the best part is joining the club and getting an instant group of riding buddies for local trails. :D

The other advantage is that they'll grade you with similar ability riders, and the advantage of this is that you won;t be constantly having to move off-track to let faster riders past, which can be a bit of a PITA as it interrupts your flow.

:Let us know where you are and we'll be able to provide more useful advice.

The process is to enter on line, pay your fees, turn up two hours before race start to register, attach race number to handlebars, do a familiarisation lap of the course before the flag drops, then race. Afterwards, socialise over a beer or coffee, then try to contain the stupid grin so people don't wonder about you while you drive home. For club racing you can often register on the morning.

The fitter you can get before the race, the more fun they are.

Does that help?

Pennoir
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby Pennoir » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:09 pm

Yes that helps heaps.
I am on the Central Coast, not too far from the
Ourimbah track which I am getting familiar with, I like Awaba too.
I would probably do xcountry and maybe downhill but at 53 I need to try and be sensible about this and ride to my ability, not my ego.
So to clarify, getting the license is just a matter of paying the fee is it? No test questions or anything?

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trailgumby
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:32 pm

Ah, mate, talk about being spoilt! Ourimbah is one of my favourite trails! :D

In your shoes I'd be joining CCOMTB and doing their regular XC club rounds. Insurance will be included as (the major) part of your annual club fees. You'll get a gold MTBA license with that and be able to race at any club.

We're the same age. I have an over-use knee niggle at the moment from being a bit too aggressive getting back into the weights, but when that settles, hopefully in the next few weeks or so, maybe I should come up for a ride?

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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:39 pm


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Duck!
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby Duck! » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:46 pm

As trailgumby recommends, get in touch with your local MTB club; they'll have info not only on their own events, but many others around the traps too. Also pop into your local bike shop, the event promoters send their event info out to all the shops as well. Most events require a MTBA licence, but there are a few of the privately-promoted events that are not MTBA-sanctioned, so don't require licences, instead incorporating the licence/insurance fee into the event entry. It will be clearly marked in the entry process if a licence is required or not, at some point on the form you will be asked if you require a day licence or if you have a MTBA licence and if so, to provide your licence number (which will also be checked at event registration). A day licence is good if you're just testing the waters, because at $20 it's a lot cheaper than a full annual licence, but it does stack up if you get bitten by the bug & decide to do more events!

Now that's out of the way, there isn't really anything to overcome to get into competition. Find an event you reckon will suit your ability, cough up your entry and away you go, you don't really need anything more than a moderate level of competence. Events are generally graded, either into A, B, C & sometimes D grades, which are self-seeded, or by age groups, Juniors U/20, Open 20-29, Veteran 30-39, Masters 40-49, Grand Masters 50-59 & Super Masters 60+.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

Pennoir
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby Pennoir » Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:24 am

Thanks Duck.
I had a look at the MTBA site, it isnt what I would call a cheap sport really, $120 for a 12 month insurance disguised as a race license and then about $30 race entry fee, Full face helmet needed for downhill $??? A bit of body armour & gloves etc $??? and the cost of a decent bike $2-6K+
It all adds up when I already run 3 motor bikes of different category plus all the gear and fees for them.
I might just ride on a social fitness basis with friends as I do now.

They dont make it easy for newcomers with all the acronyms but I guess you learn that as you get involved.

Gumby - that CCMTB calendar is next to useless with the acronyms and virtually no other info except the event date, they may as well not bother having it there.

From what I gather so far, the MTB season is Summer, is that right?

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trailgumby
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby trailgumby » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:42 pm

Generally racing is held mostly over spring and autumn. Summer temperatures north of 30 degrees make racing difficult and unpleasant, and the Christmas break gets in the way. Some winter events are held, although not as many. For me, end of financial year gets in the way over winter.

Very few of the guys my age I used to hang out with even 5 years ago still do races. They're more into social stuff now. Consequently they've stacked on the kilos and a 20km ride is about their limit.

The data shows that those who continue to race at anything aerobic versus those who merely continue in a social capacity see cardiac declines at a tiny fraction of their non-racing friends as they age. Some even improve. The reason is intensity. Hard to get and stay motivated outside a competitive environment.

I don't intend to go quietly into retirement, I want to be like my cousin who was still racing well and full of life at the age of 73 when he passed away.

So as a result I'm finding most of my off-road riding partners are about 10-20 years my junior these days. Putting them in the hurt box trying to stay on my wheel up a steep climb is very satisfying (although it happens around the other way a bit more often these days). :D

The MTBA membership provides me with specific public liability cover in addition to that available under my home and contents insurance, so the small $100pa spend on insurance premium is well worth it for the peace of mind. That plus lunch money for entry fees once a month seems very reasonable to me.
Last edited by trailgumby on Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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trailgumby
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby trailgumby » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:58 pm

Pennoir wrote:Gumby - that CCMTB calendar is next to useless with the acronyms and virtually no other info except the event date, they may as well not bother having it there.

OK... try reaching out via their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/centralcoastmtb/

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Duck!
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby Duck! » Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:46 pm

Pennoir wrote:Thanks Duck.
I had a look at the MTBA site, it isnt what I would call a cheap sport really, $120 for a 12 month insurance disguised as a race license and then about $30 race entry fee, Full face helmet needed for downhill $??? A bit of body armour & gloves etc $??? and the cost of a decent bike $2-6K+
It all adds up when I already run 3 motor bikes of different category plus all the gear and fees for them.
I might just ride on a social fitness basis with friends as I do now.

They dont make it easy for newcomers with all the acronyms but I guess you learn that as you get involved.

The equipment costs you identify would apply to get started in any particular riding discipline whether you're racing or not; downhill particularly is a comparitively high-risk form of riding, so you'd really need the specific bike, helmet & armour just to go & do casual runs of the local trails. XC is much lower risk, so you don't need as much stuff just to go for a ride, and your normal riding kit will also suffice for a race.

As I stated previously, day licences are good if you're just testing the waters of competition, but if the bug bites & you want to do more, 6 races with a day licence will add up to the cost of an annual full licence. The difference is the full licence will cover you when you're not racing as well as when you are, while the day licence will only cover you for that day.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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trailgumby
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Re: How to get into MTB competition?

Postby trailgumby » Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:59 pm

MTBA also has a free 8-week deal going if you want to test the waters.

Also, if you're into moto I assume that you would already have body armour of some kind: knee/shin, elbow/forearm and torso/spine protector, maybe a Leatt neck brace, plus a full-face helmet.

At this time if year as the temperatures are lower, you could use that. In a pinch, your moto helmet might also suffice since it meets a higher impact standard - depends on how the local club will choose to implement the rules. You may need to buy a full-face bike helmet and you will definitely need an appropriate bike. An XC or Trail mtb will not be up to the task, nor - dare I say it - safe unless you are unusually skilled

Downhill bikes have specialised geometry, burly frames and components to withstand the punishment, and long travel (typically 8 inches / 200mm)..

It tends to be a younger rider's sport. Very few older riders take it up. Our reflexes are slower, and our bones break more easily and take longer to heal.

Good luck with it.

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