Having done a few triathlons, I wanted to try my hand at a bike race. It seemed like a logical thing to do, but when I started searching google, I had no idea where to start. It was like I needed the secret word to search for, and I had no idea what it was!
On a group ride a few weeks later, I asked a guy that looked like he was serious. He gave me a single word response: “Bikereg.” And that was all I needed. Browsing through the thousands of races that site, I picked a race that looked simple enough. It was within an hour of my house, pretty flat (what I was used to in triathlons) and had a few hills. Perfect! I loved climbing.
The race was great. And luckily, I stumbled onto a course that suited me well. Relatively flat with a few rolling hills and not too many tight turns (which I was NOT good at). I dropped my chain in a decisive moment though and learned the hard way about making sure your equipment is ready to go!
When doing your either your first race or your first of a certain kind (longer, or maybe an ultra-distance race), it is importantly to pick the right one. Clearly that starts with what you want to do, and let’s say that’s a mountain bike race and you are coming off the couch to do it (meaning you have no fitness). You are going to want to find a race that is shorter, and as flat and smooth as possible. Sure, everyone wants to do an epic race, but biting off more than you can chew is never smart for your first attempt at endurance racing.
Given your fitness level, assessing your strengths will be challenging since you likely don’t have any yet; but you will! For a more seasoned rider looking to step up and do a more difficult race than they have previously, consider what you enjoy about riding and where you excel. Maybe you like climbing, or do well in steady/long efforts. Perhaps technical terrain is super fun for you and keeps you interested! Focus on those as the prominent features of whatever race you choose. When doing a new type of race, or your first race, giving yourself every chance of having fun and doing well is smart.
Another factor to consider is who will be there. Can you go with any friends? If you don’t know anyone who does races like this, is the race close enough to where you live that you might meet someone who trains near you? Races are one of the best networking opportunities in the world. I’ve met folks in literally every field of business through racing, and some have become very close friends. Racing near where you live creates the opportunity to meet others who like you, want to race.
So pick your race based on your experience, fitness abilities, strengths, and the proximity to where you live and train. Doing that will give you a big leg up on how I started, and hopefully help alleviate some of the jitters from trying something new.
I put up a Check out our race finder HERE.