Yesterday I raced in my first MTB race. Well I guess first isn’t completely accurate because I did do a short 5-mile race about 20 years ago, but that was it and it’s been so long ago that experience has been pushed out of my mind.

The one yesterday was called King of Goat Hill which as you can imagine was basically a bunch of hill climbs. I didn’t really know what to expect going in but I want to get faster so what better way than to get out there with some fast people? The event was four laps (10.1 total miles) and the majority of it was hill climbs, hence the name.

As the even started I decided it would be a good idea to start in the back so I don’t kill myself in the beginning but what I didn’t realize is that I’m not as slow as I assumed. The whole first lap I was stuck behind slow people and it was hard to pass.

The second lap was much better as I started to get into a rhythm but my legs weren’t recovering enough on the downhills to be ready for the next uphill. So it was a struggle but I kept pushing.

On lap three I got lapped by the leaders and that was demoralizing. Getting lapped in a four-lap race is not fun, but I didn’t know what to expect so I should have known that would probably happen. I kept pushing through.

At the finish of that lap, I assumed the race was over. In all other events, you finish on the same lap the winner does. I stopped thinking it was over and the people standing around told me to keep going, that this event wasn’t set up like that. I lost a ton of time there.

I pushed through the final lap and finished with a smile. I also asked the top three how many miles a week they ride and each one said 100+ miles. They ride every day and two of three was under 20 years old. Basically, with my current schedule, I’ll never be at their level.

Now that the race is in the books here are a few things I learned:

  1. Start near the front, let people pass you.
  2. Realize if you are not training every day you probably will not finish at the front.
  3. During the race focus only on what you can control.
  4. Have fun!

I plan to race even more this year because I did enjoy it, but I’ll go into the next one knowing more of what to expect.