Come prepared. Your bike should be in race ready condition- don’t save repairs for race day and don’t make any changes on your bike in the week before the race. This includes changing position, chains, cogs, tires, etc. (An exception is if something breaks.) Bring a variety of spare parts with you; tires, tubes, chain, cogs, and an extra wheel set if you have one. Lube, a pump, and allen keys are things that should live in your car or bike bag. There are usually people at a race that can help you in a pinch, but it is always better to be prepared.
Chain damage is still a problem with mountain bikes. Keeping your chain clean and well-lubricated will help. Periodic inspections of your chain for wear, stretch and damage is recommended. Learning how to use a chain tool will save you a walk home.
If you hear a funny noise coming from your bike when riding, soft pedal and look at what is making that noise. If something has landed in your drive train, like a stick, continuing to power the bike could cause something to break. Its better to stop off the trail and fix the problem quickly then get back in the race.
An athlete should always drink plenty of water, but this is particularly important prior to a race. It is good practice to begin heavy hydration 72 hours before the start of any competition. Be sure you have a water bottle with you at all times.
Bring your own food and water to the event. It is always better to be self-contained and self-sufficient. A first aid kit is a good idea.
There is always a designated feed area where water bottles are handed up. There should be signs or a map designating this area. Not all race venues have a water handup for Cat 3 and the younger junior and open categories- find out at the race site.
Most race flyers and registration areas have all the pertinent information about the race. Read these notices carefully as most questions will be answered in these postings.
You must have a USAC license to participate in a TMBRA sponsored race. If you are a Cat 3 or junior, you can purchase a one day license for $10, good only for that race day, or you can purchase an annual license for $75- adults, $35- juniors. You can purchase either license at the race site or go to www.usacycling.org.
Try to pre-register for a race. This makes it less hectic on the day of the race. Double check your entry form to be certain you are placed in the proper race and that the time and location haven’t changed.
Upon arriving at the event, go first to pick up your race packet and number, then go back to your vehicle to dress and get your bike ready. Warm-up plan to be around the start line area about 20 minutes prior to your start.
Racers riding a bicycle have the right of way over racers pushing bicycles. When practical, racers pushing should stay on the least rideable portion of the path when being passed. A racer pushing or carrying his bicycle can overtake a racer riding his bicycle, provided he does not interfere with the rider’s progress. (USAC rule 5.12.2)
Lapped riders must yield to leaders. (This applies to a lead rider overtaking another class) Riders should voice the command “track” when overtaking another. It is the responsibility of the challenging rider to overtake safely. You must yield to the passing rider on the first command. (USAC rule 5.12.3)
All repairs during an event shall be performed by the individual racer. No outside support is permitted (USAC rule 5.4)
Don’t litter the trail with gel packets.
You have 15 minutes after the results enter the protest period to file a protest. You must have a racer witness with you when you protest a result. Protests are very time consuming- make absolutely sure your protest is legitimate before you dispute the results.
Get out of your wet and dirty clothes as soon as you can. Eat a combo of protein and carbos within 30 minutes after finishing and re-hydrate.
All events have a Cat 3 schwag raffle. Your race number is your raffle number so bring it with you after cleaning up from a race when you go to check the results. Some races have a separate junior raffle. Check the postings at the awards area and registration to find out.
It is your responsibility to collect your award or prize. If you cannot wait, then have a buddy pick it up for you.