Training for your first XC race

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Nov 1, 2001
Calgary, Alberta
As an avid XC mountain rider, any suggestions on how to train for that first XC race. :help:
Also, as a beginner, how long is the race usually? (Both in distance and in time).
Any help or info would be appreciated muchly. :)


Sep 18, 2001
Ah, them were the days.

I'd say as an avid xc rider, you are probably fine for your first race. Not sure about categories over in your part of the world but you'd be starting in 'Novice' or equivalent?

Just go and enjoy your first one. This will tell you your strengths and weaknesses. You then have something to concentrate on when you want to 'train' properly. For example, my first xc race, i realised that i needed mega sprinting and power for pedallign out of the saddle more. I could make up time in technical sections on most people, then have them come past on a climb. So i did hill training.

If you really get serious, thats where a road bike/slicks comes in. I only race DH now but i have my old roadie on a turbo and do three sessions a week sprint training for about 45 mins. The toughest part of a race is the fact that you cant relax much like on a ride and your heart rate will be racing for the full duration.

Generally beginner xc races are between 10-15 miles and last 45 mins to an hour. If you can hammer yourself for an hour and 15 or an hour and a half, you'll be in good form.

I am speaking from current experience as I am back in training and doing a ot of xc riding. Shall be wandering the arctic that is Wales this weekend and the forecast is 'Snow'

Hope this gives you some ideas - let us know how the first race goes - gurantee you will love it!

(PS - to really enjoy your xc racing, dont take it too seriuously - i used to do it on my DH bike for a laugh when it was dry in summer - best result - 35th out of 78!! in Sport Men)




Nov 5, 2001
Flatland Florida
My first XC race made me realize that training at higher heart rates are critical. I was able to ride all day long, but with the excitement and the competition, my HR was pegged the whole race. I wasn't use to going that hard for that long. Oh yeah, my first race lasted about an hour. Most since then have been about 45 mins to an hour!

Put in the miles on the road bike is all I can say. My technical skills weren't a problem, but after 45 minutes at about 160 bpm, I was a whooped (sp? whup'd) pup!

The Toninator

Jul 6, 2001
High(ts) Htown
I raced beginner this past season. Norba beginner races are about 10 Miles and vary in time depending on terrain.
Most important have fun and enjoy what you are doing. My first race I finished 21st out of 32 which was ok because I was there just to see what races were like. 4 races later I finish 9th out of 30 something.

Once you get a feel for what makes up a race then try to focus on training. Speed, strength and endurance.