For every rider, there is a race. No matter what you’re level, there will be a venue for you to compete, learn, and excel. Racing is a great way to meet new interesting people, travel the province, country or even the world, and grow as a person. 7 years ago I was introduced to racing, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only do I have best friends that live all over the world, I have been able to see these places. I believe that life is not all about what you know; it’s about what you experience. I can safely say that through racing, I have been able to get some great experiences!
If you are new to the sport, and want to try your luck at racing, a provincial circuit is where you want to go. The vibe you will get there is amazing, everyone just so happy to be at the race – you will be treated as you belong. There is only as much stress as you put on yourself, and the level of competition caters to all. You are surprised who you will see at the races – anywhere from the local pro, your decorated fire fighter, and father, a son, and even a daughter, all out to have a good time. If you are serious about trying to evolve as a rider, don’t get down on yourself when the results don’t come right away. Hard work will always pay off – you get what you put in. I believe it’s also important to love whatever track you are riding. You also get what you want out of something – you can choose to focus on the positive, or not. I personally love to ride all types of tracks, and have had some of my best memories on trails that are 8 seconds long. These types of tracks, in my opinion, make a rider better – we strive to get the most we can out of the track, and when introduced to a bigger and better track, that doesn’t change. Our approach to racing changes, and makes us stronger.
If the need for more competition strikes – the national DH circuit is where you will most likely find yourself. Now you are up against other top riders from all provincial circuits throughout Canada, and even the odd few riders making their way up from the USA. Here, the environment is a little different. You will encounter a new level of organization and competition. This is a place that you can be seen, and begin to make a name for yourself, and even become eligible to be a member of the Canadian National MTB Team. It also gives you an interesting opportunity to travel to different places in the Country and ride interesting and challenging tracks from Quebec to BC.
These are all cool – but want to dabble with the big boys but don’t have the points to enter a WC? The US open, Crankworx, and the Sea Otter Classic are all a great place to match you up with the best in the world. This creates a cool venue where stress is also what you want to make of it. You will have all levels of competition at these races, but with the added competition of the best in the world. These are races where you can throw your name in the mix and stir things up if you do well. At the same time, there is no real consequence to not doing well, you enter these races to go all out and most importantly have a ton of fun! I would suggest the US Open as one of the first ones to try, it’s a great venue and everyone is there to have fun with all levels of competition – not to mention the track is awesome!
World Cup. This is where things become a little more stressful and you truly need to prepare or you will be chewed up and spit out with no remorse! You definitely build up too entering these races, as you have too – collecting UCI points at national rounds. World Cup is an interesting experience, you are there to compete, but you also admire what is going on around you – these are your idols! The speed is truly unbelievable and it’s an experience to say the least. I would suggest to anyone, at any level to try and get out to a WC race as spectator, see what these racers are doing and learn! You can learn a ton just by watching what the top guys do when it comes to preparation, lines on the track and even warming up.
That’s my guide and outlook on racing different levels! Thanks for reading, now get out there and practice!