First Time Racer
New to Cross Country Racing?
From Bike Gear to Classes - KXCR has you covered.
Welcome to the Woods!
Seeing that you’ve found yourself here, it’s safe to say you’ve been thinking about doing some cross country racing. Well, congratulations! Let the fun begin! Getting started in cross-country racing can feel overwhelming. No worries! We’re here to keep it simple and fun. If you’re new to the woods, or new to riding in general, there are a few things to help you get started in the right direction.
Though you may want to go out and Ronnie Mac the whole deal, we’re going to highly suggest you show your noble steed some love and tender care. Besides normal bike maintenance, there are a few things you should consider. Woods racing requires extra protection on your bike. A skid plate is the most basic protection for your bike and a virtual requirement for XC racing. Guards of any kind can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. A-arm guards, linkage guards, hand guards and rotor or brake guards are all on the list of a committed racer. If you plan on racing a whole season, they should be on yours, too.
Bike Gear – Safety First!
You may feel invincible on race day but it’s important to be protected and prepared for any worse case scenario. Your full face helmet should be DOT approved and no older than five years. Slap some goggles on to protect your eyes. You will also want to purchase riding boots and chest gear. With those essentials now out of the way, you’ll want some gear and gloves to match or not. Still got room in the budget? Spoil yourself with some knee guards or braces. Last but not least, don’t forget your water pack! It is so important to stay hydrated during your race. Or, simply bring a friend as trustworthy as your ride and have them feed you water mid-race.
A truck, van, trailer, camper, or your mom’s Prius. Whatever gets your bike to the starting line in one piece will do the job. As Kentucky weather can be unpredictable, always have a backup plan and prepare (yourself and your driver) for mud, rain, or dusty conditions.
Make a list – Check it Twice
Before you go forging new roads on your way to the race, you’ll want to be organized and prepared. Have a goal of being fully prepared two days prior to the race. That way, if you fall short you should still have some time. Try to bring a race partner or co-pilot for the haul – the buddy system is always a good one to have! Make a list of all items you will want to take with you and double check that you are packed and ready to go!
We suggest you always begin hydrating the day before you race. Drinking a gallon of water on your way to the race is only going to increase pit stops before and during the race. How you feel on race day is determined by what you do days prior. Eat clean and be sure to stay active. Bring the right amount of food and water to the race, account on being very hungry after. Do not eat any heavy meals within an hour of the race. Within that hour you should only consume small, easy to digest snacks. Fruits, veggies, nuts, all the things that would make your parents proud and keep our bodies feeling fresh and ready to race!
Once you arrive at the race, it may feel a bit overwhelming. You’ll see food vendors, camping sites, racers and spectators. Be sure to keep an eye out for our helpful signs and onsite staff, directing you where you want to be.
Before you park, you’ll want to locate the registration area, the starting area, and try your best to understand the layout of the property and course. Where you decide to park is fairly important but it all depends on what you want. Want to park track side? Need to be close to the start? Be mindful that parking rules may vary based on the property.
Signing Up / Classes
Find your perfect parking spot and make your way to the registration area. DON’T FORGET YOUR HELMET or you will face the shame of wasted time. The registration area will be a marked area and should be close to the entrance or vendor row. You will want to have cash and photo identification. Fill out the registration forms and select your class. Class selection will be based on your bike size and skill level. You will get the best experience in the class you are most competitive in. Being the parking lot champ may not qualify you for A class, so be humble and pick a class you feel comfortable in. If you aren’t sure what to choose, our staff is here to help you.
Most series have the same general rule structure. Sign up and go to the line at your designated time. Although we like to think we have our ducks in a row, it’s not guaranteed the race will start at the exact time. It is important to stay aware and talk to an employee if you have any confusion or concerns. Once on the line, pay attention to the flagger and what color his flags are. The flagger is your main focus. Each row will go out one at time with 30-60 seconds in-between. It’s a dead engine start, the flagger will make a 10 second announcement and when that flag goes up, you are expected to start and head to the first corner. If things are going well, you’ll make it to the finish line at least once. At that proud moment, we will be happy to cheer you on but be sure to use the live scoring board to check your in-class position and the time between the rider ahead of you. The flagger will hold an arsenal of flags. Yellow means caution, green is go, and red is stop. If you’re still going strong, you’ll be met with the white flag which means last lap. If both eyes aren’t clogged with dirt, keep charging, the next one you’ll see is the checkered flag. The hard part is over. Go to the scoring center for your results and hope you beat your buddy. Whether you make it 1 lap or the whole race, it is about the adventure along the way!
Time to see if all your hard work paid off. Keep in mind, all good things take time and that goes for lap times too! Each class time is adjusted based on their starting row, that is then applied to your overall time spent on the course and how many laps you completed. Your in class finish determines how many points you are awarded. Those points also determine your overall class position. At the end of year, the racer with the most in class points wins the championship. As the year goes on, you can monitor your points and those around you to figure out where you need to be to reach your personal goals.
Life in the Pits
Virtually the entire parking area is considered “the pits”. Every series will have a particular set of rules that you will want to familiarize yourself with or you may be penalized. In this area, you’ll be able to check out everything the race has to offer. Gear, accessories, parts, food, and entertainment will all be available in a designated vendor row. It’s a great environment so enjoy it, don’t be too shy or stressed, as most everyone there is willing to make a new friend or lend a helping hand. If you need assistance, search for our Staff in the yellow shirts – We are always happy to help!
Camping can be a great way to cut down on the stress of race day but may increase the amount of things you can forget. Depending on the race schedule, the gates will typically open one to two days prior to the race. Get there early, relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy all the pleasures racing has to offer.
Gear up, prepare, and come race with us!