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Race recommendations for a novice

Stu White's picture

By Stu White - Posted on 11 April 2011

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Keen to get some advice from all you more experienced riders out there. I am a XC novice but really enjoy the time out on my bike and keen to get started in a couple of "races" nothing too radically technical or physically punishing! Looking at starting with 25km races and building from there. What would you guys recommend I get started with?

Rob's picture

Depends where you live... at the distance you mention it's best to try and locate your local club and see if they host anything.

Depending on where you live, you may be lucky enough to have a couple of clubs to choose from, so if you can tell us that, you might get some good opinions about which clubs is most organised, has the nicest track, etc.

Flynny's picture

Yeah most clubs will have something to offer. a Trad XC club round will consist of laps on a ~6-8km trail. The higher the grade the more laps you do. Can be a lot of fun and a cheaper way to try out racing.

Logan's picture

Would be a good place to start as the course isnt as technical as say Ourimbah for example. Or WSMTB club rounds out at Yellowmundee for example.

Give it a go, its great fun.

Rob's picture

Awaba is great fun... unless you live on the south coast Eye-wink

Wait and see where Stu tells us he's from before giving opinions, eh? Sticking out tongue

ChopStiR's picture

Check out the 2011 Woodford to Glenbrook Classic which will be held on Sunday June 26, 2011

Ride or Run the Oaks Fire Trail through the beautiful Blue Mountains National Park, from the town of Woodford down to the Euroka Clearing near Glenbrook and help raise much needed funds for the services provided by CareFlight. The race is approximetly 25km in length.

You can compete for one of the age and gender category prizes, try for an outright place or just have some fun travelling on this great trail. The event will have full first aid and medical support as well as lots of drink stations,

Stay on afterwards in the Euroka Clearing where there will be family fun, food and sponsor stalls.

Registration for both runners and riders is just $45 for adults and $20 for juniors, which only covers the cost of conducting the event. Money raised by entrants through donations and fundraising activities helps to fund CareFlight's services. Last year Careflight raised over $30,000 and this year they would like to double that. An online fundraising page is set up for you when you enter and you will get an email on how to use it with your entry confirmation. Each entrant is asked to raise as much as possible.

Teams and individuals are welcome to enter. The registration process is online and easy to follow. Registrations will open at 8am Friday 1 April and will be taken until 4.00pm Monday 20 June 2011, or until the event reaches the maximum number of participants. No entries will be accepted on the day of the event. There is a limit of 700 cyclists, with no limit on runners.

Entries are only available online at

andyfev's picture

If you live on the south coast of Sydney check out Appin. There's an event there on Sunday 15th May. It's a 25km loop offering 2 laps (50km) for the endurance nuts (of which I am slowly becoming one!). First time organised for 2011 I'm already locked in for the 25km loop! Check out and click the Rock Wallaby tab.

Happy days!

Brian's picture

Doesn't his profile say Belrose?

Rob's picture

Ahem... my bad... Eye-wink

Yeah, try some WSMTB (eg: WSMTB Club XC Round 3) at Yellomundee or CCOMTB at Ourimbah then.

Stu White's picture

Wow what a great response. Yes I'm in Belrose (kinda Northern Beaches Sydney) regularly tackle a few of the local rides, Heath, Cascades, Ryland struggle with the climb out of Heath Track upto the sub station. Will crack it one of these days as my fitness improves. (43 yrs old and carrtying a few extra Kgs Smiling)

Stu White's picture

Thoughts on the Careflight - Woodford to Glenbrook Classic for a novice. Downhill appeals to me but I know there are a few serious climbs?

Also heard the 25km version of the Back Yamma Bigfoot is a good ride and a weekend away for the family? Anyone done this?

Stu White's picture

Thanks Tim - just posted the question as you were replying! I'll register tonight sounds like fun?

CB's picture

Hey Stu

Welcome from another mid forties rider carrying a few extra kilo's !

The Back Yamma Bigfoot would be a great race for you to try. It's pretty flat and has lots of nice singletrack. the fitness required is mostly based upon how fast you try to go ( or how long you can keep going in the longer distances) It's a lovely part of the world. I done the 100km last year and really enjoyed it although I was really badly prepared. The family also enjoyed it.... the kids loved going to 'The Dish' at Parkes after watching the movie the night before.
All in all, it's a great weekend away for the family..... and you get to ride your bike !

The shorter distances in the Highland Fling would also be good. Bundanoon has a real festival feel to it. The Angry Doctor in Mogo is a great family trip too. The kids can pan for gold at Old Mogo Town or go to Mogo Zoo. We even got to do some close up whale watching last year at Brulee. I don't think the 'Doctor' has a 25k option although I could be wrong. The 50km could be something to aim for although it's probably the toughest 50k race.

Good luck


Stu White's picture

Thanks CB good it looks like i'm off the Woodford for the Careflight classic then off to Parkes for the little foot! Hopefully meet you out there sometime.

ae93gti's picture

the Back Yamma Bigfoot (do a quick search on the site and check the blogs) looks like a great one to start with due to the fact there aren't too many hills so you can cruise at a reasonable pace.

The Real Bike Insurance MTB Cruise (Mt Stromlo) is a really good one to begin with. There is a 10 and 30km track (loop of 6km, 2 times for 10km and 5 for 30km) as well as the more challenging 50, 80 and the invite only 160km. I did the 30km one and found there is only a couple of technical bits but not hard by any stretch. This has already been run this year (early March)

Once you have a bit of fitness up, I found Capital Punishment 50km to be pretty good too. The last climb up Stromlo was a little hard, but then there's an awesome few k all the way to the finish so it's well worth it. Again, this was on a few weekends ago so next year maybe?

Sorry to have suggested a couple of away races, but Stromlo and surrounds (Majura, Kowen) are fantastic if you find yourself in Canberra with a bike.

I enjoy Cascades and doing the 5 gates once a week and then one other longer easier ride e.g. Terrey Hills (Perimeter and Long) at least one loop (there and back) maybe two was all I did to feel fine for Capital Punishment. (I'm the same age and have the same kg problem too, the kg are disappearing very fast though Eye-wink

I think the big thing is to enjoy it and do it at your own pace.

hawkeye's picture

Did the 50 last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

... afterwards Smiling lol!

The key is the preparation, of course: train hard -> race easy.

The other piece of the puzzle for longer races is nutrition. Got lots of great advice on nutrition from the guys here.

Tommy's picture

Stu, my first race was the 4th choc foot event down south last year. I recon that was a great starter. Did it as a team of 2, so when you have enough you can take a break etc etc. I recon I rode 70kms that day.

Anyway I'm keen to go do the Awaba Chocfoot this weekend, was thinking of doing it solo to get hours in my legs, but happy to team up if your up for it. Let me know as I think entry closes this Wednesday.

Ray R's picture

Hi Stu,

Some great advice above - but nothing like easing into some racing with a few club races. They are cheap ($15-$20 plus Day Licence $20), fun, friendly, and not overly competitive. The big advantage is that you can choose your division to suit how long you wish to race for (normally 1 - 1.5 hours). AND you don't have to travel for hours!

From Belrose you will find both Central Coast Ourimbah MTB (at Ourimbah State Forest) and Western Sydney MTB (at Yellomundee Regional Park) much the same time to get to on a Sunday morning. From my place at Lindfield it takes about 55 minutes to both.

Route to CCOMTB is up the F3 of course, but to Yellomundee take the M2, M7, Richmond Rd, The Driftway, then Springwood Rd. Not as may GPSs will tell you via Springwood!

Next WSMTB Club round is on Sunday 22 May. See

Ray Rice

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