wfo the whole way, and dont forget the go pro
How long is it?
Inevitably most people tend to go out fast for a lap or two then settle into a steady rhythm... and then struggle around for the last few laps with fatigue.
No matter what your tactics are, be prepared to be shattered by the end of it!! Drink lots of water before you start and concentrate hard on not to crashing as this wastes even more energy.
Jeff Emigs Keys to the Race:
1. Get a good start
2. Don't crash
Don't hit the trees!
haha... Mate, I love riding in the bush... Grew up doing it, the first few tries at a MX track I kept hugging the inside cause I wasn't used to all the space haha...
Seriously tho, be smooth through the trees and tight shit, stand up as much as possible and don't be afraid to shift it... smooth is better off road! Even on a 125
how long is the race? 1, 2, 3 hour? my yz450 with wr tank gets me about an hour and a half in. i always push pretty hard to make sure i am going into the woods near the front of the pack if i get a bad start. you can get stuck behind people for what seams like hours in single track sections. try and stand as much as possilbe and get into a good rythem.
I did MX for 5 years before I tried a desert race and really liked the extra track time.
Bryan Farnsworth gave me the best advice I could receive the night before my first Baja 500. He said some guys go balls out from the green flag...and you will usually see them hanging upside down from trees along the course. Remember that after the first 100 miles..there is another 100 miles...etc.
The moral is for your first one go about 80% of what you think you can do so you have something in the tank for the whole race.
Have fun...you will really enjoy the challenge.
The older I get...the less I can remember about how much faster I was....
Definitely invest in some handguards if you haven't done so already. I'd recommend full-wrap ones if it's really tight; you won't regret it
Hydrate plenty beforehand and during. Find out how long the track is. I wouldn't go longer than say 40 miles without fuel. Realistically, your pit stop isn't going to affect your finish at all. And running out of gas makes you feel like a moran. Prepare to be beat at the end. Just go out and ride a relaxed pace. 2 hours kicks your ass until you figure it out. It feels a lot longer than it is. It's so incredibly different than mx, just go do one with no expectations, have fun, and get an idea for the next one.
about 8 or 10 years ago we had a fast kid on an RM125 who was kicking ass in the FTR HS series. I worked a corner in our club race and I could hear him coming through the woods each lap. wide open, shut off at turns, wide open again. When he'd get to my corner (I was there cause people were cutting the corner earlier in he race) he would just hammer into the turn, chop it and wide open again (was a pretty tight turn around a tree). he won that race by a mile and took the championship that year. I think he moved to a 250 after the 2nd year. wide open baby.
12 KTM 250SX
08 Ducati Hypermotard
83 Husqvarna 125XC
Go for the start, try to settle into a steady pace, if no camel back, stop at the 1 hour mark and water up.
You'll need fuel anyway. Above all, you must finish.
If its a 2hr HS, you should plan on a gas stop with your stock tank 125. Add in 3/4 - 1 gal & go.
1.5 hrs you should just make it without a stop, but will be pushing it.
Before you start have your tank filled ALL the way up.
The start is not super important in a harescramble as you have 2hrs to make up for a mid pack start, but being in the top 1/3 makes your day start a little easier.
Most will be dead engine starts, so practice this. Most guys have bike warmed up and will start with their clutch in 1st or 2nd gear. Kick and go. If your clutch drags in gear you may not start on first kick (that is why you must practice...lol).
Some guys start in neutral if they have a drag problem.
The first lap guys are really moving (sometimes out of control) to gain positions or maintain. After the first lap things settle down to a high pace that is under control. Most will run smooth & and settle in trying to gain positions when possible.
It is easy to over do yourself if not in condition. This will translate to longer lap times as the day goes on and positions lost. Pace yourself if this is your first one to just finish the race. you will be able to look back on the day and see where you could have improved.
If you have the skill, but not the endurance that is what you will have to work on. You need to train your body to run all out for 2hrs.
Oh & stay on the arrows or you will get docked a lap or disqualified/labled a cheater.
Good luck, wear a camel back hydro system so you can drink on the fly (you'll need it).
I think everyone so far has given some good advice to take with you and apply...
The best thing you could do is come on here and ask for advice.
My first Hare Scramble experience was one of a total lack of information and preparation (in the pre-internet days), so in other words- I learned the hard way!!
The lessons that I learned and can still remember 25 years later are:
1. I was a 19-year old, die hard motocross guy that severely underestimated the Hare Scramble guys. I thought they were just trail riding around the woods and I thought I was going to teach them how to go fast! ...Boy was I wrong!! Those A / AA riders used me for traction!
2) Yes- tape your hands!! Mine were like raw ground beef afterwards.
3) Bark busters or hand gaurds are a must (at least if in woods or brush). I showed up with none since I didn't use them in MX and went over the bars hard a couple times when my brake lever hit trees. It wasn't pleasant.
4) As far as pace, where & how to start... My feeling is since it is your first race, you may just want to let the thundering herd (everyone) go first and use this race as your learning race. This way, you will learn passing technique as you try to get around slower riders and eventually work your way up to guys your speed and pace. This is also a good way to work into a rythem and get familiar with the course and this type of racing. I do not suggest starting out hard and fast. You will likely end up with some experienced guys behind you pushing you. If this is the case, you will probably ride over your head and be more concerned about them then learning and practicing.
5) Take a friend that hopefully isn't racing to help you. Depending on the length of time of the race, you might need pit assistance. have them there with gas, a clean set of goggles and gloves and water/gatorade refill.
I hope that you have a good time!
From a moto guy who does a couple HS races a year, here are my recommendations. They also depend on the conditions. Where I'm from, HS trails are tight. Some sections require bars cut down an 1 1/2" or so and barkbusters are highly recommended. Also, moto tanks won't make the distance.
1. Hydrate, the races are usually 2 hours plus. That's about twice the riding time of a motocross race and there are no rests so it feels more like four times.
2. Pace yourself. Depending on your age. I'm 39 and can't go full on for 2 hours. Inevitably I get caught up in the moment. I can run B leader pace for about 20 min, then I'm done. A few mistakes and clip a few trees and you're on your head.
3. Get a good start and follow. Course markers are hard to get used to. Study how the course is marked and what those markers mean. Following others gives you a good plan for what's coming. For me, I can go a lot faster following than leading because I don't always see the course markers.
4. Be courteous. If a faster rider catches you, move over. Follow him/her as long as you can
5. Lots of tearoffs (or better yet, roll offs). Lack of vision is bad when trying to go fast in the woods. Change goggles when you fuel up. Also, eat a banana or a peanut butter sandwich and drink something.
6. Stand up ....... a lot. In tight woods you'll have better control.
7. Tape your hands. Around here, most woods guys race with glove underwear on. Keep your gloves tight and DRY. Wet hands blister bad. (Wet butts do too, don't pour water over your head to cool off, that ends up in your pants. Bad, bad, bad things man)
8. Camelbak's are really useful to keep yourself hydrated. I usually start to cramp about 1 1/2 hours in if I don't hydrate during the race.
9. Steady, quick pace is where it's at. Mistakes may be more costly than in MX. If you drop, stall, or worse, crash the bike, it takes a lot of energy to pick it up, kick start it, and get going again. Energy you'll be needing in another 30 minutes or an hour. A little bit slower and not making mistakes is the fastest way to the end.
10. Suspension, softer springs would be nice but you'll probably have to settle for turning your compression full soft and your rebound almost all the way to the slow side. MX suspension causes the front end to bounce all over the place when hitting roots and rocks and ruts. That will get you on your head quickly. This is a HUGE deal that most MXers don't pay enough attention to. A properly set up KDX 200 is WAY better than a fire breathing full on MX RMZ450 in the woods.
Oh, HAVE FUN. I love riding HS and Enduros here. The bench racing stories can go on for hours afterwards.
Like some have said before - BARK BUSTERS BRO!
My friend and I raced the whole PA state hare scramble series this year and he's on a 2003 yz125. The races are two hours long and he has not had to stop for gas once all year and he runs a mid B pack pace. If it's only a 2 hour race, just top off that tank to the brim and you'll be ok.
Great advice throughout...
Just make sure you ride smart. By that, I mean if there's any muddy sections, make sure you take an extra second or two and find a good line instead of just diving into whatever you see first.
Oh, and if there's some guy pointing you into a line, holding a beer can, AND he's clean... Don't take that line.
yes hydrate the entire week leading up, carry a gallon of water with you wherever you go. Look ahead for the bottlenecks and find a way around them. Stand up as much as possible to minimze arm pump you will most likely get toward the end of the race. have 2nd set of googles ready for you at the pit stop in addtion to fuel. If dead engine start, start with your bike in gear to save a split second from having to shift (make sure bike is warmed up good). Have plenty of beer for the postrace benchracing sessions for sure!
Fantastic advice from all above guys. Really appreciate the feedback.
I raced my first HS almost ten years ago. When they threw the green flag i dropped the hammer and rode like it was a one lap motocross race. Needless to say after about 20 mins of that i was exhausted and went into survival mode. i have no idea what place i got but i was able to finish the race.
About the worse thing u can do on your first race is get the holeshot, best case scenero is 2nd or 3rd off the start and just pace the guys in front of u. Learnnig what pace to run when your by yourself takes years of experience.
And like was stated earlier, just finish the race. Focus on riding smooth and carrying good speed through your turns and conserving energy. Stand up when u need to stand up and sit down when u need to sit down and always focus on looking out far ahead and not watching your front fender.