First Hare Scramble...a little painful.

It took me around a year of racing just to race as fast as I practiced. Not sure why it gets in your head so bad but it does. Just stay smooth and keep from crashing and before you know it you will be running up front. 

Good points about the start. Being at the front is very nerve racking for a newbie. And after many many years I still like to have a target to set my sights on. A rider in front of you gives you a lot of good info on what you are about to encounter, use that info to your advantage. It is like having another set of eyes up ahead.


Totally agree with this.  If you golf it's like being on the green just inside another player's ball.  Mark it and learn from that guy's putt.

I had no expectations of finishing well, really all I hoped for was finishing the race.


My advice is, listen to your own advice.  This ^^^ here is a very good mindset.  Stay level headed, stay smooth, know your pace and keep it.  When you get your true bearings after a few races, then think about being competitive.  Thanks for sharing your experience, this is a thread folks can learn from.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

You approached this race wrong. You should have been there simply for the learning experience. No amount of practice will substitute for the feeling of being there. You should have looked at the race as a "warm up" or "practice race".


I did this with triathlons years ago. After nearly drowning in my first couple of races, I reset the game plan and spent the next few races taking in the whole experience and not worrying about my times. I left my watch home. Once I settled in, I started competing.


Also, you must know by now it takes time to become good at something this demanding. Highly efficient neuromuscular pathways take years to develop no matter how determined you are.


Enjoy the process.

Edited by gatorfan

Just read your post, almost an exact duplicate of my first hare scramble this year. Same bike, same start, no crash just a stall and watch my whole class ride by due to my courtesy. I've ridden lots as a kid but all trail, not racing. I do race cars so I can relate to the competitive spirit. I ended up finishing the race 6th in class, 16 riders, 2:28 straight. I did 5 tuck and rolls through the race though. I was in traction for three days afterwards and a multitude of colours all over my body. Absolutely agree with many responses here, I can relate. Nervous, check, not mentally prepared to go slow, check. Adrenaline, check. Endurance race not speed, check. Knee braces, check. The first thing I did was take some advice from a veteran rider/friend and sell my '03 WR450F and switched to a '08 YZ250F. The starts are going to suck because the e-start was amazing - I loved that bike. But 45-50 pounds is a huge difference in an endurance race. My new bike is sooo much more nimble and forgiving, more point and shoot. I don't like the lighter flywheel in the slow technical stuff though, much easier to stall. But overall I can ride the same with far less effort. I'm getting ready for my next race and the mental part is biggest part I think, just like in my car racing, you can't win in the first corner, pace yourself and lower your expectations. ;)

MTGraves, do I know you?? You sound a lot like my buddy - almost identical and very wise advice. This is a great thread!!

I remember my first race I thought I'm going to do good I'm fast yea 2 hours later I finished my first lap right before the end of the race. Now that I have been it doing for a couple years and have gotten a lot faster I never want to be the leader on the first lap I kind of fall behind who ever is in front of me and learn the track then I start racing after the first lap and I have a mental image of the track I can ride faster and smoother that way.

So a minor update here, I haven't been able to race again yet primarily because the knee was still bothering me the last time I had an opportunity. Since then though I have been able to do a fair amount of trail riding and last week I made a point of a good hard 90 minutes on trails I was familiar with. Much tighter trails that I used to ride as well.

My tentative plan is to race the VCHSS rrace at Blue Ridge on Sunday. One goal, just finish the race.

Beware the Red Mist.. It can and will get the best of us sometimes. Learn to control it, and then use it sparingly. Easier said then done sometimes.


Get thru that first turn clean.. Then get thru the first lap clean.. Now get thru the race clean.. Let the other guys make the mistakes.


Look how much you've already learned after one race. That process will continue.


Good luck

I had similar issues in my first scramble too, luckily I didn't hurt myself tho.

I'm not a competitive person and only race for fun, I have more fun racing now if I start mid to back of the pack and see how many people I can pass.

We only have a few classes in our local scrambles series, I race junior or intermediate, I'm mid pack in junior and like be mid pack off the start as there's some slow guys that can really hold you up in that class, if I race intermediate I start last and try to catch and pass someone as I'm one of the slower guys in that class.

On 8/1/2016 at 5:57 PM, VTForester said:

My tentative plan is to race the VCHSS rrace at Blue Ridge on Sunday. One goal, just finish the race.

So how did the race go? 

Did my first 2hr harescramble last year also. Was on father's day good way to spend with the daughter as gas lady . Ride my 12' yz450 with mx handgards and regular tank. Just took it easy to 6th in 30B class. Did few more just can't get a start I start last every time lol. But it's fun 

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