Last weekend, we had our 1st district hare scramble of the year. We had had close to 4 inches of rain the week before so the course was wet. The soil was predominantly sand, so not so much standing water as there was better traction in some areas, looser in others. Plus the mud was not as heavy and it shook off easier than the super sticky clay mud.
Anyways, the fastest guys stayed on the pegs and attacked the wet sections aggressively. The slower guys, slowed down and tried to pick their way through. They ended up getting stuck and a couple buried their bikes to the point of needed long branches to pry their bikes up high enough to lift them out.
For the 2 hour A/B race, the fastest guys did 6 laps (9ish mile course), the bulk of the pack did 4 laps.
Someone above said that 'racing is the best way to get in shape.' That is some bad advice right there.
If a person rides a desk all week and then gets on a bike on weekends, their fitness level will not be good enough to finish a 1 hour race, let alone a 2 hour. Do some cardio during the week, ride a bicycle, stand and pedal on all the uphills, work up a good sweat. The guys that do that do not look like they are on death's door at the end of a race. They also crash less.
I never put anything in my camelback but water. Anything else will promote mold growth during the week (much harder to clean.) I do have gatorade or the equivalent in my pits so I can slug some down during gas stops.
As one gets more interested in doing better, you start watching what you eat and drink all week. For me, that means no pop or coffee during race season. I drink lots of water during the week to stay hydrated for my job, so adding during the week is hard. The morning of a race, I drink a quart of OJ. I usually will drink a 100 oz camelback during a race (if it is an enduro, I fill it at gas, so I will drink 2, I will also drink a quart of gatorade at gas, eat a sandwich and a banana. )
If you get cramps on the drive home or that night when you go to bed, you did not drink enough that day or you drink pop and ended up pissing away everything you drank.
The day after a race, I drink a bunch and I also do a good yoga routine and a long bike ride. I am really stiff and sore the next day and a good stretch and light bike ride really, really help with recovery.
Watch your hands for blisters. If you ride a desk during the week, you will have a problem with blisters. Get some glove liners and switch to dry gloves when you can. My hands are/were calloused very well and blisters have never been a problem for me. They were for my daughter, so she carried extra gloves in her fanny pack. She usually wears 2-3 pair per race.
The best advice I got when I started was, "when in doubt, twist the grip."
all around good guy