Enduro mountain bike races are not for the faint-hearted.
It is a cycling discipline where you need to both have the guts and charisma to tackle seemingly impassable downhill trails. As well as the physical fitness to climb steep uphills and traverse long distances.
This is why many consider enduro mountain biking as the most difficult cycling discipline. But then again, riding enduro trails is one thing. And racing is another.
In this article, we are going to help you get into racing enduro mountain bikes. We’ll provide you with some of the best tips coming from an experienced enduro mountain bike racer and race organizer.
Get a good enduro bike
You can’t get into enduro bike races if you don’t have an enduro bike. That sounds obvious, right?
Well, it’s not just that because you need to get a really good enduro bike if you want to have fun, stay safe, and increase your chances of winning. Yes, you can race with budget Walmart bikes.
But you just put yourself at risk of injuries knowing that you’re racing with substandard components. Not to mention the amount of ridicule and shame you get in riding a cheap bike.
Enduro racing requires good high-end frames, parts, and components, especially since you rely on these technologies to bring you as fast and as safe as possible to the finish line.
Ride regularly on downhill trails so that you’ll get used to the race tracks.
Ride your bike daily if possible, so that you can gain the muscle memory you need to balance your bike in off-road sections while riding at high speeds. The more you ride, the better you know your bike more.
Have balls of steel
Enduro racing is for the brave. You can’t join a race and expect to not crash, hit a tree, or get thrown out of your bike in one way or another.
These situations are all a part of the game. So, if you are afraid to experience any of these, then we suggest you don’t try racing.
But if you’re the kind of biker who wants to experience the extreme and have that much-needed adrenaline rush as you brush your way past trees and rocks and ruts, then enduro racing is for you.
Ride as fast as you can
Ride as fast as you can whenever you ride your bike. This way, you get used to the high-speed situations you’ll be facing all throughout your race run.
Riding fast also helps you improve your maneuvering skills so you can react fast if ever your rear tire slides or if there’s a surprise jump a few meters from you.
Ride with competitive buddies
Another way you can get into enduro mountain bike racing in the best way possible is to always ride with your competitive friends.
Choose the people you ride with. If you always ride with slow folks or those who don’t have the guts to tackle technical sections or huge jumps, then there’s a good chance that you also won’t learn how to conquer those.
You see, mountain biking is a sport where you have fun with your friends. If you ride with fast and competitive riders, you’ll also be like them because you’ll be influenced.
That’s one of the best ways you can improve your riding so you can make it to the race podium.
Have the right gears and equipment
You need to have the right racing gear and equipment such as a full-face helmet, gloves, knee pads, proper race jersey, and of course, shoes.
We recommend you go for full-face helmets with detachable chin guards so you can take them off if you’re on the liaison sections. You can also choose between flat pedal shoes or clipless shoes, whichever you are more comfortable with.
However, clipless shoes are more efficient if you’re racing because your foot is clipped in directly on your pedals.
This avoids any misplacement. You also don’t have to worry about unclipping because you just need to twist your foot to detach from the pedal.
Thirst for competitiveness
You can’t have fun in a race if you don’t have that competitive drive. If you just want to enjoy the trails, then racing is not for you because you’ll just end up stressed or worse, getting an injury.
Going slow when racing puts you at risk because the next rider after your releasing run can overtake you. And note that enduro race tracks are very narrow, which is why you might hit each other, just like in car rally racing and downhill racing where mountain bikers swoosh past each other on steep and fast descents.
You don’t have to worry about this, though, if you are really competitive because you will do your best to go as fast as you can on your race run without feeling stressed or pressured.
You can even set your eyes on the Enduro World Series, the highest competitive level of the sport.
You need to be physically fit for you to join an enduro race. This means that you should be healthy both physically and mentally to ensure safety for everyone, especially if it is still your first race with other riders.
Eat a healthy regular diet, get enough sleep so your body will coordinate with each other properly, and strengthen your cardiovascular strength so you won’t faint when you suddenly stop once you’ve reached the finish line.
Track read is the process of riding through the race tracks before the actual race. This lets you know what to expect, such as a jump, drop, berm, or a tight corner. It lets you memorize or familiarize the track so you can perform better on the race day.
Focus, but have fun
Focus on the race and don’t easily get distracted by anything. However, you should also just stay light and not forget to have fun.
Remember that you are racing both for self-fulfillment and enjoyment. So, you don’t need to compromise the fun part of enduro races. Otherwise, you’ll just end up stressed and tired on your enduro mountain biking adventure.
Getting into enduro races is all about having the competitive spirit, a flair for that oh-so-sweet adrenaline rush, and the urge to explore the outdoors on your bike while having fun.
Take heed of our advice and always remember to ensure safety and fun above anything else. Then factor in the competitive aspect. Once you do all these, then you’ll surely be thriving in the realms of enduro mountain bike racing.