As with many first-time pursuits, your first enduro race may have you nervous, worried about looking foolish, wondering whether you’re in over your head, or simply feeling like you don’t belong. These are common feelings for everyone, but you shouldn’t let them affect your performance. As a seasoned enduro racer who was once a beginner, I have six simple tips to help you overcome those feelings.
1. YOU BELONG
Enduro, unlike many other sports, is quite laid back. Keep in mind that everyone is simply out there to shred some fun trails to the best of their ability, hang with their buds, and enjoy a great day of riding and good times. Remind yourself that EVERYONE there had a first-time enduro experience—even the pros—and they likely felt the same way that you do.
2. JUST GET STARTED
Start local, by inquiring at a local bike shop or talking to riders at the trailhead. Someone is sure to be able to introduce you to the local scene, events schedule, or friendly meetups.
3. BE PREPARED
Dial in your bike setup in the weeks leading up the event. Turn to your local shop and fellow riders if you need help—I’ve found that everyone is actually happy to help you be as dialed as possible. In the days before your race, go back over your bike to make sure everything fits and functions properly. Don’t do this at the last minute, as you’ll just add stress to the experience.
A day of enduro racing is essentially the same as going out for a long day of riding, so be sure you have the equipment to keep your bike running on-course: tire plugs, a tube, a CO2 cartridge or pump, and a multi-tool. Food can make or break a ride, so keep your engine fueled with foods you enjoy eating. I typically take gummy bears and a couple of nutrition bars with me for a big day of racing.
To figure out roughly how much food and water you’ll need, make it part of your race prep to know when and where support stations will be located before you head out to practice or ride the first stage.
4. PACE YOURSELF
Don’t blow up at the start of your weekend by going too hard out of the gate. Know your strengths and weaknesses and keep them in mind throughout the event. Remember that your final result is the sum of an entire day of riding, not just the first stage. A last-place finish is always better than a DNF or crash due to pushing too hard.
Being super tight and nervous at the starting gate isn’t going to help one bit. Personally, I like to mess around and chat with my friends while waiting for my start. At the gate I stay calm by thinking about this as just being a fun bike ride, and not a race run.
6. FIND THE FLOW AND HAVE FUN
I perform best when I’m having fun. I always try to take a step back to find flow on the course, rather than pushing too hard and going all out. Between stages I try to keep the stoke level high by recapping the previous stages or sections with my buddies.
Hopefully these tips will encourage you to give enduro racing a shot. I think you’ll find it a really fun way to spend a day or weekend, shredding new trails with a bunch of like-minded folks. What could be better than that?
BONUS SHORT FILM: FOUNDATIONS EAST
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