Enduro Racing is a blast! From: traveling to new places and adventures, getting to ride and race, awesome, fun and unique trails, to meeting cool people. Throughout my 8 years of racing I have gained a lot of experience, from maintaining my bike, knowing my limits and knowing when to eat and hydrate. There is one thing experience can’t account for, and that is NOT BEING PREPARED! So, when race day comes around, you’re at the start line, and the buzzer sounds, there is only one thing that is going to guide you to success and that is PREPARATION!!! There are multiple things you need to do to be prepared.
Being prepared is the key to success, and to be prepared you need to:
A) Keeping Your Body Is At Peak Performance, by having proper nutrition and by staying hydrated, drinking lots of water and electrolytes and making sure you aren’t tired and fatigued, but well rested. B) Pre-check Your Bike, make sure you check, your shifting, tire pressure/tread wear, shock pressure and anything else you think might be damaged or worn. C) Prepare All Of Your Gear, make sure you have enough energy and water, check to see if you have the tools and gear you need to fix your bike if you have a mechanical problem, and if you have an early race it is especially helpful to lay out your clothes, helmet, shoes, glasses, gloves and anything else you’ll need. D) Pre-ride, in my opinion pre-riding is essential to prepare yourself for the race! When pre-riding I take mental notes of the trail, like what gear to be in on a certain obstacle. Pre-riding is also helpful because you’ll know what is coming up on the trail. It also tells me how long I’ll be racing and how much food and water I’ll need to take. Knowing these things helps me go much faster on race day!
Though pre-riding is a huge benefit! Completing it, is not always an easy task! There are many differences between pre-riding a cross-country course and an Enduro course. On one hand pre-riding a XC course is relatively simple, you park near the start line, get your bike ready, and go for a ride that is only about an hour or two long. Pre-riding an Enduro course is much more difficult! Enduro Events are held many hours of travel from our Home, so going there prior to the event never is an option for Us. Having working Parents means scheduling extra time before the race is difficult, too. Plus, with the stages spread out over 50 or 60 miles and multiple days, accessing an Enduro course can be quite difficult, let alone having the extra days to get pre-riding done. So we are faced with the daunting task of trying to pre-ride the day before we race-it’s a difficult situation! If you wanted to pre ride the day before the race, you would use up a lot of energy, but you would gain valuable knowledge of the course. It rarely comes down to that choice, because the lack of time, it still is logistically not feasible to preride an entire course! Those racers who can preride have a monumental advantage! Contrast our last 2 Enduro races.
Bend Enduro We arrived at Bend Friday afternoon and set up our camp at the race venue. Saturday we decided to get up early to pre-ride all 5 Enduro stages. We spent most of the day pre-riding the stages, scouting the fast lines and riding the fast lines until we comfortably knew the course. We took mental notes of what gears to be in before obstacles, and figured out how much water and energy we need to take. On race day we felt that other racers didn’t have an enormous advantage! In just my 3rd Enduro, knowing the trail and it’s obstacles helped me place 4th in the U18 category, only 9 seconds behind third! That wasn’t our only benefit from pre-riding. We were the last group to start, there were so many racers before us, and the Enduro suffered race delays, so there wasn’t any water left at the feed stations. It effected many racers who relied on it, but not us, because we pre-rode we knew how much water and energy to bring!
Wildwood Enduro When scheduling our Season, we decided to spend our week between the Bend Enduro and the Wildwood Enduro races by taking a vacation down the Oregon and California coastline. So as we typically do, we arrived at Fort Bragg, near the Wildwood race venue (our 1st 2 day Enduro) the day before the race. We realized that the posted Course Map wasn’t sufficient to direct us to and around the Jackson State Demonstration Forest, so we had to wait until 3:00 PM for Racer check in to see about better maps. We were pretty frustrated since many riders took advantage of the Race Promotor’s guided Tours of the course 2 weeks prior to the Event and had been practicing it ever since. The guided tour was something we couldn’t take advantage of anyway, because Wildwood was a 16 Hr round trip for Us! After we checked in we knew we needed to set up our camp because the camp areas were tight. By the time we finished setting up it was around 4:00PM. However, now we finally had details to get to the Race Course area! We went over to Saturday’s start area of the Enduro (Wildwood was a 2 day event) and were deciding whether or not at this late stage, a preride ride of just the 1st of 8 stages was even worth it, at this point! We knew, if we did more we would have been miles from where we parked and would have finished just 2 Stages late on Friday night. Brianne Spiersch, fellow Marin Bikes Racer convinced us it had to be somewhat helpful to preride at least one stage. So we did and came back to Camp and prepared our: bikes, bodies and gear for Saturday’s race. My race started at 9:00am and I was glad that I had already prepped myself for the race. All but one of the stages on Saturday were narrow, difficult, tree lined trails with lots of blind corners and super sharp, blind switchbacks. After each stage I kept thinking to myself, “it would have been so nice and beneficial to pre-riden that trail”! The final stage was the one we pre-rode and I felt like that was the one I did best on because I knew what was coming up on the trail! Sunday went just the same way as Saturday, the trails were very tight and technical with lots of ruts, sharp corners and undulating terrain which put me at a disadvantage not knowing what to expect. In the end I came away with a 7th place in the U18 category. I’m certain, difference between my results at Bend and Wildwood proved how vital it is to pre-ride! Whether or not my family can get me there beforehand, with sufficient time to do that is another question!
I truly belive that no matter how skilled you are, if you don’t Pre-ride and Prepare yourself you won’t be highly successful. The Bend and Wildwood Enduro races are perfect examples of how pre-riding and NOT pre-riding can effect your race! So next time you consider whether or not to pre-ride and prepare yourself, just remember that it could cost you a lot more, like a serious crash, than just the top spot on the podium!