4 Reasons Why You Should Enter a Race This Year - Opinion

May 1, 2018 at 16:11
by Mike Kazimer  
Spinning Circles Mike Kazimer


Summer is on its the way in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that racing season has officially arrived. If you've always meant to try a race but somehow never got around to it, or if you've been in self-imposed retirement for a few seasons, there's no time like the present to add a couple events onto your calendar. They don't need to be massive undertakings either – some of the best races are the small, relatively unknown local events, the ones where it's just you and your buddies racing for glory and a few bucks of prize money.

I know, I know, racing's hard. It's expensive. It requires traveling away from your familiar home trails, and there's a good chance that at the end of the day someone other than yourself will be standing on top of the podium. So why do it? Because of the way you'll feel when it's all over. The sensation of crossing a finish line knowing that you gave it your best shot, that you pushed yourself as hard as you could is something special, something that's hard to achieve while out on a 'regular' ride.


Sam Shaw took a bit of a faceplate on stage 6. This is also the same section that took out Martin Maes with a dislocated shoulder.
Nobody ever said racing was going to be easy.


1. It will force you out of your comfort zone

The potential for pain isn't exactly the best way to convince someone to sign up for an event, but pain, whether it's mental or physical, is part of what makes racing such a worthwhile endeavor. It might not seem like it when you're dry heaving and seeing red, or picking yourself up off the ground after pushing too hard to beat the clock, but after the fact it's the most grueling, physically taxing events that tend to make the strongest impressions.

It's all too easy to get stuck in a rut, comfortably riding the same well-worn path day after day. Having a go-to loop is all well and good, but it's important to mix things up, to step out of your comfort zone in every once in a while. Racing introduces all sorts of unknown elements, forcing your brain cells to fire in new ways as the flood of information that comes with riding unfamiliar terrain at a high level of exertion is processed. It's a trial by fire method of progression, and when those endorphins are flowing you may find yourself riding sections of trail that didn't seem possible.


The locals having a lunch party with the one and only Krunk Shox.
Racing's a great way to meet all sorts of interesting people.


2. You'll make new friends

Racing may seem like an activity best left to Type-A extroverts, but even if you don't think there's a competitive bone in your body it's still worth giving it a try – you may be surprised what happens after that starting gun goes off.

Even if you finish dead last, and decide that racing's not for you, there's a good chance you'll meet a bunch of new friends along the way. Whether it's the volunteer holding the start list, the rider who stops to see if you need anything when they see you balled up in the bushes in the middle of their race run, or the friendly face selling burritos and hot dogs at the finish line, there's usually no shortage of happy, energetic, and just all-around good people that show up to races.

Mountain bikers can seem overly judgmental and standoffish if you spend too much time on the internet, but out in the real world it's a different story – other than a few outliers, the vast majority of riders and racers I've met over the years have been friendly, genuine people.


The Enduro Wet Series continues with a massive storm overnight in Colombia.
Knowing that you have a race coming up can make it easier to head out for a ride in less-than-ideal conditions.


3. You'll have even more motivation to get out and ride

Have you ever found yourself sitting on the couch after a long day of work debating between going out for a ride or eating a bunch of snacks and taking a nap instead? Yeah, me too. Having a race penciled in on the calendar can help tip the scales, providing the little nudge that's necessary leave the couch behind and head for the trails.

I'm a big fan of the 'ride a whole bunch without any structure' method of training, but if you want to take things a little more seriously there's no shortage of training programs out there that can be used to make your riding time more productive, and to get in the best shape possible by the time race weekend rolls around.


Some sections of stage 1 will reward those who can keep off the brakes.
Going fast is always fun.


4. It's FUN.

This is the real reason to race, one that sometimes gets overlooked amid all the obsessing about training and equipment selection. Going as fast as possible, hopefully faster than all of your friends – what's not to like? There's no speed limit between the tape, no park rangers to give you a ticket, or absentminded hikers walking their dog right up the middle of a downhill track to worry about. Instead, you're given the freedom to fire the booster rockets, to turn the rest of the world into a blur as your focus narrows to one objective: reaching the finish line as fast as possible. It doesn't get much better than that.


Utter elation from that first World Cup Elite win....
Ah, the sweet, sweet taste of victory.




Photos: @davetrumpore, @mdelorme



196 Comments

  • + 171
 There are some good sides to racing that I’ve enjoyed but honestly when it’s all over what I feel is disappointment. Like I’ve wasted a day (or even the whole weekend) when I could have been blasting tunes on my home trails, hammering my bike over a load of rocks or trying to fly. Not blowing a load of money on fuel and entry, not getting up at 5am and actually getting home in time to enjoy my family before work starts again. I know I’m the minority but for me racing sucks.
The bits I enjoyed - pushing limits, visiting new trails. You can do both without the race bit.
  • + 16
 Preach! Paying money for to ride a few stress filled laps as fast as you can down an unfamiliar track isn't my idea of a great time. Sure it is new experience but you get way more quality riding time just going out with your friends!
  • + 188
 Man, I couldn’t disagree more. For me, racing helps me elevate my game. Jump things I wouldn’t have usually done. Ridden lines that I would flat out refuse to do. Measure myself against a stop watch and every other rider. Ride new places that I wouldn’t have ridden otherwise.

The feeling of being on the start line, the sheer terror is what I live for. The only better feeling is coming in to the finish line on two wheels and feeling like you’ve put down a good run.

See y’all on the start line at Crankworx Les Gets.
  • + 28
 Of course you can push your limits and visit new trails without racing, but it's much easier to find the motivation to push your limits with the racing component. Sometimes you won't realize that you aren't pushing as hard as you can until you've got that racing component pushing you forward. I guess it depends on the person, but racing does that for many of us. And yeah, it's just a fun atmosphere, with new people to meet, all passionate about the same thing.

Disappointment? I've never felt it, and I've never been on a podium.
  • + 9
 I agree, I entered one race (even finished 2nd among first time racers), and can't really say it was fun. Maybe I'd enjoy enduro better (this was an XC race), but yeah, to pay the entry fee, spend all that time waiting to ride, not being able to go back and session, being stressed by trying to go fast... nah, just not what mountain biking is about to me. I'm more in it for the fun & adventure.
  • + 27
 Yes, you can do all that completely normal stuff on any normal day that you want, but it's the race atmosphere that makes all the difference at a race. If it's not for you, then I guess it's not for you.
  • + 23
 @jamesdunford: Word! My feelings exactly. I'm an old punter, but occasionally I'll sneak onto a podium and get a piece of tin. Hell just having a number plate on the wall of my f*ckin cubicle makes me feel good. Life is short - RACE SOMETHING! I think Kialani said that in her earlier interview today. I love that sweet taste of terror at the starting line too- I'm signed up for races in Sept and I get a couple of butterflies right now just thinking about it! No better way to push your limits.
  • + 16
 @jamesdunford: i’m with you..racing always allows me to push my limits and to raise my skills..even at 44 yo..even after several injuries..the thrill of being at the start gate with the 5 seconds beeps shaking your mind..priceless..
To me it’s the best way to challenge yourself..even if it takes time and money..it’s life..
Just to add a reason to the list..my little 3 yo kid enjoys coming to racing weekends more than being at disneyworld..paddock life sends him 7th heaven..
  • + 21
 Agree to a point. For some racing is the way to get motivated to push themselves. Im fairly introverted so having crowds around puts me off. For me riding is what motivates me to try harder, not racing.
  • + 5
 I agree with you Thom. I also raced for a few years and then i started enjoying riding when i was not racing anymore
  • + 1
 This!!! I always feel like I’ve wasted a weekend to pedal as hard as I can going down easier trails than I would normally ride
  • + 5
 Somebody came through and slapped a DV on all the pro-racing replies. SMH.
  • + 3
 I came to the comments to post the same thing. I respect racing and people that race a lot, but it's expensive and having to ride behind someone on a downhill is the worst. I'll always choose riding with my buddies on fresh trail over racing.
  • + 12
 Racing doesn't have to be expensive, in my home town of Fernie, BC I could enter I think 16 races between tooney tuesdays ($2 entry for non canadians) and our Thursday night DH series ($5 entry but you get a beer) all had draw prizes and prizes if you placed top three for the series. Super affordable, fun local trails, and a very laid back atmosphere. its what its all about. I raced XC in the early 90's and I tried the provincial enduro series. both of those where more serious, and much more stressful for me, they both got me in good shape but I didn't think the squeeze was worth it. I'll definitely do the local races again but I'll need a really good reason to hit the larger ones.
  • + 5
 @brownstone: I did one of those tooney races in Fernie last summer on a trip and it was amazing. I wish every town had something like that! I went home half in the bag Smile
  • + 8
 I've only done a few races, but I can take more positive things away from them than negative. My worst experience was my second ever race which ended up being one of the Welsh gravity enduro series (which somehow managed to fly over my head when registering). I'm not a bad rider, but compared to these guys and girls I was shit! I also missed the practice day so the first race runs I was crapping myself with how steep some of the stuff was, especially riding it blind. At the end of the day I think I ended up somewhere around 33 out of 37 in the normal male category. Was not a pleasant experience, but since then I can think of the whole experience and how I tackled the day, still competing against national racers and binning it on stages just to re-do that stage etc. etc. etc.... Basically I've become a better rider from it Smile
  • + 1
 Amen brother!
  • + 3
 @cogsci: well, it's only fun to win. Dissapointment is just a step to the big goal, that is to win. No pain no gain
  • + 8
 I guess using strava on my local trails doesn't count as racing right? Lol
  • + 7
 @ThomDawson I agree 100%. This year I decided no more paying to ride my bike. A bike trip with friends is always money better spent anyways.
  • + 3
 Totally agree. All four reasons do not apply to me, especially #4. Racing is not fun. The organizers are usually jerks and the competitive mood brings out the worst in everybody. And then there are the so-called "pros" that are really slow and hold things up. Casual racing is fun, but only up to the point before someone shows up treating it like high school sports tryouts.
  • + 1
 For sure. I just use Strava now and make my own DH tracks out of parts of trails to push myself. It's pretty fun, always different and near free!
  • + 10
 I suck at racing. It’s a skill on its own. Strava doesn’t count, not even close. On a race you have one shot at it and you have to deliver, ride closest to your full potential. That’s fkng hard. you have to set yourself realistic goals or forget it. That’s also hard but if you won’t set a bar for yourself, you’ll just end up bummed out.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: kind of why it's the same different for me. Racing, you learn a track, what you can and cant do. Decide risks then race. You race excepecting to finish so sometimes you don't push yourself as much on certain parts because you just want to cross the line. My problem is my goals are too high when i race and i risk to much and crash lol.

To me that's not worth it. It was fun a few times though and i would do it again just for fun. But not seriously
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: "Strava doesn’t count, not even close" x 2
  • + 3
 @excavator666: there are no hecklers around on your strava run, there is no dentist on S-Works, who you know he owns E-bike, whom you despise, who catches up on you on stage 1 because you made a mistake, who turns out to ride surprisingly well, and those things will fk with your head for next few stages. You won't be back tomorrow cuz your tyre burped and this time it won't. You won't try to hit that sketchy line with you had with 20% success rate. I suck at racing but these are some of the thigns I know play a big role when racing vs riding with buddies or Stravaing. I know people who are a bit slower than me on group rides, even if they try to nail it. And they beat me by 10-20s on a competition on local trails.
  • + 3
 Came here to say something similar. Have props. I have a bad combination of huge passion, very competitive and distinctly average ability on a bike that meant any buzz disappeared when I looked at the results sheet. After a decade of racing DH all over, getting deals I really shouldn't have and running my own team I quit and never enjoyed my riding so much as recently! Far more time on the bike in far less actual time too. Saying all that, racing gave me lifelong friends in and out of riding, social scene was great. If you haven't raced, it's worth trying. It's not for everyone though.
  • + 1
 @gravityslaves: I agree with all of that. Direct experience and feelings about it all are generally the same as yours. No team experience though. Props for still loving riding through it all!
  • + 0
 It Racing is a lot more fun, if you have a chance of winning!
  • + 1
 I seem to have way more fun on point to point mtb races like Ore 2 Shore and Iceman Cometh (and gravel) than I do short circuit mtb races. I'm signed up for Lumberjack 100 next month, it'll be my first time...I'm not sure how I feel about that yet lol.
  • + 2
 Its funny, I agree with both the for and against comments. Disappointment comes from having expectations about how you will perform, and failing. At races you can watch people who are just a bit faster ride sections you're struggling with and learn from them. And if you're the fast one, competitors push you to keep finding new ways to stay on top.
  • + 0
 Agree except for the sticking to home idea...out of town ride trips is where it's at for non racers.
  • + 2
 @jrocksdh: A semi famous guy once said, "life is racing, everything else is just waiting." I think it was James Hunt.

I love racing. I don't know how people can find the motivation to ride just for the fun of it, with no goal to aim for. In my experience, the disappointment comes not from losing, but from knowing you could have done better. I have only achieved that pure feeling a couple of times in my life, of finishing a race and being satisfied that I did as well as I was able to do. I will be angry with myself if I did not achieve what I was capable of. Those two races, I didn't win, but they made me feel satisfied with my performance, happy I gave my best, and crucially, gave me the hunger to work harder for the next one. Thom you mention family, and I feel the opposite. I feel I should be racing more and training more and my kids keep getting in the way. It just goes to show, racing is not for everyone. Just follow what you love. But to anyone who has never raced, how do you know if you will love it if you don't try at least once?
  • + 4
 @excavator666: i think strava is a useful app for race training, but id agree 100%, its not racing!
  • + 2
 @lyleo: that's what I think too and a great motivation tool as well, always like to go try to beat my time or just add mileage to my year.
  • + 5
 @jaame: I’m with you man in that I think everyone should try it. I honestly didn’t think there’d be so many who seem to agree with me. The weird thing is that I am competitive but, speaking for myself and the races I’ve done, I was happy with my results. That’s not why I felt deflated, quite the opposite cus I was chuffed with my results. But the competition and the results pale into insignificance to the amount of time and money I’ve wasted.
I get the same (if not more) kicks blasting trails with Neil Young singing to me, knowing I’ve gone faster, I’ve gone higher than the last run. And I can do that all day long; no queuing, no driving hrs to get there. And like I said I get home while the adrenalines still pumping to play with the little ones and have a beer.
I think what it comes back to (as do so many things in my life) is that I hate people and I don’t wanna spend my life in a queue.
  • + 3
 @jamesdunford: no pain no gain, totally agree man!!
  • + 1
 I think you're doing it all wrong mate!
  • - 2
 @jaame: what the fk is riding for fun anyways? Bullsht word, perfect excuse to not aspire to anything, to avoid being measured. Racing can be fun, riding fast can be fun, riding machine dug trail can be fun, deadlifting can be fun, clubbing a prostitute to death in GTA is fkng fun. The truth is some people have more fun riding bikes than others, and those who suck always have less fun. If you can do a couple of stupid tricks on parking lot, you’ll have more fun than dude who can’t. If you can style while jumping you are having more fun. So nobody come to me and say “no. I am riding just for fun” when I ask you whether we ride that gnarly trail or should we climb instead of shuttling. FUK HAVING FUN. You can experience way more than that. You can talk to God for fuks sake. You get ito flow mode and experience the universe. FUK FUN!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: fun vs competition. The goal of competition isn't to enjoy it. I guess for some people, the greater enjoyment comes from handing it to other people, rather than just enjoying one's self.
  • + 2
 @expat: I was going to say Steve McQueen but I thought no, it can't be. He wasn't even a racer! It was just a line from a film. What a letdown.
  • + 2
 @jaame: that was Steve McQueen.... And Yeh he raced.
  • + 1
 @makripper: I thought he was an actor, but I know he did that insane fence jump himself in the great escape
  • + 2
 @jaame: he was an actor, also a car racer and offroad dirtbike racer among other things. All the stunts he did in his movies including the movie Bullitt were done by him. Such a badass guy
  • + 2
 @jaame: my bad. Most of them were done by his old racing buddy bud ekins. He did some of it but not all and bud also did the fence jump
  • + 1
 @makripper: I knelt he was an awesome dude, I just was not aware he was a racer. I guess he did a bit of everything. James hunt came to mind because he was a funny c*nt, and a racer
  • + 1
 He also slammed a lot of smoo!
  • + 1
 @jamesdunford: Good man. Love it. Fast is life.
  • + 1
 @lyleo: Agreed. I love it too, but as we say, it's definitely not racing.
  • + 1
 @clam-sandwhich: Agree 100%. The type-A, Tony Robbins worshiping, "no pain, no gain" archetypes bring a soul-sucking douchebaggery to racing that negates anything positive for me. Fun and fitness, that's why I ride. I don't need racing for those goals.
  • + 55
 Racing has pushed my riding to levels I didn't think I could achieve...whether it's a super muddy track or a drop/jump I would'nt have normally considered doing. I also learned how to properly corner because so much time can be lost in turns. I am hooked on racing, and feel like I will get lazy/slow over time if I stop....plus hanging medals in your man cave beats KOMs any day!
  • + 36
 All i know is that i hit a line repeatedly in Durango back in 2003? that Peat ,Rennie and Gracia wrecked on. It was the highlight of my sad racing career and yes, i really wanted to tell that to somebody and am using this story as the stage to do it.
Look at me! Look at me!
Also, racing is that one thing i can look back on that 00001% of the world will ever experience. It can be surreal. Especially, if you can do it next to the big boys. You get to see really how bad you suck .Its an eye opener.
  • + 10
 @scary1: No kidding. I had to race dual slalom against Vanderham maybe 15 years ago and it was pretty ugly.
  • + 5
 @scary1 Larry you're my hero.
  • + 2
 @TEAM-ROBOT: you were mine first! ...actual fast guy
  • + 5
 @scary1: try racing at your local mountain when gwin is there, then you really realize how much you suck
  • + 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: also ,better retorts please
  • + 0
 @dargside: kinda did that at bootleg. Its ridiculous. What's really sad is when you're technically in the same class but you can't actually imagine going that fast. it's time to go home then and quit.
  • + 6
 @scary1: Me and 237 other riders will lining up against Brosnan and Fearon this weekend in the local gravity enduro. Wish me luck!
  • + 6
 @watermouse: Nice! Kill it. Brosnan is tiny, no power!:/
  • + 3
 @scary1: So Brosnan got pipped by Fearon in Elite today. But the two legends were hauling and still were handing out the medals at the end for all the other categories. I got 3rd in "Expert" or B cat. First podium ever. yesss!
  • + 2
 @watermouse: great job,congrats! You might catch the bug with results like that
  • + 49
 5. To remind you why you've avoided bicycle racers this whole time
  • + 2
 Can't upvote that enough Smile
  • + 3
 whats wrong with racers
  • - 1
 Lycra.
  • + 1
 races?
  • + 1
 Ha! Yep, what a bunch insufferable pricks we can be.
  • + 1
 Roger that.
  • + 29
 I tried racing. For me, though, mountain biking should be fun. It's an escape from responsibilities and time I enjoy with friends. The moment I added racing into the mix, it was no longer fun. I stressed about fitness, riding, and diet. I trained instead of doing things around the house. It became a whole new commitment and an investment. For some, the stress of beating the clock is an adrenaline rush, but for me, it's just more stress.
  • + 6
 Same here. I ride to de-stress and for time away from work. Makes me more bearable around my wife/kids, ha-ha.
  • + 7
 Yep, I raced when I was younger...was fast enough that I was offered a spot on a team and given a free bike---I liked the bike I had and didn't want to miss waves if I had to race, so I turned it down but rode with the team and trained(for fun). More recently I tried enduros and I'd smoke the laps during practice a couple days before race day...then on race day I'd avoid 2' drops, slide off turns...basically rode like a kook! I was over thinking, stressing about the time. I decided it took all the fun out of it for me, and that was it. I think a rider should give it a go, but it's not for everyone, that's for sure!
  • + 9
 I'm the same. I'm too competitive to race. Did one Enduro race, didn't do well and for a good 6 months afterwards all I could think about was what I needed to do to get faster. Clipping in, training, watching videos. All of a sudden riding wasn't about fun, it was about winning. That was my last race and will be forever.
  • + 4
 I race untrained and unfit and have a beer before each race, including morning Enduros. I go way faster in a race environment than I usually do on a fun ride, when I drink a lot more beer and look at all the plants and animals and mushrooms. 3 kingdom rides.
  • + 3
 That's why I approach races with not really caring other than being fit enough for it not be terrible. I just have fun and enjoy whatever I get out of it.
  • + 25
 I signed up for my first Enduro race at 49 and had a blast , it was a slippery muddy mess but totally worth it.
  • + 18
 The best parts of racing are closed courses with no hikers or uphill riders, the occasional fresh cut and/or private track you can't ride outside of the race, being pushed beyond your comfort zone, and competition among friends. The bad parts are expense, injury risk, bike wear and tear, and it's freaking hard. I'm also not a fan of the big races you have to plan months in advanced, give me more of the "show up after work with $25" type races please!
  • + 1
 That's a good point. Too much foresight and pre planning regarding entries is one of the biggest pains in the neck of racing.
  • + 18
 These are also 4 good reasons to ride bikes
  • + 12
 if you're one of the tough guys who never yields trail, hunts strava segments on busy days, cuts corners, etc... you owe it to the community to be put in your place in a race.
  • + 9
 I would love to race! But I have a partial disability and they will not seem to create a heat for persons like myself. I simply can't compete against someone who is completely able bodied. If if I don't at least have a glimmer of hope to win, why take the enormous chance. I sometimes hit 25 mph downhill, it's respectable for me and what I have going on :-)
  • + 21
 Not a single racer will disrespect the person who comes last, and if they do, that's how you figure out who is the douche bag real quick.
  • + 8
 Do you have to have a "glimmer of hope to win" in order to have fun or appreciate the experience? Establish your own wins, and raise the bar a little higher for yourself each time.
"Gees I'm glad I never entered a race, I saved myself from not coming first' - said no one ever on their deathbed.
  • + 9
 So, I don't have a glimmer of hope to win a single race that I enter. I race in a handful of races each year simply because it's fun and it's something different. I am drawn to the races where people mainly show up for fun (to be honest most mountain bike and cyclocross races are like that), but it's all about what you want out of your race. If you're there for a result, probably best to stay away. But if you are there to ride your bike and interact with some like minded folks, then go, have fun, and fight hard for that fun. Besides, the crowds don't usually show up for the fast guys at the local events. The crowds are there for their family, which usually happen to be the slow people.
  • + 2
 @EricLanglais: Bang on. I have entered a few races over the years, never to try and podium, but to enjoy the atmosphere.

My favorites have been the team 24+ hour races. Hang out with a bunch of friends, trade off on laps, and have a few beers in between your turns.
  • + 4
 @iamxitd There's a guy who raced a few times at the Trestle Gravity Series last year and one of his legs is amputated from the knee down... I have way more respect for that dude than someone who puts down the fastest time. Much respect to you as well!
  • + 12
 After a few years of racing back in the day. I hit my peak and now spend that race money on hookers / beer !
  • + 1
 now you spend the money on hookers, beer and blow - and the rest you just wasted?
  • + 12
 If they gave awards for loudest mouth-breather on course, I would podium ALL the time.
  • + 4
 Put that quote on all cross fit gyms in america
  • + 10
 There is just something about those beeps, that last deep breath, then BAM next few minutes are just a blast. No work, no wife, no kid, nothing but tires and freewheel making noise.
  • + 9
 Signed up for my first race just recently! The Buffalo Creek Enduro here in Colorado. I'm excited to give racing a try after trying to hone in on my skills for the past few years. From a kid who could hardly afford his first mountain bike to establishing connections with some big names in the industry, I couldn't be more excited; especially to get out for a day on the bike with my good friends!
  • + 3
 See you there!
  • + 2
 Yup- I'll be out there too!
  • + 8
 Nice article! I love racing bikes. I have been racing without interruption for 25 years. Some years lots of races, some years not so much. This year is a bigger one. I went to Sea Otter and raced Enduro, DS, DH, and XC (same bike), already one NSMBA Fiver (planning/hoping to do them all), and registered for my 3rd Singletrack 6. Hoping to get on some more XC racing too.

I have been riding so much over such a long time that I do like the motivation that racing provides. Also races get me out to ride awesome places I may not usually ride. One of my best rides of 2017 was taking my friend and repeating a large part of the Kaslo stage of Singletrack
6 2017 (we added a climb to The Monster for good measure).

I don’t usually stress out for results, even when I ised to win races. I either won or didn’t and I was happy either way with the competition and camaraderie. These days my only hope for winning is if everyone else DNFs but I am still happy to give it my best shot and see where I stack up. Also there are always fun little “races within the race” to keep things exciting.

Never raced road bikes yet. Maybe next decade.
  • + 8
 i agree a lot of the racing going on in the UK are let downs, no real effort put in to the tracks, transitions, they are like fun rides rather than racing, a chance for anyone to turn up with no effort and race

£47 to do a 10 mile loop and 3 stages

Saying this i guess i will still enter and race them as love racing just wish they was a bit more fun/technical/harder
  • + 2
 I get this feeling with some UK events but I did 'ard rock in 2016 and tweedlove in 2017 and they were both great, worth every penny. Racing stages at a bike park/trail centre that you could ride any other day of the week sounds less appealing.
  • + 0
 I have found the same, on the continent they will do a proper all mountain epic for 25euros with a feed station, proper stages ect... Some overpriced races in the south are dead as they rake out dead stages the night before and make a mint. They know they will make the same amount of money so they don't need to put effort in to build stages. However the races in Scotland look great and i'd like to sign up for one.
  • + 10
 "It's better to be a racer for a moment than a spectator for a lifetime." I don't know who wrote that, but it was a sticker in an old MTB mag about twenty five years ago.
  • + 5
 I'm certain that was written by a race promoter.
  • + 8
 "Mountain bikers can seem overly judgmental and standoffish if you spend too much time on the internet"

Scroll on down to the comments section ANNNDDDDD;

"Racing sucks"

"What a waste of time and money"

"Racers are the worst"

Congrats, guys! You really delivered.
  • + 9
 Doing my first enduro race Sunday, super excited to try a new form of racing at 47 years old and push beyond the comfort zone.
  • + 6
 If you live on the U.S. East Coast, you've got a glorious Enduro series right at your doorstep, with the Eastern States Cup. No excuses not to try it :-) I got hooked on the ESC series last year: Perfectly run races, great venues and a welcoming atmosphere; first-time racers are welcome, riders help each other out etc. There's even a kids class, and last year they did a mini-enduro event to introduce riders to racing.
  • + 6
 I've finished in dead last more times than I care to admit racing enduros. But I keep coming back because it's just too much fun. But through hard work and determination, I've gotten my best result to date this season, and I'll be looking to improve even further throughout the year!
  • + 6
 I started doing Bicycle Cafe twoonie DH races up in Canmore in the late 90's, best thing I ever did for my bike riding. All the local pro's would be there, kicking my sorry ass!
  • + 1
 My town is finally starting toonie races thus year, I'm so excited!
  • + 1
 YES! Thank you for the reminder to look into them! RMCC has been carrying these on now. Looks like I have an informal race schedule to partake in!
  • + 5
 I guess you have to answer the question "If you could wake up tomorrow and ride like someone, who would it be?" Who do you look up to?

If the answer is Rachel Atherton or Nino Schurter, then yeah, what are you waiting for?

If the answer is Semenuk or McAskill, what's the point? Why bother?
  • + 1
 Who?
  • + 5
 I hate all the anxiety race preparation creates for me, but once that race starts, all of that disappears. Competitive and survival instincts take over and it’s quite a gratifying feeling to cross that finish line, especially when your happy with your result. With XC racing I enjoy the internal struggle to push yourself even when your body is saying no, and the thrill of the hunt, it feels great to catch and pass someone especially when finishing a race.
  • + 4
 I've had great and horrible experiences racing. It is total BS to say its always just a bunch of cool people hanging out and pushing each other, but that does happen. There are plenty of people who suck at life but are good at racing. I've personally known some high level DH regional racers who put their passion for racing above even their own families. They ended up divorced and miserable it seems like the top 20 World Cup pros are way more humble and cooler than a lot of these local high level racers.
  • + 1
 Spot on. I see same thing in my neck of the woods--folks spouting off about how racing teaches all these powerful life lessons and whose personal lives are absolute train-wrecks.
  • + 4
 Racing is all well and good if your young. But the problem is when you have a mortgage, kids, full time job that you have to be able to do manuel labor at. Then you get injured pushing your limits to far. Who is going to pay those bills. Not only that but the cost of entry fees has just gotten stupid expensive. Then you have ppl sand bagging IE pro's racing your class or they stick you in a class that is way below your age group and I am sorry but the younger you are the more you are willing to hang it all out there. For me if I want to push my boundries I will just go ride with guy's that are 20 years younger then I am. Racing is not for everyone and I found that the more I raced the more I hated riding bikes.
  • + 2
 I found that the Veterans Class (which is guys in their thirties) is pretty empty of entrants. Then the Masters Class (guys in their forties) is jammed packed. I guess the masters have had their kids grow up enough to have some time, and the masters hit the training real hard and they go real fast.
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: Very true.
Same as racing BMX you see all the mid 30s guys who are back into it thanks to their kids.
They used to race so have no issues with speed, its just regaining the skills to go with said speed.
  • + 4
 I do get it, I'll be honest - I'm really not a great rider, and very much happy to ride within my comfort zone.

I've done a couple of local enduro's and the article is right, I've ridden obstacles I wouldn't normally do on a Sunday ride out, but because I'm between tapes and a couple (if that) of people are watching I force myself to send it. Don't get me wrong, success for me is not coming last - but I do get a lot of out it in terms of my riding....

I do get a bit bored of the hugely over competitive tools that find their way into any event - the majority of people I meet are spot on though
  • + 7
 Won the first race I entered (that wasn't industry related) in '94. Figured I peaked and never raced again..., Smile
  • + 3
 I just did a local xc race after 5+ years of "party" riding and zero real training. Its all about the climbs as it turns out. I am a much more skilled rider now but training is real. I really sucked at race pace climbing. Those roadies go up hill really fast and have the most peculiar time going down it. Some of the funniest crashes ever and totally worth the race fee. I also got lost and broke my chain so I have racer gold. Two perfect reasons for not winning.
  • + 3
 I grew up traveling around New England competing in trials meets and running cross country races but for some reason downhill racing seems really intimidating. Maybe I'll finally bite the bullet and sign up for one this year. Highland is practically in my back yard after all.
  • + 3
 Racing can be exhausting, expensive and sometimes disappointing...

BUT

It is a brilliant way of testing myself. I don't need to race anyones else but me! I am not a sponsored pro that needs wins to make a living.

What I love the most is the day before the race, testing lines with old friends and new other riders I just met (literally making new riding buddies). Putting a line together step by step and then on the race day putting it all together against the clock. It definitely makes me a better rider every time!

If it was easy, everyone would do it right?
  • + 2
 Race or don’t race, whatever floats your boat, but while you are waiting at the top of the mountain to begin your 16 minutes of downhill, I will be the guy quietly getting 14000 feet of descent that day.

And be nice to the patrollers, waitstaff and lift attendants, they all hate racers. Tip them, thank them, and smile.
  • + 2
 4) "or absent minded hikers walking their dog right up the middle of a downhill track to worry about".... I have onboard footage somewhere of a person walking uptrail, inside the tape, that I just missed in the air popping out of the woods.
  • + 2
 For me the best part about racing is the training. That’s where moat learning is done. It’s like a learning seminar/ workshop. If you are smart enough you’ll position yourself so that you can observe good riders in places that are tricky in more or less obvious manner. Sometimes you just look at them fixing with ease what looks like a tough problem, then they will blast an obvious spot brakeless, or brake lots to take a few simple corners in a better way. Then you can try it yourself, force yourself to do something you normally wouldn’t try and take that with you for your regular rides.
  • + 6
 Racing Gravity MTB at any level is all about the community
  • + 2
 That racing stress is really pushing your limits if you try hard and you do more then "I'm pussy and I just enjoy my riding" type of racing. Enjoy racing. Enjoy that you are exhausted. Also thing about riders that are slower. Winning can mean not being last.
  • + 2
 I'm 47 this year and have been riding (seriously) for 4 years now. Entered a couple races two years ago and got slaughtered. Taught me how to be a better rider though and even though I'm closer to 50 than 40, I'm proud of my fitness and skills that I've developed. Riding tough, steep and technical trails is my go to because I pushed myself. I'm not a racer by any stretch of the imagination but I will be doing the EWS Challenger in Whistler this year and the Trans Sierra Norte in Mexico. Bucket list shit (when paying a mortgage and raising 3 kids at home). I love the culture, adrenaline and being close to nature. Doesn't have a thing to do with winning. It's all about the beers and and laughs
  • + 2
 I'm on the "racing is good" side here. Got up to SS Cat1 here and it no longer became fun. The amount of time required to be a mid pack (or better) racer lost all its appeal. I wanted to be able to take time away from a bike to surf and do other fun shit w/o having to stress about not training for a race. Took time off, bumped back down to cat2 and taking a new mental approach to it this year. But in general, I've ridden many places because of racing I otherwise never would've. Private land trails, and getting to push myself more than normal at these places b/c of marked courses so I don't get lost. On top of that, finding local brew pubs, restaurants, and sightseeing became a side bonus to traveling to races that were a few hours away from me. I've missed it. Glad to be back racing again!
  • + 2
 Riders ready.......watch the light......racing brings me back to a time when that's all that mattered. Nervous stomach, stressed out lines, gate drops and poof, everything fades away. I enjoy the sport and competition pushes me to step put of my comfort zone. Racing gives me the confidence to be better at every thing I do.
  • + 4
 Super D was the "working man's" race. A race you could show up to on your trail bike and win. Great idea. What happened to that?
  • + 2
 They had one in Queenstown for a few years, it was brilliant. Six hours and used the gondola to take you to the top. There were enough shitty, vomit inducing climbs to stop anyone using a DH bike though one absolutely mad lass was on a Giant DH Comp one year. Each year I'd look forward to it, I'd be shitting myself on the start line, halfway down the first lap I was wishing I hadn't come. By my second lap into the groove and by my last lap I was eager to finish and have a beer without killing myself. I'd wake up broken the next day and all I could think about was next year... Bring it back!
  • + 1
 We still have them in UT. Plus the Mid-Week MTB races that are usually a little tamer and done on our regular trails.
  • + 2
 Raced a couple of fivers (NSMBA) last year.

The last one sent me to the hospital (everything was fine, just cautious) and broke my helmet.

Still, so much fun! Definitely going to try a couple this year as well. What will I break this year? Wink

That said, fivers are an after-work, $5 affair, I don't know how much more time / energy I'd invest in it.
  • + 2
 Racing is super fun if you don't take it too serious. I use to have a blast!!! go get my Ricky Bobby on, thinking I did well, come in dead F@ck'n last. oh well....

Usually leave with dirt in my teeth from at least one OTB crash and eating A$$.

Going through the nasty rock garden and one of your homies is trying to spray you with beer, while the other is yelling at you through a mega phone to go faster, just in time for you to see some random dude mooning you before the quick right turn and you fly off course. Try and hurry to get back up so fast you don't notice the 10 feet of Shimano course marking tape that you are dragging behind you all the way across the finish line, looking like a goon leaving the restroom with a long strand of toilet paper stuck to your shoe .

Every one should experience a good race and have fun with it. Drink a beer off your head and bug the Sh@t out of vendors for free stickers.
  • + 3
 I'm about to die, doing my first race in two years, first as grand vet, on a massively rebuilt track for the Sheffield Steel City Race. Weirdly I'm kinda up for it...
  • + 1
 It is too expensive for how much riding you get. To race a NW Cup it is $90 for 5 hours of riding over two days. That is ridiculous. I could spend way more time riding for way less at any other bike park or on home trails. Plus you only get to ride one trail. I agree it is fun, but it is insanely expensive. Not too mention travel and lodging costs.
  • + 4
 I love the " I've got some koms on Strava so I must be fast "
Enters first race .

Comes last !!!
  • + 3
 Good little write up. I’m getting back into DH racing. Doing 5 or more this season. It’s fun and you make lots of friends
  • + 6
 5. Beer
  • + 2
 Definitely! The 25 dollar entry fee local races that include a beer ticket are my favorites. You can do a whole series for the price of a single enduro.
  • + 1
 Going into my first race in about 10yrs (last one was the Yeah Bro! Challenge up at Sub Peaks and before that, it was 24hrs of Adrenaline at Silverstar back in....2000?!? Maybe??) at end if month. Excited, nervous, positive, pumped are some words that I’m using...so far!! Haha!! Never raced with my CX (it’s the Golden Ears Gravel-fondo) bike and had option of using my mtb. Like the article says, getting out of my comfort zone. Haven’t been riding on clip ins in a while too, so that will be diff!! Can’t wait though. First or last, don’t really care. Just want to enjoy the peeps, the atmosphere and the cold drinks after!!! Lol!!
  • + 1
 #4- "or absent minded hikers walking their dog right up the middle of a downhill track to worry about".... I have onboard footage somewhere of a person walking uptrail, inside the tape, that I just missed in the air popping out of the woods.
  • + 1
 I live in a pretty flat area with only a few riders and racing was a way to get involved in the wider mtb community and see who else is riding out there, plus ride some new trails. First race was a national level race and it didn't suit me at all - I really enjoyed it but the format resulted in me riding with 2 well faster blokes behind me who passed me on nearly every stage - I don't wanna mess up a faster person's race run so would get well out of their way and move on. Then tried the PMBA races: way more chilled out, no seeding but elites go last so are not held up by the likes of me and just a good atmosphere all round. It made me progress - no doubt about it - some of the ugly steeps that they put in I would have bailed on if I was on a local ride but in the race I just went for it and realised that I get down more than I thought I could. I'm never hitting the top step (or even the 20th!) but I enjoy having something to train for and feeling that I am progressing as a rider. Picking the right race for you is paramount!
  • + 1
 I had a spot the the Trans BC enduro this coming July....one badly broken collarbone and shoulder separation will now keep me from attending. Heart broke when I heard it snap, maybe next year depending on mental and physical recovery. Really want to challenge myself to some racing before my body forces me to mellow out. Until then its checkers or wreckers!
  • + 5
 I am doing it, Carcross and Whitehorse Enduro here I come.
  • + 3
 It’s good fun!
  • + 3
 I tried it and think XC is not my type of riding. Too bad there are no Enduro or DH races near me, I would definitely ride those with passion.
  • + 1
 I love the build up to race weekend. Pretending that I'm eating better like some professional. Then telling my wife "babe I have to go ride, this weekend is the race" and her so nicely encouraging me to go.
  • + 0
 #4- "or absent minded hikers walking their dog right up the middle of a downhill track to worry about".... I have onboard footage somewhere of a person walking uptrail, inside the tape, that I just missed in the air popping out of the woods.
  • + 0
 Agree with all the reasons for racing, but one big reason not to - entry cost! If anyone knows any local budget gravity events in Scotland/North England, let me know! Smile I haven't raced for 10 years, but I kinda miss it - did quite a few of the Scottish Downhills and Winter Series at Innerleithen, as well as the early NEFA Chopwell DH races c.2001 - chilling with the Northern lads when things were simple, costs were low and stoke/fun was high! (People airing the 20ft tabletop at night while drunk!) I was always crap, but that didn't matter, just liked trying to do my best and hopefully improve my times. Highlights were that race run feeling and being pushed to ride faster/harder than normal, and the beery comradeship around the campfires on the Saturday nights.
  • + 5
 Better get some beer
  • + 4
 I'm just at the races for the merch
  • + 2
 Got my first race this weekend. Haven't rode my bike in over a month due to being away for school. This will be a very interesting experience.
  • + 2
 My comfort zone is exactly why I don't go racing lol. DH mountain biking is seriously dangerous. Me taking risks is a sure fire way to end up in the hospital.
  • + 4
 agreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 I loved racing but then miricals of miricals i go out for a muck about dh ride on south downs and break my shoulder no more DH for me #shitluck lol
  • + 4
 First mtb race ever this weekend with some buddies! I'm so pumped!
  • + 2
 I love racing anything anytime ever since I was a kid! It’s either in you or it’s not
  • + 2
 The feeling of riding the local trails for fun when fit from honest hard race training is beyond compare.
  • + 2
 Racing wil make your bike age 3x faster than not. After two season I just quit...
  • - 1
 So you can win a bunch of gift certificates and when you try to use them they will all be b*******. Thanks FBI suspension and worldwide Cyclery. Love the BS prizes that are worthless you gave out for the southeast Triple Crown Enduro.
  • + 2
 Im hoping to race Northstar CES this year. It would be my first race since my bmx days over 15 years ago.
  • + 2
 It’s many too expensive for me. Parts and bike worn out, travel and entry.
  • + 3
 You won’t know unless you go.
  • + 3
 First race attempt for me this Sunday - Yew!
  • + 2
 Hell yes. Getting into racing this year. It's gonna be fun. Need my new Capra delivered first....
  • + 1
 I think I quit racing when i remember budgeting a National round at Tasmania and it would've worked out to more than $100 per run....
  • + 1
 I went to a local xc race on the pre-ride day and did a few laps. The course just wasn't very fun at all. I couldn't imagine enjoying myself racing it. So I went home.
  • + 6
 Try a gravity event.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: nothing better than getting really high before dropping in
  • + 1
 @properp: Unless it comes with a psychologist, not so much.
  • + 3
 That can't be Sam Gaze in the last picture. He's got the wrong fingers up.
  • + 2
 exactly the reasons I go to races...
  • + 2
 I have been raceing for 26 years of xc .
  • + 1
 I wish i had the time to race.
  • + 1
 "So the promoters can make big money!"
  • + 1
 Bye bye 2018. Did so big damage on knee that i ll never again race.
  • + 2
 I race in a league
  • + 4
 ...of my own
  • + 1
 @H3RESQ: ah
aha

i do race in the utah mtb league
  • + 3
 PinkBike UCI DH Fantasy league? Me too!
  • + 0
 take the time to enjoy great things is better sry
  • - 2
 Doesnt suprise me how many negative to racing comments on PB. If they were racing for the first comment, upvote or downvote then I'll bet they would enter.
  • + 1
 ‘gotiim’
  • - 1
 No
  • - 2
 WHICH COMPANIES SHOULD I HASHTAG????
  • + 19
 #whyareyouyelling?
  • + 5
 So unfortunate to see these posts from such an epic Pinkbike name Shreddie.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.057580
Mobile Version of Website