Pinkbike Poll: Would You Rather Race in the Mud or the Dry?

Oct 16, 2020 at 11:09
by Mike Kazimer  
The pull for the triple out of the stumps is not for the faint of heart considering how little grip exists.

The conditions for this year's elite downhill races have been challenging, to say the least – it turns out that sunny days are a little harder to come by in mid-October. From the axle-deep peanut butter at Leogang to the slimy roots and tricky, slippery, wide open turn at the start of the track in Maribor, racers have had to use all of their bike handling and line choice skill just to make it to the bottom without crashing.

We've seen some of the expected names end up on the podium at World Champs and the first World Cup races, but there have also been some relative surprises, riders who excel when the conditions take a turn for the worse.

Remi Thirion is one rider who comes to mind – whenever the track is extra greasy and technical he seems to thrive, while other riders, especially ones who spend most of their time training in dry, sunny conditions, fall back into the middle of the pack.

Last year s runner up Ramoain Paulette in the same spot this year after day 2
The opposite of mud.

Wet weather riding isn't for everyone – plenty of riders prefer to stay inside and enjoy the comforts of home until the sun decides to shine again. And there are those who don't mind donning waterproof everything and heading out to splash around in the woods for a couple hours.

There's also the fact the not all riding areas can (or should) be ridden when it's wet out – soil with a high clay content can turn to an ugly mess in the wet, leading to an unrideable bike and unnsessary trail damage.

For the purposes of this poll, take any trail-related concerns out of the equation and put yourself in the shoes of a downhill or enduro racer, even if you don't have any plans of ever competing in real life. Race day is fast approaching, and the weather could go either way. Would you rather race in the rain and mud, or would you prefer it to be dry and dusty?

Would you rather race in muddy or dry conditions?




151 Comments

  • 317 2
 I just hate cleaning my bike... There I said it.
  • 86 0
 This is a safe place to share. Thank you!
  • 24 4
 ride in the rain, constantly washed.
  • 5 0
 You are not alone.
  • 12 0
 I hate the cost to bike and gear that mud racing brings. I love riding in the mud and performed better on race days, mostly. But the added expenses (and time) rebuilding everything after each race was rough.

Muddy riding is way easier on the bike compared to mud racing. Tracks get annihilated.
  • 7 0
 It has rained all day today. I will be out riding tomorrow. I will have fun. I will hate having to clean everything once I get back though.
  • 18 0
 I just leave it in the garage dirty
  • 2 0
 Preach it brother!
  • 11 0
 I walk around puddles ... I tell myself it's a trail etiquette thing, but it's mostly cuz I'm a priss.
  • 2 0
 thought i was the only one who did this. i have had several friends ask if i ever was my bike. which i reply, i wipe the seat and clean off the chan. @iantmcg:
  • 6 0
 @Dangerhill: Wait, wut? Why would you wash your bike? It's just gona get dirty, in fact, that's what it's supposed to. Wipe my chain off before adding some lubs, sometimes I'll broom off the chunk wen it dries, but7 that's just so it doesn't get all over the garage or in my van.

Washing your bike is like washing your car ... twice a year just to get some wax on the paint Wink
  • 1 1
 Not one ride where I didn’t have to wash my bike this year.....not ONE.....thanks for giving us a space to whine a bit.
  • 4 1
 @fabwizard: Lol, as I nod along and know that my bike sounds like a shopping cart.

@YTIndustries part of the horrible creak is on you and the crack in the rear chainstay from the hole you drilled in my bike. Get your poop in a group. 3.5 months and counting!
  • 5 0
 @nurseben: I'm guessing you live in a relatively dry climate. I'd need an excavator to find my bike if I just let the mud dry after each ride.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: just never stop...
  • 1 0
 @Dangerhill: Post muddy ride:
Step one: Always finish the seat wipe with a flushable wet nap,
Step two: clean your bike
Step three: fix all the broken stuff
Step four: go ride
  • 3 0
 @nurseben: I could not care less about aesthetics, but washing the bike helps me find the broken stuff :-)
  • 1 0
 Don't forget the kit.
  • 6 0
 @mountaincross: Those “flushable” wipes often aren’t actually safe to flush. They don’t disintegrate in water the way toilet paper does. You want to test your specific wipe to see if it disintegrates in water, or just throw them in the garbage instead of the toilet.
  • 2 2
 Many would argue dusty and dry conditions are harder on your bike.
  • 1 0
 Bike will be fine but it will destroy the trails. Instead, tires may actually last longer in the wet than in the dry.
  • 1 0
 Yep. I love cooking but hate doing the dishes.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: Supposedly better etiquette to ride through puddles rather than around since riding around causes erosion and trail width increase.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I practice my manuals through puddles. Hasn't helped, still suck at them.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: I suck at them regardless of conditions.
  • 1 0
 @MaplePanda: Hey friend didn't want to put you on the spot but now that the smoke has cleared here is some FYI:
Wipes labeled “flushable” are specifically engineered to be flushed and safe for plumbing and sewer systems that are properly designed and maintained. www.responsibleflushingalliance.com/myth_vs_fact#:~:text=FACT%3A%20Wipes%20labeled%20%E2%80%9Cflushable%E2%80%9D,are%20properly%20designed%20and%20maintained.
The Responsible Flushing Alliance is a group of trade associations, companies and wastewater sector advocates interested in addressing the true causes of clogging and debris accumulation problems in the wastewater infrastructure. This group believes that elevating consumer awareness of what should and should not be flushed, combined with responsible labeling of products that could inappropriately be flushed, are both important elements of addressing these problems. Thus, this website is intended to provide factual information and data on the issue to counter the high level of misinformation communicated in the media on this issue.

Ride On!
  • 1 0
 @mountaincross: Thank you, did not know that! I must have heard that myth somewhere and kept regurgitating it all along.
  • 58 0
 Hero dirt is the obvious choice, the day after a rain is perfect.
  • 28 0
 maybe once or twice in a lifetime you'll visit a bike park for a few days where it will be warm (not too warm!) and sunny during the day, but every night between the hours of midnight and 3am you'll get a light rain. Also the crowds of people will all stay at home and the trail crew will be way ahead on their maintenance.
  • 27 0
 @plyawn: and the rainbow will be in the sky, and craft beer will flow in every stream...
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: we can live in hope.
  • 9 0
 @plyawn: and the only other riders will be hot girls/guys (depending on your personal preference) and all Palestinians and Israelis will sing in harmony at the entrance! By the way, if you ever experience this, know you've most likely died and apparently lived a good live!
  • 10 0
 In other news, surveys say most skiers prefer deep powder days to 3 week old hardpack. More news after the weather at 10pm.
  • 2 0
 @used-couch-salesman: I know right??
  • 14 0
 @Slabrung:

Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Aspen.” “I don't know Lloyd, the French are a*sholes
  • 1 0
 Hero dirt is by far the best. That should have been an option in the poll.
  • 33 1
 Wetter than an otters pocket.
  • 14 0
 "Wetter than a whale with bladder infection!!"
  • 4 0
 Classic Surrey hills track guaranteed to soak the toes for at least 9 months of the year!
  • 3 0
 @MrAngry:

Yep. Rode there last year and it poured all day!
  • 4 0
 Dripping like a knackered fridge.
  • 1 0
 @MrAngry: and guaranteed to take 200km life off your chain in one gritty sandy splash!
  • 3 0
 To be honest I'd rather live in a really wet place where the terrain doesn't mind being ridden when wet, rather than where riding in the (occasional) wet would cause substantial trail damage. After all, people in those wet densely vegetated places can always go out riding. Human skin is perfectly fine dealing with wet and cold. Or you can splash your money on appropriate clothing. All well worth it if it implies you can go out riding.
  • 32 0
 Some of us don’t get a choice
  • 24 0
 I live in Santiago, Chile. What means wet?
  • 4 0
 Trade you, you can discover what wet is here.
  • 4 2
 when you have your hot sext chilean girls around you.
  • 1 0
 I invite you to come over to Germany to experience the mighty force of water and mud!

I went for a nice and small 2 hour, 25km trail ride today and even my underwear was fully soaked afterwards.
Not because the trails were that gnarly but because of the water that came from above and below me.

Of course I wore waterproof clothing (Platzangst Pants, Jersey and Jacket - a really nice small german clothing manufacturer which I can’t recommend enough! Their slogan is „progressive freeride“ since the mid 2000s) but the water crept up my legs, arms, down my neck and through every zipper on my clothes.
Oh and the former black color of my ridewear turned to a nice stooly brown after the first few kilometers.

So if you want to have a taste of how wet and muddy Mountainbiking can get, let me introduce you to autumn/winter time in the beautiful Harz mountains of Germany!
Maybe after that you could show me how to eat dust in the chilean desert!
  • 1 0
 @Pukeproof: If you ever come to Chile, contact me at @waldouribe!
  • 1 0
 Southern California. And in my specific area even when it does rain (rare) the trails dry so fast that I am riding the same day.
  • 18 0
 I’ve always said it, Someone who can ride well in the wet can ride well in the dry, although someone who can ride well in the dry struggles in the wet. Although this weekend doesn’t prove my theory because Reece didn’t race. Anyway, I definitely think riding in the wet for a month improves technical ability more than dry riding.

Also prefer watching riders race in the wet!
  • 5 0
 When we talk about world cup they all ride well on the mud, but on dry tracks top riders don't just ride well they just have inhumain speed
  • 4 1
 Actually your theory was proven by the franchies and brits doing well, while Americans (mostly either from warmer southern or western regions) did poorly. This could be even more evident if the race Sunday is dry, and the former category do well with a mix of the latter in there also.
  • 5 1
 @wvanlogg: I wonder how much that there was little to no racing in US this year. Couple races months ago. A lot of European racers were out racing in France. How much does lack of racing also play a part here too?
  • 6 0
 @wvanlogg: Gwinn had an amazing run in the rain a MSA so I don't think there's really a pattern.

Living in Pittsburgh, we rarely see truly dry conditions. Most of the year is mud. As a result, i've got great wet weather skills but am useless when it gets dry and dusty. No clue how to corner on ball bearings and baby power. Give me teflon peanut butter and i'm good to go.
  • 1 1
 @dfiler: Ya that's true, in fact I was there on that day... but considering all conditions he's won in, there tends to be a general trend its either dry or hero dirt. I'm not saying or ever said he's a bad rider, just think the general trend @thetoro mentioned holds true. @mfoga, that's another great question! On one hand you have loris who raced the same amount as Bruni (pre-world champs) but the former has pace the latter (both in WC, World Champs and French Nationals) seems a little off. Another way of looking at it is, Gwin openly acknowledged he focused on himself (health, happy new marriage, travels) where Finn Iles seems to have focused on racing. While Finn continues to have similar/familiar problems, in my humble opinion similar to Bruni at the early stage of his career, I think Finn has pace and Gwin doesn't. To bring it back to the question, I think it's just what they made of the off time, not necessarily racing per say. But again, all humble opinion and happy to be proven wrong come Sunday! Smile
  • 3 0
 Throw a wet weather rider in some steep loose dust. We'll see how they perform then.
  • 1 0
 @thetoro though they say rain is the great equalizer...
  • 27 6
 I ride for fun, so I'd rather not race at all, thanks.
  • 11 3
 If you’re not first you’re last
  • 10 1
 Racing is fun
  • 14 0
 @McArdle: if you don't drink with me, you are drinking against me.
  • 6 0
 @McArdle: I'm first at fun among me
  • 1 0
 @McArdle: “My 100% not giving a shit beats your 8% faster.” ~Stevil of California
  • 1 0
 @McArdle: I'm last... a lot.

I do love XC racing, but not XC riding. I love DH riding, but not DH racing.
  • 10 0
 Wet wet wet
I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toooes
Love is all around me
And so the feeling grows ...

Reece Wilson , ( 2020 Champion du mondo mofo )
  • 8 0
 POV: If you say you like riding mud, you have dirt that manages moisture well. Mud for others means spending 3/4 of the ride prying dirt out from between the tire and the seat stay so the back wheel can rotate.
  • 3 0
 I would also like to add that sometimes this is just a state of mind. When I first started road racing motorcycles, racing in the rain terrified me, and a few crashes just reaffirmed that.

Then one day I kinda just reset my brain(we are all racing in same conditions etc... plus a bit of wet race coaching) and boom, racing became fun in the rain and i rocked it, from back of the pack to front.
  • 2 0
 You have a good point. I love riding in the wet but much of the soil found in the PNW doesn't stick to tires or bike much. As long as your tires have decently spaced knobs they will clear pretty well.
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of racing La Ruta De La Conquistadors, one section both front and rear wheels just stopped turning. (note everyone was jealous of Cannondale bikes with Lefty forks, they were the only ones who at least had front wheels turning).

Literally riding mud doughnuts.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: same same... except I was always fast in the rain, even on slicks as I was young and invincible (at the time).. was amazing how much traction was available in the wet! The good ol’days... ah well.
  • 1 0
 @WalrusRider: Just thinking that actually. It goes loam to rock and root real quick. Sure you have grit everywhere and a perma stain on the ass of any pants or shorts but we don't have heavy clay to bog us down. Speaking from the Sea to Sky area in BC.
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: reminds me of a local 4hr xc race I did a few years back - the most important bike accessory was a stick to poke the mud out so the wheels would rotate - literally racing with a stick held between my hand and grip
  • 9 0
 The only time it's fun to race in the rain/mud is during a cyclocross race...
  • 9 0
 Riding wet trails is forbidden in the Midwest, so I couldn't say if I like it or not. No trails for you!
  • 4 0
 I don't race but I have way more fun splashing through puddles than worrying that the kitty litter is going to let loose in a corner. That being said my first lap in the rain this year resulted in a leg contusion sliding off a big root that has nagged me since early summer. Boo. Still did the best three laps of the year, then couldn't walk for a week.
  • 5 0
 Best riding is frozen firm, a touch of loose snow to keep it exciting, get on it before things thaw. Add in the quiet that comes with everything being snow covered, mmm, that's heaven.
  • 1 0
 Freshly frozen earth with a dusting of snow to fill in the small voids is just fast!
  • 7 0
 Is there a way that I can race in the dry while everyone else races in the mud?
  • 6 0
 Anything to give me the best excuse!
  • 5 0
 I don't care the conditions right now, I just wanna race!!! Frown
  • 2 0
 This is the correct answer.
  • 8 4
 Is this a real poll? Who would prefer slop over hardpacked, fast, and not loose?
  • 15 0
 me
  • 23 2
 Me.
  • 5 0
 Well, I for one. Answered your question?
  • 1 0
 not much of a choice in these parts a good chunk of the yearSmile @mikekazimer:
  • 5 0
 waaaaaaaay less people on the trails.
  • 3 0
 Like a pig in shit find me rolling in the mud. Especially for race day some people just freeze up in the mud those of us who spent any time riding in the PNW or England can thrive in those conditions.
  • 1 1
 @rickybobby18: people who cant win in the dry
  • 2 0
 Me, I'm far more used to wet conditions than I am dry so feel more comfortable on it. I find it very satisfying trying to go as fast as possible with my tyres sliding all over the place.
  • 1 0
 @ianterry: Mes like mud.
  • 4 1
 1000% prefer wet. When things get too dry, trails become terrifying and unpredictably slippery. In the mud, it's predictable—everything is slippery. And it's fun as hell.
  • 3 0
 @PeterWojnar: Totally agree.. I find the wet to be more predictable and fun (assuming I'm not freezing cold too). Some of my most memorable rides ever are 5-6 buddies just bombing through the rain, totally soaked, everyone riding on the limit and getting away with murder over slick roots, corners, etc. So good.
  • 1 0
 I enjoy riding in the mud a lot. Racing, not so much.
  • 1 0
 @PeterWojnar: and it doesn’t hurt to fall. You just slide!
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: Same is true in the 100F/35C conditions I enjoy Big Grin
  • 5 0
 I only race myself...but I still always come in last.
  • 1 0
 I picked dry and fast but I would never enter a race so I probably should contact pinkbike support and have them remove my vote. I get preferring mud for a race if you are fast but I never understand the people that prefer mud riding I general. Sure it is still fun and maybe I just suck at it but when it is muddy I never catch as much air or hit all the little side hucks.
  • 1 0
 I've only raced downhill, from '03-'07. I always enjoyed practicing and racing in the dry, but always had my best results in the wet gong-show races. I think I enjoy dry better, but my skill-set is better suited to slower uber-tech than flat-out speed, so I answered "Mud Master".
  • 1 0
 "dry but not loose, hardpack and fast" lmao....canadian website has canadian answers.

Loose or wet would be my preference as a spectator...not sloppy like last week though.

As a racer...all i know is dry and loose, so I guess I'll take that.
  • 1 0
 Wet conditions suck. Slower, more slippery on the roots, grinding paste on the bike. At best you can say just get out there and make the best of it you can. Here in the UK we have had a really dry year, not used to the slop we are getting now. However a cold dry autumn or winters day is ace.
  • 1 0
 I don't race.
I rode across that bridge long ago. Besides if you go slower, you can see more. insert pic of 'Two Turtles having sex on the trail'> It's not something I was looking for and it's not something you can unsee.
Just sayin,
Me
  • 4 0
 In Ireland you don't get to choose
  • 1 0
 I had a 24 hours race once in the mud. As long as it's actively raining the mud doesn't stick as much. If you're willing to tough it out a lot more people quit so they can use the conditions as the excuse.
  • 2 0
 I‘d like my ground moist and loamy pls, no rain all day, but not to hot either ... a martini at the finish line would be nice, too
  • 2 0
 These World Cups have been super fun to watch. The wet masters have gotten to shine. This shows me we need more diversity in conditions so the best everywhere is who wins
  • 1 0
 By hardback I read bikepark, which isnt racing, its park Mix it, natural, root rocky, not sanitized, not berms for every corner. Something that needs some technical skill. Hero dirt...
  • 2 0
 Wet races are aways way more memorable. Plus I love being able to pin it the whole time without overheating.
  • 3 0
 Soft over hardpack, loamy... too dry slides like mud.
  • 1 0
 The Colorado option: forget mud, I want it frozen and snowy for my race run. This has happened more than once in the Monarch Crest Enduro.
  • 1 0
 Who in the actual f*ck would prefer racing in the mud and wet? I guess if you want to slow the whole field down it’s better but that kind of defeats the point of racing
  • 1 0
 Missing from poll: "I prefer to quali last, then race before anyone else on dry and enjoy the torrential rain falling right after my run"
  • 2 0
 Welsh riders - "wait, you mean some people have trails without water on them?"
  • 1 0
 Kinda depends really?
We talking Leogang mud like last week or Maribor mud?
If Leogang.... f*ck right off that's a hard no!
Maribor, yeah give it a go mate!
  • 2 0
 Wet. That’s why they call me mud butt
  • 8 0
 That might not be the only reason...
  • 3 0
 Slow down in the bbq ribs!
  • 2 0
 Mud and snow can be a ton of fun, but only up to a point...
  • 2 0
 its my only chance to win.
  • 4 0
 The point where you have to clean the bike?
  • 2 0
 Perfect weather races only. Mud is expensive.
  • 2 0
 Love riding in the mud, also hate cleaning my bike afterwards.
  • 2 0
 Depends where, BC rocks rather in wet then under dust, Alps dry please
  • 2 0
 No choice, ride whatever.
  • 3 1
 The race is always on!



Welcome to Strava Smile
  • 4 1
 Penmachno...
  • 2 0
 Great trail but bring a snorkel.
  • 1 0
 Luckily the river the trail was built under washes the mud away.
  • 1 0
 Rode in keystone in the height of summer a few years back scared myself shiteless. Much more used to slower and wetter Big Grin
  • 2 0
 I think I am close to the same speed in the wet or dry... slow
  • 1 0
 Well, it's best to ride when ground is moist enough not to be dusty but also not wet.
  • 2 0
 I'm British, like there's a choice! :'D
  • 2 0
 ...other?
  • 5 0
 That lovely point when it’s been dry, rained enough to change from dry & dusty to Hero dirt... other every time please.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I am going to go with "Hero Dirt" as well.
  • 2 0
 @MrAngry: what's the fun in a poll where 100% chooses the same option?
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987: I see your point, but mud vs dry is a bit binary and they did kindly give us the option of “other”... can I help it if I like perfect conditions? (From my point of view)... lucky living in the U.K. allows me the pleasure of lots of mud, pretty much for the next 5 months... still we can dream Of summer again...
  • 1 0
 @MrAngry: I think it was a joke
  • 1 0
 I'm a mud shark. Love it muddy.
  • 1 0
 In the mud.....because then I have an excuse for being slow.
  • 1 0
 Loose & fast. I tear but I don't brake
  • 1 1
 The poll missed super dry loose rocks... It's the absolute opposite.. and opposites some times touches...
  • 4 2
 What a stupid question
  • 1 0
 I’d rather ride, up to -30C it is still ridable conditions
  • 1 0
 Ride in the dry. Race in the mud, cuz it gives me an advantage!
  • 1 0
 Mud for life! Only bad part is wet shoes...
  • 1 0
 I like it best when its "tacky" out!
  • 1 0
 I didn't know that most guys like it dry.
  • 1 0
 I live in the Pacific North West and will ride my bike year round.
  • 1 0
 I live in the desert southwest of the USA, I love hot and dry.

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