OR AT LEAST MANAGE TO FINISH A RACE NOT COMING LAST.
It's that time of the year again where you start thinking about pitting yourself against your mates for some bragging rights over a few beers.
Ok, so you’ve been cruising through your riding life just having a great time hanging with your mates . Then this Enduro thing comes along so you enter a few races thinking you’re pretty ok on a bike and WOAH you get the shock of your life to realize that you are actually a bit useless and nowhere near as quick as you led yourself to believe.
The reason why you are crap is that all the guys who just beat you are ex cross-country racers (‘cause no one does that shit anymore) , ex downhillers (too old to do that shit anymore) or are just genetically engineered to whip your ass.
Lucky for you I have done a couple of enduros and am also a washed up 90’s downhiller so who better than to give you the best advice you will ever need.
So what is enduro? It is almost the same as a day in the saddle with your buddies. But instead of going at 70-80% with plenty of rests, you now have to go at 110% all the frickin time and ride shit you would normally walk if you had the chance to get a look at it first. And without any rests at all. And with your wallet a hundred or so dollars lighter too.
First thing you need is big gonads. You need to ride ugly terrain at warp speed and fear can’t enter into it at all. We all know that there are many illegal substances that can fix this problem with one snort but look at what happened to Lance. Thankfully alcohol is still legal so I've been known take a hip flask of vodka to the top of my toughest local trail along with my 10 yr old daughters 20” rigid bike , loosen off the brakes and let her rip. Gonad problem solved.
Secondly you need to be super fit on the bike for those 20 minute XC like sprints, and off the bike for those 2 hour liason portage stages. You can’t just ride heaps, you have to cross-train. Time is short and work, kids, facebook, instagram etc mean you have to multi-task. The key here is to work your core. If you have a partner then I highly recommend lots of sex (with you doing all the work in multiple positions). Obviously if you’re married then this won't happen at all so maybe look at your work environment.
If you work at a desk then you have a multitude of planking , press-up and sit-up opportunities. Just pull a chair up to the photocopier and get busy, members of the opposite sex will be enthralled so this may help with the sex thing also.
If you work in the outdoors then you are half way there already. You just need to do it faster, carrying twice as much and getting your workmates to simulate race conditions by continually tripping you up ,punching you in the gut and slapping you about the face.
If, like me, your partner wears the pants and you spend most of your time at home with the kids then just the regular housework can work wonders if you load yourself up with some weights. I find my apron loaded up with cans of food works a treat. Put your kid on your back while vacuuming, wash the windows in the sun with all your winter gear on to simulate hot yoga, wash the house exterior, sweep the roof, clear the gutters...man, I'm exhausted just talking about it.
To get your heart rate up you need to live a double life with another partner or maybe rob a bank. If that is too much for you then try to seriously get in the boss’s face and boy is that easy. Turn up late, leave early, long lunches , call the union…the list goes on.
All you need now is the right bike. Forget the burly 160mm enduro beast. You will gain more time on the climbs than you will lose on the descents and there’s a good chance that bike will be on your back for some of it so here is your excuse to get the flashest lightest carbonest bike on the market. 130-150mm is where it’s at. These bikes are called Trail bikes (enduro is so last year. While we are waiting for fat e-bike racing to arrive, just around the corner is a new discipline called “Trail biking”). Weight is the key here, so ditch all the crap and get a bumbag and a bottle. Eat well (fish and chips) the night before and multiple brekkies (donuts etc) on race day while hydrating all morning with a good electrolyte mix (beer). Take some fast release carb snacks (jelly snakes) for race stages and medium release carbs (white bread chip butties) for lunch and you’ll be good to go.
Good luck .
Rod “are we at the top yet” Bardsley