So you’ve gone ahead and done it – you registered for an enduro race. Maybe this isn’t your first bike race; maybe you’ve done some racing in the past. Or maybe this is your first bike race ever. Regardless, I’m here to offer you some quick and easy advice for successfully navigating an enduro mountain bike race.
First, make sure your bike is in good working condition before the race. Mechanicals happen, but showing up with broken equipment hinders you from the very beginning. Are your brakes working properly and how are your brake pads looking? How’s the tread life of your tires and when was the last time you put sealant in them? Does your suspension feel good? Do you have the tools to fix a flat and do you know how to use them?
Speaking of tools… come prepared. That means having the stuff you need to fix any bike problems you might run into. Enduro is unique in the fact that you are often out in the backcountry, far away from the definitive help of a bike shop and a mechanic, so knowing a bit about how to fix your own equipment can be invaluable. Of course, there are some things you aren’t going to be able to fix trail side, but it’s impressive what you can do with a multi-tool and some zip ties. This is what I carry in my pack on every ride and race:
- A multi-tool (one with a chainbreaker tool like the Crankbrothers M19)
- CO2 cartridge 25g x2
- Spare tube and tire levers (I prefer the Tubolito tubes – they are pricey but last forever and pack down super small)
- Tire plugs
- Spare chain link
- Zip ties
- Tire pressure gauge
- Spare AXS battery (CHARGED!)
- A empty wrapper (can be useful if you’ve got a big sidewall gash)
Third, SNACKS (and hydration). Most races have aid stations with snacks, drinks, etc., but I always like to have a handful of snacks I know I’ll like in my pack just in case the aid stations are in low supply or don’t have anything I’m interested in. I also always have a water bottle with some sort of electrolyte in it (think Skratch Labs, Nuun, etc.) in addition to my pack with water. Remember – you might be out riding ALL day - fueling and hydrating appropriately is super important on race day. I recommend you check out this article by Juliana ambassador and Registered Dietitian Uri Carlson for all the tips and tricks!
Fourth, and most importantly, a good attitude. Shit happens, things break, we all crash, the days are long, the stages are hard, we didn’t win… who cares! Bike racing is supposed to be fun above all else. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to setup your bike or some pointers on fitness and training for bike racing, check out these videos from our Juliana Ambassadors and racers:
written by: Alex Pavon