Uplifts are a great way to enjoy the downs without any of the tiring ups, so once you’ve made the effort to book on to an uplift day and pay your fee make sure you’re prepared so you can really make the most of it.
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1. Get your bike prepped
Take time to get your bike running sweet before the big day. Make sure all the bolts are torqued up correctly and examine the brake pads for wear. Check the weather forecast and find out what the tracks are like, and put on tyres to suit.
When you’re only riding downhill you’ll really notice if your suspension isn’t running buttery smooth, so refresh the oil and fit new seals if required (or get a tuning company to do it for you).
2. Pack the right kit
Since you’ll have access to your car/van between runs, you don’t have to worry about carrying anything with you on the bike. Bring your toolbox, along with any bike spares you may have lying around. It’s a good idea to have a couple of tubes, spare brake pads and a gear cable, just in case.
Bring plenty of water and food as well. You’re going to be riding fast and probably on fairly technical trails, so it’s worth bringing a full-face helmet, goggles and body armour. If it’s muddy, then spare gloves and paper towels for cleaning your eyewear will be invaluable.
3. Ease yourself in
It’s not a race, so take it steady on the first few runs and check out the tracks. Going in blind at full throttle is only going to end in disaster. Assess the speed for gap jumps and stop to look at lines through technical sections.
Think about your suspension set-up and tyre pressures, and tweak them to suit the tracks — lower pressures and slower rebound for more grip in soft, wet conditions and the opposite for dry, fast-rolling trails.
4. Look after your body
Eat little and often. Stopping for a big lunch will make you feel lethargic in the afternoon. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks that’ll give you spikes and crashes in energy levels.
Make sure you stay hydrated too. Even though you’re not pedalling uphill, wearing a full-face and pads is a sweaty affair. Isotonic drinks or tablets are good for this.
5. Ramp it up
Riding the same track repeatedly is a great way to get faster. You can learn the terrain and get a feel for how much traction the dirt has. Concentrate on riding with good technique.
Keep your head up, brake in the right places and you’ll soon find your confidence and speed increasing. Know when to call it a day, though — the curse of ‘one last run’ isn’t to be taken lightly!