Everyone loves an impromptu race with their mates, but it sucks when you get beaten. We’ve come up with some foolproof tips to guaranteed you will beat them in any unofficial race. Don’t forget though, it’s only for fun so don’t take it too seriously…
01: Eyes on the prize
If you’re leading out a pack of mates hungry for the win, you’ll have a target on your back. The best thing you can do is keep your eye on the finishing line and try to ignore what’s going on behind you. Let the competition take themselves out while you concentrate on riding as fast as you can.
02: Don’t be wet!
If you’re not winning the race then you need to do everything in your power, at any cost, to get in front! Mates races or challenges tend to have fewer (or no) rules and regulations than standard competitions, so think outside the box (or tape!) to get a fair — or unfair — advantage!
03: Straggler at the back
Don’t be disheartened if you’re always at the back trailing behind everyone else, because the race ain’t over till it’s over. It could be a case of tortoise and hare, and the aggressive clowns who are battling over the spoils may end up taking each other out. Sometimes patience is the best way to win.
04: The trail
Some trails are more suited to mates’ races than others. Dual tracks and BMX tracks are ideal, as are wide DH trails — there’ll be loads of opportunities to pass each other and make a break for glory. Try to avoid nadgery, tight singletrack, which doesn’t make for good racing.
Lay down some rules
Take the racing as seriously as you want, but remember to draw up some basic rules, like no foul play. No one wants to go home in an ambulance or with a broken bike!
Build a dual track
When it comes to taking on your mates, nothing beats the thrill of dual slalom racing. If you set up your own course, you can get as wild as you want without wrecking someone else’s spadework.
1: The hill
First make sure you’ve got the landowner’s permission to dig and build. Pick an open hillside with as few trees, stumps and roots as possible. You want a hill that’s a decent length and not so steep that you’ll need to be on the brakes or so flat that you’ll need to pedal lots.
2: The line
Pick a line down the hill that maximises the space and gradient you’ve got, putting in as many turns as possible to make things fun without slowing the riding down too much. Open grassy fields are a good place to consider building a dual track.
3: Jumps and turns
Build a mix of flat and bermed turns, making sure to turn left and right in equal amounts — if you turn one way more, those on the shortest route will have an advantage. Build sections of rollers that riders can choose to jump, pump or manual. It’ll be a great test of skill.