Tips for racing your mates

Get on the gas and leave your buddies eating dirt!

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!

Top tips for getting on the gas and leaving your buddies eating dirt!
Top tips for getting on the gas and leaving your buddies eating dirt!

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.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Alex has been riding bikes since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He first raced back in 2003, winning the Juvenile category on a sketchy hard tail Planet X bike. Alex lived in the Alps for seven years so isn't shy of a climb or two and loves getting out in his bike in all weather. His favorite thing to ride is steep loamy tracks with loads of opportunities to slam the bike into turns and really give it some frame bending welly! He's broken his fair share of frames, so any bike between his knees is going to get a right seeing to.
  • Discipline: DH, Enduro, XC, BMX, Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Epic descents covered in the world's finest loam and hero dirt
  • Current Bikes: Nukeproof Mega 275 / Giant Anthem Advanced 275 1 / LeMond Reno / Deluxe Pro 2 BMX
  • Dream Bike: Giant ATX 1 DH (1999 model)
  • Beer of Choice: Teetotal
  • Location: Bristol, UK
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