If it were a typical year - not 2020 - the off season would be just around the corner. The EWS would be coming to a close instead of barely beginning, the World Cup Overall Champ would likely be crowned this weekend, and local resorts would be prepping for ski season. Now is the time to begin training for next year’s racing (we’re crossing our fingers so hard right now that our knuckles are popping) and KOM chasing and PNW Squad member Kyle Warner has some tips and tricks for getting you closer to the top of the podium.
Patience is counterintuitive in a sport that is so aggressive and fast paced. When your heart is racing and you’re chasing the rider in front of you, it’s not uncommon to feel you need to ride your fastest at all times. Kyle’s advice is to slow down, both mentally and physically, and to know when you should be in full on attack mode and when you should reel in your speed. The occasional touch of the brakes will make it easier for you to choose the proper line and carry more speed through corners or technical sections of trail.
Use the Trail
Races, especially enduros, are all about stamina and maintaining power throughout the entirety of your race run. Don’t blow all of your body’s energy on one quick bout of sprinting. Instead, use the trail's features as your main source of speed by pumping rollers and the landings of jumps. Sprinting is a great way to pick up speed quickly, but it’s also a great way to limit what you’re capable of later in your race run.
Being aerodynamic may look goofy, but it’s a proven science. There’s a reason you can throw a crumpled ball of paper further than you can throw a sheet that hasn’t been folded at all. If you see a flat section of trail coming up, bend into a crouched position and get as low behind the handlebars as you can.
A Bit of R&R
Chances to rest and relax while on the trail are few and far between, so take what you can get and let your body have a breather. If you’re constantly attacking the trail and sprinting through every flat or flowy section, then you’re likely to exhaust yourself and make poor decisions down the line. Take a seat through easier sections of trails and use the down time to make a plan for the trail that lies ahead. Better yet, double up this tip with the last one and use your aerodynamic stance to take a break.
Get to Hopping
Don’t let the holes in the trail slow you down. If the hole isn’t large enough to pump for gaining speed, try hopping over it instead. Allowing your wheels to dive into a hole will significantly reduce rolling speed, meaning you’ll have to use energy to gain your momentum back. Some problems are best avoided entirely.
Look to the Future
Last, but definitely the most important tip in the bunch, is to look ahead while riding. Staring at the problems directly in front of your tires will cause you to react to, and likely over correct, what is happening to your bike. Focusing down trail will allow you to better prepare for upcoming features so you can eliminate problems (like poor line choice) before they happen instead of attempting to correct them in the moment. Being proactive is almost always the better option than reacting and will guarantee that you’re thinking two steps ahead.
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