From being one with nature to pushing your limits, whether you’re a seasoned rider or a new-comer to the cycling world, there’s always a reason why you bought a mountain bike, and a whole other reasons why you sign up for an Enduro mountain biking race 🙂
Each year comes a new season for biking competitions. Near or far, whether it rains or shines, the riders are always game on! Well, here in Philippines we only have two seasons, the Summer and Rainy seasons 🙂 But whatever the weather is, the tracks are more or less ‘rideable.’ I’ve been biking for a while now, but this year is the first year I’ve ever tried joining Enduro Mountain Biking competitions. And I gotta say, at first it scares the shit out of you, but later on it becomes real fun!
Whether it’s for fun or for the spirit of competition, joining races is no joke: It requires a lot of training, saddle time, and sacrifices now and then. Some joiners are ‘weekend warriors’ who only have saddle time during the weekends because of their busy schedules. Some took this opportunity for an out-of-town getaway with their families. Some joined because they finally had the opportunity to sneak out from their wives but has to come home soon after they reached the finish line haha Some are seasoned riders who have multiple scars to prove it. Some have been convinced by their friends to buy a bike, and there’s no turning back. (Nabudol in other words) But whatever your biking skills are, or no matter how many times you’ve done it, there’s always that thrilling sensation whenever you hear the countdown…
I asked around and here are the TOP 10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN AN ENDURO MTB RACE:
1. TO GAIN NEW FRIENDS.
Whether you are a solo-rider or a member of multiple biking groups, it’s impossible not to meet new friends whenever you join races. More often than not, after every competitions you get 20+ facebook friend requests 🙂 And hey, that’s cool! The more friends to share your passion with mountain biking, the better!
It’s astonishing when you figured how much you have in common with these strangers you just met on the race tracks. Soon, you’ll be hanging out, be invited over on their weddings and birthdays, be godparent to their offspring, and they’ve become more than just your session partners. You’ll gain more than just friends, but family.
2. YOU’LL BE PUSHING YOUR LIMITS.
Everyone experienced being ‘newbies’ but motivation pushes you harder to reach your goals. Sometimes your goal each race can be simple; you just wanna play it safe and keep it cool. But sometimes you wanna take risk and give it all because you’re done with just ‘clean run.’ You want to push your limits, you want to feel the speed. And it’s not gonna be easy, it might break your heart along the way, and your bones probably but no matter how hard it may be as long as you give it your all, you’ll be happy.
3. EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR THE HEART.
Preparing for the race guarantees saddle time, and therefore you’ll be exercising more than you can ever hope for. For serious riders, they require minimum 4 days training every week for a month before the race day. This may include bike-to-work, hit the gym or do other cross-training when they can’t visit the trails. But even when you’re not too serious in competing, you still need to read the tracks, do some sessions, and climb the rigorous ascents. And I’m telling you, that’s a lot of exercise!
It is called Enduro ‘All Mountain’ for a reason because it requires endurance for the steep climbs and timed descents, and a breadth of skill on multi-discipline cycles to master the technical sections. Training can be a lot of fun with your friends and riding partners, somehow their craziness make the difficult sections less intimidating.
4. PROMOTE THE SPORT.
We all love mountain biking. We wouldn’t be in this industry if we didn’t. Whether we are from different teams, have different biking disciplines and riding styles, or prefer different bike brands, each one of us are drawn to something that fuels our need for challenge, escape and camaraderie. And because we love the sport so much, we are promoting it by joining races or simply riding our bikes on a weekend. (And post our rides on social media haha)
We want to encourage non-riders to join and feel the fun we are experiencing every time we’re on our bikes. Sure, riding your bike on a weekend is fun, but it cannot compare to the atmosphere of racing: the hype, the chills, and the excitement, you can all feel it in the air! Promoting the sport escalates entry numbers, which means raising the standard of the sport across the country, and wouldn’t that be awesome?
5. DISCOVER AND EXPERIENCE NEW TRAILS.
We all have that ‘comfort tracks’ where we go almost every weekend. It may not be necessarily near your place but you simply know the tracks so well you can ride it with your eyes closed. But with joining races you get to travel, go on a road trip, and get to ride tracks you never knew existed which are out of your comfort zone.
It may be scary at first but it’s a good challenge because it encourages you to practice more often, and gives you confidence to broaden your skill level. Sooner or later, you have mastered the new tracks and can’t wait to face it on the race day.
6. WE LOVE COMPETITION.
Some may be doing it for fun or just racing their own time, but some are just naturally competitive and wants to do well than most racers. It’s only natural to have that hunger for winning and to be the best. You’ve earned it, and after all the hard training you want to be on that podium. And it’s okay to feel that way, it’s part of the sport. Sometimes winning can also mean setting priorities and rooms for improvement for you to focus on the next season.
But despite the fact that it’s still a competition, you’ll be amazed with how the race situations will bring back your faith into humanity. I’ve witnessed a lot of races wherein one would help out his fellow rider to change his tires, or give the other his extra food, or checking up on them when they crash and so on. One thing I love about this sport is that we may be competing against each other, but we’ve always got each other’s back.
7. BEING ONE WITH NATURE.
Cycling is a good form of exercise, but what makes it even more delightful is that riding your bike through nature gives you the most liberating feeling there is. Rivers, seasides, mountains, hundred-year-old trees – the nature comes to life when you’re on a bike. Riding along quiet trails allows you to clear your mind, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate nature’s beauty along with its changing seasons. Really, it’s one heck of a stress-reliever. We are lucky enough that we are blessed by mother nature with good terrains and dependable locals. So, why not try to spare an hour just to explore some greenery for yourself.
8. HAPPY HOUR AND FREE BEER!
Post-beer after race is the best! Probably 80% of the riders here are beer drinkers 🙂 Whether you’re a beer drinker or not, it’s great fun celebrating with the people around you who share the same passion for the sport. So don’t be shy to join in on the buzz and share stories about your ride. That’s the beauty of racing!
9. NEW ACCOMPLISHMENT.
Our chosen sport is not for the weak-hearted, it’s not easy; If it is, then everybody would be doing it. There are a couple of times that we crashed, this sport broke our spirit, our bones, and even made us cry. But no matter how many times we fall, we rise and still ride our bikes because we like to challenge ourselves, over and over again.
Whenever we encounter a new type of challenge, its almost always a chance to develop new skills and reach new accomplishments. It will take time, effort, blood, sweat and tears, but you will get there. Every time you’re about to give up, this voice inside your head keeps reminding you of how far you’ve come along. Strength doesn’t come from what you can do, it’s overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. And boy, it is a sweet victory when you finally reach the top.
10. ENDURO IS RAK N ROL!
If you haven’t heard of Jared Graves, Sam Hill, Cecile Ravanel or Yoann Barelli, and my girl crushes Katy Winton and Casey Brown, then I genuinely feel sorry for you. Not only are these people living legends, but they’re one of the (many) reasons why Enduro has been put on the dictionary of mountain biking.
So, you’ve ridden that gnarly, steep and rutty trails, CHECK! You’ve finished that buwis-buhay sections without any scratch, CHECK! But clearly, you didn’t mind all that, as long you got that insta-worthy, one hell of a shot! I’m talking about the photos, man! The last but definitely not the least of all the reasons why you risk your life each race, it’s because you want that memory to stay with you forever, and maybe brag to your (future) grandchildren what their memow has been up to hahaha and mainly because that shot makes you feel like a rock star!
And so we are thankful for the action photographers, family and friends who patiently took our photos under the heat of the blazing sun or cold gust of the rain, yet stayed with us every step of the way. CHEERS!
If you’ve been racing for quite some time now, good for you! Keep it up, stay rad, and I wish you all the best. If you are having second thoughts about joining a race, I hope the list will convince you to do so. One thing I can tell you though, life is too short to spend your time wondering what it feels like to race.
So, put your gears on, stick those elbows out, and have a safe ride 🙂
Join and be updated on the upcoming 6th Leg of the Enduro Alliance by checking out the event page here.