Mountain biking is often viewed as an individual sport, but when it comes to stage racing like Swiss Epic, your successful completion of the race often comes down to your strength as a team. Over those few days of grinding up hills and navigating through trails, your teammate becomes your greatest motivator, your strength, and in some moments of real suffering, your sense of sanity.
There is something truly remarkable about sharing that much time and emotions with another person while taking in the beauty of our sport and the fantastic landscapes we ride in. While you both hope to stay strong throughout, the reality is that you will face the highs and lows of racing. If you are lucky, your partner will be on a high when you’re on your low and give you the push you need to get up the next big hill when all you want to do is sit on the side of the trail and have a nap or a good cry.
Of course, choosing the right partner is a key requirement of preparing for a paired stage race. You need someone you can trust, share the workload with and most importantly, someone you respect. Take a look at some tips from the team on how to choose your perfect stage-racing teammate:
Choose a teammate with a similar fitness level to yours. If you are sharing the workload, it is only fair if you can share it reasonably equally in times when you are both feeling strong. However, don’t be afraid to choose a teammate with different strengths and weaknesses to yours on the bike. You can help each other when it really matters.
2.) Goals and strategy
This will often follow on from the fitness aspect – you’ve set yourself the task of finishing a race, but what are your race goals? What finish times and expectations do you have for yourself as a team? Do you agree on how you would manage challenges that might crop up during the race? It’s worth having a heart-to-heart with your potential teammate first before taking the next step.
Communication is “make or break” for teams who complete stage races together. Staying calm and communicating clearly throughout, as well as being able to change strategy on the fly will make the world of difference during a race.
4.) Find someone who can work in a team
It may sound obvious, but not every rider is automatically a good teammate. As part of a team, you must consider your teammate and how they are feeling throughout the race. Would it make their lives easier if you did this, or would it give them a mental edge if you did that? You must look out for each other to achieve your common goal.
If you don’t have a teammate for Swiss Epic 2019 yet, why not share your profile in our Facebook group and find your perfect partner for this bucket list experience!