Motorcycle rally racing is not for the faint of heart. There are no packed courses, pace bikes or rain delays, and a true rally race doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Rally racing will take you through rain, snow, sleet and ice over hundreds of miles of unforgiving terrain. Regardless of the course or how practiced you are in the sport, rallying will put your skill, speed and endurance to the test. For this reason, rally racing is one of the most exciting sports in which you can participate. Whether you’ve been in a rally race before or this is your first time, you must prepare both physically and mentally for the upcoming event. We’re not just talking about packing your bags and tuning your bike prepare – we’re talking physical training, mental conditioning and rhythm schooling. If you want to compete in the next big race, you need to shape up. Use the tips below to get started.
Mentally Preparing for a Rally Race
Much of rally racing is a mental sport, as racing for days on end with little human contact takes a lot out of a person. Not only that, but there’s the competitive aspect to consider. As racers, we’re always pushing ourselves to do better and be better than those around us. While there is no shame in this, it’s important to note that rally racing isn’t necessarily about beating your opponents, but rather, about beating nature. This is a hard concept for many newbies to grasp, which is why many new racers find themselves mentally exhausted—and disappointed in themselves—at race’s end.
As racers, we can avoid those feelings of defeat by preparing our minds for what’s to come. Come race day, you need to be like a chess master, always thinking three steps ahead in a state of composed, single-minded attention. Grandmaster don’t just magically develop this state of calm on game day. No, they condition their brains to remain sharp and focused in even the most intense of circumstances. Start mentally preparing yourself by teaching your body to slow down even when you’re in an anxiety-inducing situation. Begin conditioning way in advance of race day. If possible, make this kind of thinking an everyday thing.
When race week has arrived, get plenty of rest. Go out and do things you enjoy and that relax you, but be sure to be in bed by a decent hour every night. Keeping a calm state of mind begins with a good night’s sleep, so don’t skimp on those Z’s.
Physically Preparing for the Big Day
Mental prep is just one aspect of off road motorcycle riding preparation. Though your bike essentially does all the legwork, you’re responsible for controlling and steadying it. Your training should exercise your whole body, from your neck all the way down to your toes. One exercise RedBull suggests taking up is rowing.
Whether you plan to participate in the world-renowned Dakar motorcycle rally race or want to start on a smaller scale and race local, your training should begin the moment you decide to participate. Rowing not only helps prepare your whole body for the days of stress you’re about to put it through but also, it can help combat the “hunch” you will inevitably get from being on a bike day in and day out. This is because rowing trains everything from your shoulders down to your back and to your legs. It’s also extremely demanding, which means it can help prepare your body for the demands it’s bound to face when out in the rough.
You may have noticed we said you should train your body from the neck down. We meant that literally. Though you may be used to holding your neck at an angle as you ride the trails on the weekends or race in motocross events, rally racing will put your neck muscles to the test and reveal muscles you never even knew you had. You don’t want to discover those pain points when you’re 3,000 miles in. RedBull suggests training those neck muscles by strapping a weight to your head and then moving your head to one side, lifting it up again, and moving it to the other. Incorporating this exercise into your daily exercise regime can prevent stress and strain while you’re out on the train, which can in turn prevent you from losing the relaxed feeling for which you worked so hard.
Endurance Training for Motorcycle Rally Fairing
Probably one of the most crucial types of training you can do to prepare for rally racing is that which involves boosting your endurance levels. The Dakar Rally Race is 6,000 miles of rough terrains you’ve likely never encountered before in your weekend rides. For instance, the 2019 Dakar Rally promises to take through three countries and over soft sand dunes, through boulder-ridden passages and to incredible heights in the Andes Mountains. The best way to prepare for environments in which you’ve never been is to make your mind, lungs and body as strong as possible.
Do cardio in several different types of environment and not just the gym. Hit the coast for a long run, then take your bike through the most challenging dunes in your area. Ride a bicycle up a mountain path if there’s one near you and swim laps at your local pool. Train your body in multiple different ways to get your endurance up and to ensure its capable in even the most challenging of environments.
Regardless of the type of training you commit to, make sure you have fun. Remember, you want to be mentally relaxed come race week, and engaging in activities which you don’t enjoy in the months and weeks leading up to the big race will have the opposite of the desired effect.
For more tips on how to get started in rally racing, consider taking on a mentor or joining a rally club. As for preparing your bike, equip it with only the most durable and reliable parts from your favorite online retailer.