Pre Ride Question

Do y’all think its valuable to do a pre-ride of the course backwards?

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As a supplement to, or a replacement for a proper preride in the forwards direction?

Depends a lot on the course in question (length, difficultly either way) and what you hope to gain from it. But in a very general sense, I don’t see much point in it.


Thanks Chad, doing some off season recon of the courses. Planned on doing 3 forward and 1 backwards at endurance pace. The race is 2 laps. Was hoping to see different lines. XCO mtb

Yeah, that might help look at stuff from a more open idea.

In addition to that, I suggest taking some of the spots you are most interested in and stopping there, to walk and look at them. It’s called a track walk in other sports, and is a good primer if you’ve never seen a course.

But it can also play a great part to do after you’ve gotten a lap under your belt. Pause and think about what went right, or areas you suspect something remains to be gained.

I think you’ve got a solid approach overall.


I know you said endurance pace was the plan, but adding to what Chad mentioned about stopping to walk…it might be worth sessioning any areas that you’re unsure about line choice (depending on course difficulty of course).

I find value in trying different lines just to see how they feel, and sometimes hitting sections at race pace. Never considered riding the course backwards, though I can see in certain situations you might see a line option differently when you notice what’s on the other side of a rock/roll/etc depending on terrain.


As always thanks so much for the response! I took your advice and walked the 3 features I thought I was slow through and found better lines.

For the record, riding it backwards didn’t help me see the lines as well as walking did, however I did 2 laps forward, 1 backward, and 1 forward again. After the backwards lap I did feel more comfortable out there as I had a better bearing on where I was on the course if that makes sense. I sorta felt like I knew the trail system better and was able to anticipate the trail intersections better.

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Thank you Wayne!

Sweet! Sounds like gains were found. Glad to hear you got it all dialed. :smiley:

It comes a bit from the “go slow to go fast” approach that has several facets in racing. The walk or super slow ride approach just changes the view and ability to look at a broader set of options and ways to consider any section.

I don’t typically ride stuff backwards, but on my walks, I take extra care to walk in slow in what I think is my first choice, but also on any alternates I can see. That, and the frequent “look back” as I work my way through the section can give perspective to make sure we consider the “linking” between the options we have.