having made the decision to do the event you need to think
about who you will do it with. Some would suggest that this is
one and the same decision, but many teams complete the event
successfully with complete strangers. It is definitely not the
recommended option but it happens. In fact some would also
argue that doing it with a complete stranger may end in you
making a life long friend rather than loosing one. So how do
you choose a partner? Partner compatibility is very important
and can be the key to an enjoyable successful race or a dismal
The are no hard and fast rules for choosing a suitable
partner, but there are some guidelines that can help you
choose the right partner or make sure that your choice of
partner turns into a successful partnership.
The biggest factor is probably having the same goals and
objectives. Be aware that this is a moving goal post. It will
move during training up to the event and may even move during
the event itself. Starting out with the same goals is a good
start but it will require a lot of dialogue and discussion to
stay on the same path. Having a clear and shared training plan
will help keep these goals aligned and having a race plan will
also keep things on track at the event.
The next factor must be to have similar fitness levels and
mountain biking skill and ability. Having a partner with
similar abilities makes everything a lot easier. It will make
understanding each others abilities easier and will make
riding and racing together less stressful because both riders
will experience similar levels of exhaustion and travel at
similar speeds. It may be possible for one person to catch up
to the other in fitness during training, but this is only
advisable if the gap is small. If partners are not equal in a
fitness and ability it can work if the less fit person is the
more competitive rider, but if it is the other way round then
things may not workout well.
Respect and understanding for each other is crucial. This
goes for everyone and will be needed no matter how compatible
the team is. At some stage during the race there will be one
rider stronger than the other. If the stronger rider does not
respect and understand the weaker rider then they will end up
creating a divide between the two and making things worse.
There has to be an understanding that the slowest rider will
be going as fast as possible. The slower rider should not feel
guilty about holding back the faster one and the faster rider
should respect the speed of the slower rider.
Ability to train together and ride together is important to
gauge each others fitness and to deal with the issues above.
By riding together these issues will hopefully come to the
surface and be dealt with. However there are many teams who
train independently, but in this situation sharing training
programs, information and doing some rides together will keep
everything on track.
Donít let ego, loyalty or other issues complicate your
partner choice. There is a task at hand, choose the right
person for the job. If you are planning to race, or if you are
planning to take in the view, make sure that you partner with
the right person because they may be two very different people.
The real cost of doing the epic