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How to get ahead on a BMX track

bmx riders take a bend

BMX racers need strong legs, flexible arms and a cool head, but more than that is the proper mental strategy to improve performance in every race.
Alongside the regular physical training that any BMX track rider needs is the mindset that clears the way for faster, more skilful rides.
But, whatever your level of performance, don't lose sight of the joy of BMX racing. Always stay ambitious and eager to improve and learn from each BMX track race, whether win or lose.
Always aim to improve your fitness and practice bike riding daily, even for a few minutes.
Confidence in your BMX bike skills will make you a better and facer rider on the BMX race track. But most of all, have fun and enjoyment on the BMX track.
Here are some tips that could help you achieve quicker times, smoother rides, and bigger wins on the BMX track.

Know your event

Before starting a BMX race, the rider needs to know details about the track and the event.
Remarkably, riders turn up to BMX events with only minutes to spare before they are out on the course. Take time to find out where the race is held, how long it takes to get there (assuming some traffic hold-ups on the way), and when the event kicks off. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue and prepare for the race. A warm-up ride around the track is a chance to get the muscles toned and test the track's individual characteristics.

Know your track riders

It's a good idea to find out who else is competing in your BMX track event. You can check out the riding styles of many BMX racers on YouTube. An appreciation of the skill levels of your competitors can give you a real edge when it comes to racing against them. And nothing beats practice, so the skilled BMX rider will put in the hours on many types of BMX tracks, from mini pump tracks to national-level circuits. Each BMX track has its quirks, and the more riders know about the different 'feel' of various start gates, berms and jumps, the better prepared they are to tackle new tracks and riding skill tests.

Have a training programme

A good BMX track rider will prepare specifically for a future event. If the track is a long one, say 800 metres, then it's a good idea to build up your strength in stages from riding fast for 200 meters, then 400, 600 and so on until you can comfortably finish an 800-metre ride while still going strong. The best riders make a plan and stick to it. They train every day if they can while pushing themselves just enough. A good rider will know when to ease off; training too hard can end up with a rider 'past the peak' or even suffering an injury.

Have a plan for the race

You have put in the training and should be at peak performance. You know the competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and you have a good 'feel' for the BMX track in which you are to compete. Now is the time to develop a race plan. The good BMX racer will know when tiredness will kick in and, given the strength of the opponents, whether it is a better idea to go for the 'holeshot' out of the gate or to hold back for a strike at the lead.

Use the right BMX machine

It sounds too simple to mention, but it is incredible how many BMX track riders do not have the best machine for their build. Gearing is especially important with bigger build riders needing taller gears. If your BMX racing style is to accelerate out of turns, then a shorter gear may help. And remember, always give your BMX bike a last-minute check to ensure everything is in working order. Few BMX races will go strictly according to plan, so the rider cannot afford to be too inflexible.
Riders usually go high outside when tackling the berms as the outside gives the best view of what the other competitors are doing. But, if the opportunity presents itself, then an early pull inside to make a pass can make all the difference.

More on BMX ride skills

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Bike training for BMX

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