I am interested in competing in a beginner’s dual slalom event (possibly Sea Otter). The problem is that I have never ridden a dual slalom course and don’t want to irritate fellow competitors or organizers if I should not be there. I enjoy dirt jumping, moderate drops, and light free riding. I have never competed in a race or seen what the level of rider a beginner should be. Barring the possibility to ride a DS course, do you have any benchmarks that would indicate that I could participate appropriately enough to not make an ass of myself?
Cedric Gracia rails a mega berm. This is SO FUN!
Dude, what a great question.
First of all, if you race amateur DS at Sea Otter, you will piss everyone off — and they will piss you off. As awesome as that event is, it is a major ball-up: too many people, too little practice and just two skinny lanes. But as soon as you lay into one of those mega berms, you’ll forget all that.
Here are the abilities you will need to feel good on the Sea Otter slalom course.
– Be comfortable in berms.
– Know how to stick flat turns.
– Be able to pump rollers. Jumping is a bonus.
– Learn the start procedure. Watch the riders ahead of you.
– Sprint semi-decently.
– Be fit enough to hike up that hill and fight your way through the line.
– Perform under pressure. Hundreds of people will be cheering for you.
The beginner class is full of sandbaggers, so don’t be bummed if you don’t win. Just go out there and enjoy yourself.
PS: If you live in the Bay Area, check out Sand Hill Ranch. Their DS course is super fun, and the scene is nice and mellow (or it was last time I raced there, around 2002).
UPDATE: They aren’t racing anymore at Sand Hill, but you can practice on the weekends.