The rules


The game of concentration and frustration. Most riders have played it, but maybe not to the extent it was taken today. This post is about clarifications; each group of friends will have separate rules and regulations that must be adhered to. Ours were developed during the first three minutes of todays excellent ride. After the competition was over, we decided they were fair and provided the basis for some close competition. It also certainly upped the pressure that would otherwise have been lacking on such fantastic trails! The goal is simple: Least points win.

The Fundamentals

1. Failing to clean a section on the first attempt, but successfully returning to clean it: 1 point

2. Failing to clean a section, then taking two or more attempts to clean it: 3 points

Uphill, downhill, no matter if the trail is a smooth snake of singletrack or a series of off camber drops, the points will be counted. Also note; exceptions will not be granted for dabbing after the rider in front messes up. If you cannot leave enough room, or trackstand, then its your own problem! When a rider is in difficulty ahead, feet must stay on the pedals. Leaning on trees will be tolerated. Shit-talking and negative encouragement is very much recommended when a rider is re-trying a section, especially if you have successfully completed it. If no-one in the group completes a section, or everyone takes the same number of attempt, no points are handed out.

Keeping things balanced

3. Once a rider has dabbed, the order of riding alternates. This ensures that no-one suffers overly from always leading the way, and no-one gains a significant second-wheel advantage

4. If the last rider in the group is a significant distance behind, the group may determine the rider has previously dabbed and award 1 – 3 points, depending on mood and whim. Honesty and trust in your riding companions is paramount.

As always in these cases, arbitration is very much encouraged. Unlike what some of you may be thinking, the arbitration is to ensure the maximum amount of arguing and goading of the fellow riders.

Adding some spice

5. Passing a rider in front during a downhill section: Minus 1 points

6. Successful completion of a ‘A-line’, alternate line, or highlighted (by your companions) bonus section: Minus 1 point

7. Shenanigans are accepted. Examples include (but are not limited to) successfully brake-checking a rider in front, or successful application of another rider’s brakes: Minus 1 points

These rules ensures that conservatism does not creep into the competition. The encouragement of risk taking ensures that riders focus more on advancing their riding abilities than riding within their limits to minimise their score. Technically, a negative final score is possible. In reality, if you’re not dabbing, then go find a trail that actually challenges you.

Common sense advised

8. The no-hospital get out clause: If a section is deemed highly likely to result in an expensive helicopter ride, the game can be suspended momentarily.

These situations require a number of parameters to be effective; firstly your riding companions need to have some remnant of common sense and compassion. Secondly, you must know your own ability. I’m lucky enough to almost always ride with people of insanely high technical ability. I trust their judgement in what is, and is not, a good idea to attempt when at least $10,000 away from the nearest hospital.

Find your next challenge.

Setting up a game of dab is not difficult. You don’t need a sinuous network of trails, you don’t even need a massive group of people. You do need to challenge yourself though.

Never take the easy line.