I was on a break for the winter event last year, so i need some help. How the hell do you do this race? I either slide off the track and get disqualified, or am beat by my 'opponent' who doesn't appear to have any traction issues.
I realize there must be a secret to it, I just don't know it.
Always run. ALWAYS.
Anticipate your turns. Really, the bigger the turn, the sooner you turn. You can make a u-turn around a second or two before you actually have to turn.
If you really need to stop going in the direction you're going, either do a roll, or do a stuck jump (ie, jump, but don't be holding any movement keys when you land). Either of those will stop your momentum completely. The jump is harder to pull off, but it doesn't have as long as a downtime if you do it right (the roll stops you dead for a fraction of a second after the roll).
You can go "out of bounds" a bit, and on the curves especially. Just as long as you stay inside the flags, you'll be fine, and some of them you can actually go outside of (though I wouldn't suggest it). You can make the last couple of turns almost a straight line by going up the hills instead of around them. But a warning - the first or second curves are really strict on the boundaries. One of them was actually inside the flag, or at least it was last year.
Also, the boots make you go faster. This is more useful for the pvp race, where it can mean the difference between first place and third.
As long as you aren't poking along, you shouldn't have a single worry about the NPC racer. Heck, do it right, you can pass up the person racing in front of you