Enduro racing is made up of a series of timed descending stages, usually between five and ten minutes. The catch is that you have to pedal back up to the next stage in a certain amount of time. If you don’t make it, you’re disqualified. So fitness and endurance, along with good descending skills, are required. Due to this race format, enduro is a more relaxed style of racing and you have some time with your buddies in between stages. At its roots, enduro still reflects those riders in the beginning that were all about climbing with friends and trying to beat them down the hill.
At the professional level racing is taken fairly seriously and riders put in a hefty amount of XC/road miles for fitness and plenty of time on a DH bike to hone their descending skills. But at the local level, you will notice that the races aren’t all about proper nutrition and having tens of thousands of training miles under your belt. When the race is over, the beers crack open and the party at the campsite begins. While some riders take it very seriously, I think for the most part enduro is about having a lot of fun.
The Utah EnduroCup
Utah has its own Enduro series. The EnduroCup is a three-race series spanning Utah. The first was in Moab, UT and the second is coming to Park City at Canyons Resort over July 19th and 20th. The third race is still to be determined, but based on the two other venues, I’m sure we won’t be disappointed. Professional riders like Ross Schnell and Brian Lopes have graced us with their presence for these races, and the EnduroCup has become increasingly popular over the last few years.
What You’re Going to Need
So if enduro racing combines the best of mountain biking, what do you wear? Do you need a full-face helmet and full motocross gear to protect your skin? Probably not, since you might pass out from heat exhaustion on the climb. However, you are going to want gear that is going to protect you from a nasty crash while allowing full mobility, ventilation, and comfort while climbing.
Racing enduro is usually an all day affair which means you’ll need to prepare with the equipment: the right kit, hydration pack, tools, and food. Enduro races are often hot and the stages can be quite a bit longer than a normal DH track, so keeping yourself cool and comfortable is key. The One Vapor mountain bike gloves are a nice, minimalist option for your hands while giving you a solid grip on your bars all day. A jersey like the Interval Jersey has the look of a t-shirt but the technical features you expect out of a high-performance mountain bike jersey. And for getting serious during the timed event, the Intel Short has you covered. The longer cut and super durable fabric gives you a lot of protection without sacrificing a full range of mobility.
These are just options, but we’ve tried this One Industries gear out and we really like it. If it is good enough for a rider like Dan Atherton, 5th place in the first Enduro World Cup, then it is good enough for us.
The Right Bike for Enduro Racing
But what about the bike? The timed stages are mostly, if not all, descending but can still require a bit of pedaling. Really you want that in between “trail” bike. A climbing capable bike that is still worthy of an aggressive downhill. At Jans, we are pretty stoked on the capable Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc or the Cannondale Jekyll with its innovative pull shock. Both of these bikes bring something different to the table, but in the end they are great all around bikes, which is what you want for enduro. If you’re thinking about an enduro or all mountain bike in the future, check out our demo page and book a trip to Park City to try one out.
In the End
Fun with friends. That is what enduro racing is to me. You get a couple hearty climbs and a day’s worth of fun competition. Having the right gear doesn’t make all the difference, but having a competitive edge definitely does. And, no matter if you’re pro racing for a living or an amateur trying to oust your riding crew, the right kit is a big part of your competitive edge.
By Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist