4li2k73z Share your Vital activity on Facebook (More info)
close

Vital MTB's Ultimate Guide to the 2013 Enduro World Series

Vital MTB's Ultimate Guide to the 2013 Enduro World Series

by Johan Hjord

The Enduro World Series is about to kick off and we’re excited. So you can get stoked as well, we’ve put together this extensive preview, to help familiarize you with the format, the rules, the venues, and so you can meet some of the protagonists. It’s going to be one hell of a show – bring on the racing!

Roots of Enduro

Few trends in MTB racing have seen such explosive growth as Enduro. Perhaps that is because riding “Enduro” is what almost all of us have been doing since we started mountain biking. Enduro is all about getting out there on your bike and riding the best trails you can find, taking it easy on the climbs and blasting the downhills. It’s a very accessible type of riding. Depending on where you live, just head to the hills and “run what you brung”. You don’t need huge mountains, nor do you need a ski resort. All you need is a capable bike and some basic protective gear, and you can be going on epic “Enduro” rides tomorrow morning.

Jeff Lenosky by Matt Delorme

Yesterday we called it “all-mountain” riding. Before that, we just called it mountain biking. So why this new term? We owe it to the Enduro racing scene that has developed over the last few years, starting with “Enduro Downhill” races like the Megavalanche and the Mountain of Hell, followed by so-called “Gravity Enduro” events  which are one- or multi-day stage races with timed descents and non-timed liaison stages, such as the infamous Trans-Provence. Enduro, then, is not a type of riding, nor is it a special type of bike – it is simply a racing discipline that happens to mirror what most of us enjoy riding week in and week out.

Racing

Aside from the big annual events mentioned previously, two Enduro series in particular have shaped the early days of the discipline from a racing point of view. The French Enduro Series and the Italian Superenduro Series were both among the first official Enduro leagues and have both seen incredible growth over the last few years. Hundreds of international and local riders attend these races with a defined structure, significant spectator  numbers and increased media attention.

Last year's Italian Superenduro Series closing event in Finale Ligure

While these pioneers have helped create a foundation for the discipline, other regional and national series are now popping up almost on a weekly basis. The North American Enduro Tour for example has introduced a 7-stop tour that brings together the Santa Cruz Bicycles/Shimano Oregon Enduro Series, the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro at Crankworx Whistler, the Specialized Enduro in Winter Park, CO, the Wasatch Enduro at Canyons Resort in Utah and the Big Mountain Enduro Series. This North American umbrella series mirrors similar initiatives that exist in many other countries.

Enduro World Series

Because so many different Enduro racing events and series exist, and because there was no international unifying body, we find a lot of variety in rules and event formats across the world. To provide direction and purpose, a few visionary people decided to come together and look at whether it would make sense to create a worldwide sanctioning body and global Enduro series to channel the Enduro energies into something more universal. This is how the Enduro Mountain Bike Association (EMBA) and subsequently the Enduro World Series came to be.

The EMBA Board is made up of the following 4 people:

Chris Ball - Ex-UCI Technical Delegate, Enduro World Series Managing Director, bike rider
Darren Kinnaird - Crankworx Events Manager, FMB advisor, bike rider
Fred Glo - French Enduro Series Founder, adventurer, bike rider
Enrico Guala - SuperEnduro Founder, trail builder, bike rider

The Founding Fathers - clockwise from top left, Chris Ball, Fred Glo, Darren Kinnaird, Enrico Guala

The ethos of the group is simple - to develop the sustainable growth of Enduro racing alongside our membership; including riders, teams, industry and organizers.

Riders

The Enduro World Series has attracted an incredible number of top riders from many different mountain biking disciplines. Vouilloz, Barel, Atherton, Clementz, Wildhaber, Leov, Peat, Minnaar, Cruz, Lau, Chausson, Beerten, Martin(s), Lopes, Weir, Absalon, Quere - the list is impressive to say the least. We spoke to a few of the riders to find out to find out what drew them to Enduro, what their views are on the discipline, and what they hope to achieve in the EWS.

Vital's EWS Countdown Rider Interviews

Jerome Clementz - Once Enduro, Always Enduro
Brian Lopes and Anne-Caro Chausson - MTB Hall of Famers looking for a good time
Dan Atherton - World-class DHer, 4Xer, DJer, and trailbuilder extraordinaire, out to win it all
Anneke Beerten - 4 times 4X UCI World Cup overall winner and twice 4X UCI World Champion, looking for a new challenge

EWS Rules

One of the main challenges for the Enduro World Series was to come up with a rulebook that would be flexible enough to accommodate a number of existing Enduro events and series, yet defined enough to help give the discipline a stronger global direction. The EMBA board worked closely with the EWS Advisory Board (riders Curtis Keene, Tracy Moseley, and Jerome Clementz, and industry representatives Jeremiah Boobar, Mark Fitzsimmons, and Rob Roskopp) to achieve this goal, and as is evident from reading the new rulebook, they seem to have accomplished just that.

There will be some local variation in how the different EWS events are organized, notably regarding issues like protective equipment and the amount of practice allowed, but a main body of universal rules has been agreed and implemented.

Description of Enduro Mountain Biking
Enduro mountain bike racing is designed to be the definitive test for the mountain biker, with the focus of each event on creating a great atmosphere, community, competition and adventure for the competitor, including the best riding on the best terrain available in the host region. This racing platform outlines a format that allows riders to compete against each other on individual start special stages which are designed to challenge the rider's technical ability and physical capacity.

Vital Analysis: you’re supposed to be fit, have good bike skills, and above all, have fun!

Course
Structure:
All Special Stages must follow a predominantly descending route and focus on testing the rider's technical skills. Special exceptions can be made for prologue stages. Enduro racing is about best use of the trails and terrain available. Rider experience and enjoyment should be the focus for any course setter. It is expected that, in order to achieve the best riding on the best trails possible, some climbs will feature within Special Stages.

Liaison Stages (non-competitive portions of the race that connect the timed sections):
The composition of each Liaison Stage is at the discretion of the organizer. Mechanical uplift (chairlift, truck etc), rider power (pedaling) or a combination of both is acceptable.

Special Stages (competitive, timed stages):
The General Classification (GC) of each race will be calculated by adding all Special Stage times together.  The start and finish of each Special Stage will be clearly marked on the map supplied by the organizer. Signs clearly marking the start and finish of each Special Stage will be in place 24 hours before the race start. A Special Stage will be designed to test the rider's technical and physical abilities.  There is no minimum or maximum duration for a Special Stage.

Vital Analysis: You might have to do a bit of climbing between stages, but your reward will be riding world class downhill-oriented trails as fast as you can.

Race Format

  • Individual start on all Special Stages
  • Minimum of 4 Special Stages per event
  • Minimum of 20 minutes total competition time for the fastest rider in the General Classification (accumulation of all Special Stages)
  • Minimum of 3 different courses must be used per event
  • Individual start times for each Special Stage must be provided by the organizer

Vital Analysis: you get to ride your bike a lot at EWS events.

Training
On-bike training must be provided by the organizer on all Special Stages before timed competition begins. Details of training times are to be published ahead of each Enduro World Series event on each organizer’s website.

Vital Analysis: At some events, you’ll know the course 1 month in advance – at others, 1 day. Adapt and overcome.

Rider Equipment
Each rider must be self-sufficient during the entire duration of the race. Personal responsibility and self-sufficiency are a large part of the spirit of Enduro racing and riders are encouraged to carry adequate equipment for operating in mountainous environments. Each rider should remember that they are solely responsible for themselves but should also help other competitors on course where possible.

Only one frame, one front and rear suspension unit (fork/rear shock) and one pair of wheels can be used by a competitor during a race. Frame, suspension and wheels will be individually marked by the race organizer prior to race the start. Any rider needing to replace a wheel, frame or forks during the competition must present the broken item at the Race Office, where the Race Director will assess the damage. Only upon approval of the Race Director, may a rider replace a frame, suspension part or wheel. Following the repair the rider must return to the Race Director to have the replacement part(s) re-marked before rejoining the race. A 5 minute penalty will be awarded to every rider who, after the agreement of the Race Director, replaces the equipment listed above.

Vital analysis: You and your bike against the elements. You want to save weight, go ahead, but be sure your bike is strong enough to make the finish line!

Rule Violations
The EWS will adopt a strict stance on violations like course cutting and illegal outside assistance, and may use “flying marshals” to keep an eye on things during the races. In addition, a zero tolerance policy is in place with regards to doping – including prior offenses, meaning that no rider who has been found guilty of doping in the past may partake in the EWS.

Vital analysis: Hell yeah, EWS!

The Races

The Enduro World Series offers seven events for 2013: Two in Italy (part of the Superenduro Series), three in France (two events from the French Enduro Series and one event at Crankworx Les Deux Alpes), and two in North America (Colorado Freeride Festival at Winter Park, and Crankworx Whistler). Here is a short overview of the dates and the format used for each event:

18-19 May, Punta Ala, Superenduro PRO

The Superenduro races take place on circuits marked by a variable number of special stages (PS) that are mostly downhill and constituted by pedaled uphill stretches of no more than 10% of their total length and a course that favors all-condition racing skills.

The liaison (climbing) sections are not timed, but there is a cut-off time for each stage start that must be respected, under penalty of disqualification in case of failure. There is no uplift service at the Punta Ala event (not during official training nor during the race).

Because this is a PRO-level Superenduro Event, there is a minimum vertical of 1500 meters for the event, 450 participants MAX (already sold out), minimum total race time 20 minutes.

The course opens for practice 1 month ahead of the event (people are already busy practicing as you read these lines).

29-30 May, Val d’Allos, French Enduro Series

Day 1: 2 or 3 special stages, total race time from 10-20 minutes per special stage

Day 2: 1 special stage, raced 2 or 3 times during the day – 15 minute per run for the fastest

The special stages are predominantly downhill oriented, with some climbing within each special stage. The tracks are only announced the day before the race, and the participants may only walk the track once. However, the first run on each special stage each day is not timed, to allow the riders to get somewhat familiar with the track, before starting timed runs.

The event uses mechanical uplifts and some pedaling.  Last year’s edition of the Val d’Allos race offered a total of 10,000 vertical meters descending (not all of it timed, but most)!

6-7 July, Crankworx Les 2 Alpes

Les 2 Alpes Cannondale Enduro

350 racers
Rally format (timed special stages; non-timed transfers).
The racing will take place over a 4 stage course in the Les 2 Alpes resort which will be designed by Jerome Clementz.  Transfer stages will feature a combination of pedaling and mechanical uplifts.
Training will be available on July 6 only - course will be closed prior to the event. The race takes place on July 7.

26-28 July, Colorado Freeride Festival

Specialized Enduro - Powered by Shimano

The Specialized Enduro is a 3-day, 5-stage race that will showcase some of the world's fastest, fittest, and most technical mountain bike athletes battling it out throughout the trail system of Trestle Bike Park. A combination of uplifts and climbing will be used. The Specialized Enduro is one of only 2 North American stops of the Enduro World Series.

COURSE MAPS: Will be posted on July 24.

Friday, July 26:
9am: STAGE 1, 10-15 MINUTE ENDURO DOWNHILL – CHAINLESS!
Noon: STAGE 2, 10-15 MINUTE ENDURO DOWNHILL

Saturday, July 27
9am: STAGE 3, 10-15 MINUTE ENDURO DOWNHILL
Noon: STAGE 4, 10-15 MINUTE ENDURO DOWNHILL

Sunday, July 28
10am: STAGE 5, SPECIALIZED® ENDURO FINALE
This final 30 minute stage will feature a loop of climbing and descending before dropping through the entire vertical of Trestle Bike Park – 2000 vertical feet. The athlete's total time up to this point will be used to determine the start times of this race. The FASTEST athlete in the previous 4 stages combined goes FIRST. The rest of the field is staggered behind the leader based on their total time, and they are chasing the leader to the finish. First rider across the finish wins the overall!
Total prize purse: $15,000

10-11 Aug, Crankworx Whistler

Whistler SRAM Canadian Enduro presented by Specialized

350 racers
Rally format (timed special stages; non-timed transfers).
4 or 5 stages (2 or 3 on Whistler Mountain including trails from the Whistler Bike Park; 1 on Blackcomb Mountain and 1 in the Whistler Valley). Final stage will be a descent starting from the top of Whistler Peak; approximately 10.5 kms with a vertical Drop of 1450 meters.  Winning time for this final stage in 2012 was 18:29.94, set by Jerome Clementz.
Transfer stages will feature combination of pedaling and mechanical uplifts
Official training August 10; race August 11
Total prize purse: $25,000

24-25 August, Val d’Isere (Enduro of Nations)

Day 1: 2-3 special stages, total race time from 10-20 minutes per special stage

Day 2: 1 special stage, raced 2 or 3 times during the day – 15 minute per run for the fastest

The special stages are predominantly downhill oriented, with some climbing within each special stage. The tracks are only announced the day before the race, and the participants may only walk the track once. However, the first run on each special stage each day is not timed, to allow the riders to get somewhat familiar with the track, before starting timed runs.
The event uses mechanical uplifts and some pedaling.
Because this event is also the “Enduro Trophy of Nations” event for 2013 (national team competition in addition to the individual racing), the last special stage of the last day will be a mass-start event, to provide a fitting finale.

19-20 October, Finale Ligure

The town of Finale Ligure (SV) is located in Liguria and extends along the Ligurian Riviera, between the headlands of Caprazoppa and Capo Noli. The town has become synonymous with mountain biking in Europe over the last few years, with many pro riders using the town for training. The area offers world class downhill trails and regular uplift service is available.

The Superenduro races take place on circuits marked by a variable number of special stages (PS) that are mostly downhill and constituted by pedaled uphill stretches of no more than 10% of their total length and a course that favors all-condition racing skills.The liaison (climbing) sections are not timed, but there is a cut-off time for each stage start that must be respected, under penalty of disqualification in case of failure. There is no uplift at the Finale Ligure event.

Because this is a PRO-level Superenduro Event, there is a minimum vertical of 1500 meters for the event, 450 participants max, minimum total race time 20 minutes.

The course opens for practice 1 month ahead of the event.

The Team View

That Enduro racing is popular is beyond any doubt. You just have to take a look at the list of world-class teams who will be attending the EWS events to see that it is also the focus of much investment. We spoke to Dan Brown, Team Manager of GT Factory Racing, to find out just how seriously a big race team is taking the Enduro World Series at this point.

Dan Brown by Sven Martin

Vital: How important is Enduro to GT Factory Racing and the Athertons? Describe the support you plan to provide at EWS races and how it may or may not differ from your DH World Cup set up.
DB: Having the Enduro scene expand like it is doing is perfect for GT Factory Racing. Dan expressed an interest in racing this discipline a few years ago, he's always been an amazing physical athlete and his coach always said he'd be better suited to an event with an endurance element. So following on from his success in the later part of 2011 we looked to give him a full season in 2012 - that support was limited as it was a trial season but we learnt a lot and the infrastructure and support going into 2013 will be similar to what we have for the DH team.

Vital: What has led to this recent explosion in Enduro’s popularity do you think? Is it a fad, or here to stay?
DB: For sure these little fashions come and go in the sport but Enduro has the ingredients to remain for a long time, without stating the obvious I think it’s going to introduce more people to racing, be that riders or spectators. As long as it continues to produce fun riding/racing for the competitors I think the attraction will be there for a long time.

Vital: What are your views on the UCI’s stance on non-sanctioned events? Can we expect to see more actions like Team Sho-Air’s Cannondale’s recent decision to send its whole roster to a non-sanctioned event despite the threat of fines and suspensions?
DB: I want to be clear that I am not backing what and how the UCI use the sanctioning money from these events for but I do whole-heartedly believe in the theory that events should be sanctioned through a governing body. In the UK this works really well, the sanctioning fees go into promotion of cycling, national team funding, grassroots projects and a host of other good cycling causes. Cycling needs this umbrella structure to help push the sport forwards. It creates a hierarchy of events and develops cycling as a whole, the UCI and other governing bodies may or may not be doing this right but in the UK we now have over 40% of the population riding bikes and we owe a lot of that to British Cycling. Where this leaves us and Enduro is another matter but I have faith in the EWS to ensure the riders’ freedom to race and that all the national events will feed into the bigger picture of Enduro racing.

Vital: Gee and Rach won’t be having a go in any of the EWS events this year – can we deduce they’re not all that into pedaling then?
DB: That’s a fair comment, Gee rode a ONE Industries mini Enduro event at the start of the year and had some good fun racing it but there is no urge from either to take on the Enduro side at this stage.


Useful Links

Series:

One-off events:


2013 Enduro World Series Racing coverage begins this Friday, May 17, right here on Vital MTB, so stay tuned!

8 comments