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Why Enduro is the Best Format for MtB Racing

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8/22/2014 1:23 AM

I admit, I am trying to provoke some response here. STR is really, really sleepy right now...

The new (2nd year) Enduro World Series is fascinating. I would submit that it is the purest form of MtB racing. Competitors must meter out not only their energy levels, but the risk vs. reward of damage to their bikes, a flat or precious seconds lost from a routine fall. They take three hard-charging timed runs per day (over two days), often requiring them to ride to the top. The tracks are brutal requiring amazing bike handling skills and sometimes cover three climate zones in a single run. They must make their own repairs, and they cannot change bikes, forks, shocks, or even wheelsets for any of the six stages. They race one at a time to minimize trail congestion (but that's still an issue for some riders who end up trying to pass three or four competitors in a 7 minute run).

This to me catches the essence of modern mountain biking. Just as challenging as a full-blown DH race, with the extreme fitness of cross country, with the survivalist decision making of endurance events with the self-sufficiency inherent in trail riding.

How tough is it? Well with 300 male competitors in Round #4 in La Thuille Italy, the top three finishers were separated by 4 seconds. That's after six stages and an aggregate time of over an hour. Young guys/gals and seasoned DH vets are going toe to toe, run after run.

A common criticism of Enduro is that "there's no video coverage, so there's no way to follow it..." Really? You can't be a fan of something if you can't watch it live on TV or the interwebs? Well that's kind of sad. Most of the big mtb websites carry plenty of information, news, interviews video segments and photos to keep fans informed. Here's a sample:

The few remaining STR members represent various segments of the sport - newbies, XC hardcores, DH dabblers, bike park riders, endurance athletes, and off-menu (extreme) trail riders. Enduro has your interests covered.

Your thoughts? ermm