Enduro 101

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The 2014 Ride Sun Valley Festival will feature the two-day Scott Enduro Cup presented by GoPro race June 27-29. The Scott Enduro Cup presented by GoPro offers a three-race season with two races in Utah, Magnificent 7 in Moab and Canyons Resort, and the ‘Sun Valley Super Enduro’ in Idaho. The Enduro Cup in Sun Valley is a two-day race covering 24 miles and 9,000 vertical descending feet. The course will take place on the buttery single track of Sun Valley Resort featuring real time results provided by the Ride Sun Valley Official Media and Timing Sponsor COX Communications.

Somewhere between grueling cross-country and rowdy downhill mountain bike racing, Enduro has emerged as one of the sport’s most popular race disciplines. To many unfamiliar with the sport, however, its format and requirements may seem a bit ambiguous. Enduro is a multi-stage race format, which combines descending timed stages and untimed transfer stages. Originating in Europe, the format migrated to the United States over a decade ago and has continued to escalate in popularity. Enduro is similar in many ways to Super-D, but takes place on a much larger scale. The racing portions of both formats are gravity fed, however, racers should be prepared to complete significant transfer stages in Enduro between each timed stage.

“Enduro racing is the most fun format of racing and doesn’t require you to kill yourself on the climbs,” said Enduro Cup Competition Director Ali Goulet. “People actually get to enjoy the race.”

In 2012, Goulet noticed an absence of Enduros in Utah and founded the Wasatch Enduro at Canyons Resort. Since then, Goulet has partnered with Salt Lake City based Mountain Sports International to create the three-race Scott Enduro Cup presented by GoPro series. A champion for the sport, Goulet claims Enduro racing is the most welcoming format for mountain bikers of all disciplines and abilities.

“The appeal of the Enduro format is that it utilizes riders’ fitness and technical skills providing a level playing field for both super technical and fit athletes,” remarked Goulet. “Ultimately, the best Enduro riders will have a good balance of both.”

While males make up the majority of the sport’s participation, it is also an excellent format for both elite and amateur female racers. Elite female riders participating in the 2013 Enduro Cup season noted how much they enjoyed getting to know their fellow competitors as opposed to more cutthroat cross country races where social opportunities are limited.
Similarly, amateur riders appreciated the opportunity to gain advice and support from more experienced female colleagues throughout the duration of the event.

There are no set guidelines dictating the parameters of an Enduro course. Race organizers can be creative with the distance, number of timed vertical descents and untimed transfer stages. However, the North American Enduro Tour (NAET), the North American sanctioning body of the sport, encourages timed stages to be primarily downhill with minimal climbing.

Goulet explained that a typical Enduro race would start with a transfer stage to the first timed stage. Racers will casually ride together to the first timed stage. Combined timed stages are taken into consideration for overall rankings and the race win. On average, the total combined timed stages for an amateur racer should be around a total of 30 minutes.

RACE READY TIPS
Getting prepared for the Scott Enduro Cup presented by GoPro in Sun Valley? Here are a few tips to get you race ready.

Gear
• The best bike for Enduro racing is the one you already own. There is a misconception races require high clearance bikes, but course terrain can greatly vary throughout the duration of a race. Racers are advised to bring the bike they would normally ride.

• Helmets are required, but full-face helmets may or may not be required depending on the race. Be sure to touch base with the race organizer on help requirements.

• Goulet suggests carrying a light layer to wear when waiting at timed stage starts. This is especially important during spring and fall races when temperatures may be cooler. Racers should also carry equipment to fix basic mechanical failures such as flat tires.

• It is also a good idea to carry sunscreen or be prepared to make friends with someone who has it.

• Cell phones may come in handy to capture your race, take photos or selfies.

Training
• In the months and weeks leading up to an Enduro Race Ali Goulet recommends at least one 2-hour-plus ride a week to build endurance. It is key to build up endurance leading up to a race to withstand the long day or racing and potentially long course.

• Goulet also suggests getting out on your bike to work on your technical skills. “Try to ride fast on the downhill sections of your rides,” cautioned Goulet. “But, remember to be mindful and respectful of other trail users.”

• More serious riders may also want to incorporate interval work into their training. Work on pedaling whenever you have an opportunity and focus on solid technical skills to maintain speed in the difficult downhill sections. Timed stages can be incredibly anaerobic depending on how the course is laid out.

• If possible, get out and ride the course trails in advance of the race. Some organizers, however, may choose not to release course details or restrict advance course access. In that case, try to ride similar trails to the course and get pedaling.

• Shorter rides the days leading up to the race will get your system ready for the race.

• Get plenty of rest, fluid and fuel in the days leading up to the race. The more your system is primed for racing, the better you will do!

Day of Preparation
• Many race organizers will provide water on the course, but it is a good idea to be informed on what will be provided and prepare to be self-sufficient.

• Goulet recommends consuming 150 calories per hour you will be on the course. Proper nutrition will enhance your mental clarity throughout the race and will help to sustain energy.

• Goulet also suggests riders should remember an Enduro race will likely take longer to complete then it might if they were just riding the course recreationally as waiting periods at the start of timed sections can occur.