With only a few weeks to go until the final round of the first ever Enduro World Series, we caught up with pro-rider Tracy Moseley to discover her thoughts on enduro racing, transitioning over from downhill, and the huge appeal of this new race format.
Having switched over from MTB downhill racing, where her successful 12 year career saw her crowned World Champion, she's been having an amazing season. Numerous wins mean she goes into this final round having already gained enough points to win the series.
"At the end of 2012 the Enduro World Series was launched, and I think I was just pretty damn lucky. I was ready to do something new, and this was the perfect time.
Coming from downhill racing, I kinda knew that my skill level would be good enough for what the Enduro Series was going to throw at me. I also knew I’d need to build up my endurance to be able to do a downhill run that was probably going to be 5 times as long as the World Cup Downhill, and general endurance for pedalling.
I spent very little time in the gym compared to my downhill race training – I didn’t need to be massive and strong, as I needed endurance strength rather than sprint strength. I started doing Pilates and really working on my core, to make sure my body was in a good state to cope with injuries and recovery.
I also did a lot more riding; road riding and cross-country. I began doing a few cross-country (XC) races too, which were pretty horrendous; my idea was if I could suffer for an hour and a half in an XC race, then an enduro stage of 10 or 20 minutes would seem pretty easy in comparison! It seemed to work, as I didn’t struggle anywhere like as much as I expected with some of the big days.
I’d say a mixture of training and time on your bike is key, and also riding different terrain. You’ve got to be able to react, so constantly challenging your skills is really helpful.
Everyone’s gone crazy with the buzzword of enduro, all-mountain, or whatever you want to call it. But what enduro actually is is the kind of riding everyone does, on a weekend, on a ride, out with their mates, wherever you go.
98% of the population would enjoy enduro racing because it’s pottering up hills with your mates, and racing down the fun bits.
I think that’s why its captured so many peoples imagination, because you can actually relate to it. People can see themselves doing it.
How the series started
The Enduro World Series was basically the idea of the organisers of the French and Italian Enduro Series, the Crankworxs organiser, and Chris Ball who worked for the UCI. It’s in its first year, and as it’s not run under the UCI there were no pre-existing rules or regulations.
The organisers needed a sounding board, so they got together 3 rider representatives, including me, and 3 guys from the mountain bike industry. We’ve been trying to iron out as many problems as possible, and just gauge what people wanted from it, across the community.
It’s been pretty interesting and I think on the whole it’s been a massive success. I don’t think anyone expected it to have created as much media hype as it has.
There have been a number of teething problems, partly because the rules have been slightly different at each race as each has been run under a different enduro federation – so that’s always going to cause some confusion.
A lot of stuff has been learnt this year. The guys involved are passionate about the sport, and I think it will only get bigger and better each year.
From grass-roots to World Series
I really loved Val d’Allos which was round two, because of the location. It was a tiny village in France, and the trails were just beautiful; superb, natural single-track, amazing natural terrain, beautiful scenery, and some challenging, long stages.
I also liked the atmosphere; it was really quite low key, the restaurant opened up literally the day before the race, we all camped in a field, it was just a really nice, good vibe to the event.
Before this World Series, enduro events had an amazing, grass-rootsy feel, like the old days of mountain bike racing and without the big trucks and corporate feel that you get with World Cup Downhill events.
But the World Series, and the prospect of becoming a world champion at the end of the season, I think made the bike industry realise this was going to be a big thing. They’ve started investing more, putting together teams, and it’s got more professional really quickly. At the same time, it still has quite a low-key feel that I enjoy.
I don’t think that will always be the case. It’s going to grow, it will be become bigger, with bigger pits and bigger teams; it’s only natural. Everyone’s going to want to win it, so they’re going to invest in it.
To have won the series before the last round has taken a massive load of pressure off me; I can go to Finale and actually enjoy it. I know what will happen though – I’ll want to win and I’ll want to go out with a good result, so it will probably end up feeling just as pressured as any other event! But deep down I know it’s not the be-all and end-all, and if it does go wrong, it doesn’t matter – my season’s still intact.
I couldn’t have asked for a better year. Winning the first four rounds of the series and giving myself such a big lead is not something I could have imagined at the start of the year. It’s been awesome!
This time of year, at the end of the season, everything is massively up in the air, but my plan is to continue and do the full 2014 Enduro World Series, and continue with some cross-country races as well.
I think the success of the series means that the bike companies are going to invest more. My sponsors, Trek, have brought out a range of bikes that are completely suited to enduro, so they’ll have an amazing selection next year. I think they’ll definitely want to invest more in it and create more of a professional team which will be a good thing.
Hopefully over the next 4 to 6 weeks everything will come into place, I’ll have my calendar ready, and I’ll know what I’m doing for the next 12 months!
Want to try enduro racing?
The best way to get involved is to go along to a race! We’re going to see more and more events cropping up, so try and find something that’s a grass roots event, a mini enduro, a taster event – something like that where you can have a go. I think that once most people get to an event and realise how social it is, how rideable the terrain is, and just how much fun the race weekends are, I’d be very surprised if they don’t get hooked."
Want to find out more about the Enduro World Series? Tracy has been sharing her first hand experience of competing, so catch up on the action here.