We give you the lowdown on this exciting discipline, when to watch and who to look out for.
What is enduro?
Enduro, or gravity enduro in the UK, is a relatively new discipline of MTB racing, and 2013 sees the first World Series in full sway.
Enduro racing is essentially MTB stage racing. A long course, winding across country over varying terrain, is divided up into two types of stages, 'Special' and 'Liason' or 'Transition' stages.
Special stages. These are timed, technical and usually downhill, and it's the speed on these that will determine the winner. Each Enduro race must have at least four of these. Special stages are linked together with Liaison or Transition Stages.
Liason or transition stages. On these, speed isn't important but riders must complete them in a certain amount of time. These stages may be assisted, eg with lifts, or more usually the rider must complete them under their own steam.
The winner is the rider who has the fastest cumulative time over just the special stages.
The length and duration of the races will vary between rounds. To give you an idea of what riders have to expect, Round 1 in Punta Ala consisted of a 62km course, with 1600 metres of climbing, and over 5 to 6 hours of riding.
The race combines the physical endurance of XC with the technical difficulty and excitement of DH
CHRIS BALL, Enduro World Series Director
Riders must carry everything they need with them throughout each day of the race. That includes food and water. They can also end up carrying two helmets; if they use a full-face helmet for the Special Stages, they need to carry a second lighter helmet to wear while on the Liason Stages. Or wear the full-face for the whole day – which could get quite hot.
Not to be confused with races that have been called enduro xc in the UK for many years, which are actually more like long distance or long duration cross country races. These are known as marathon races in the rest of the world.
An accessible format.
This format has been described as the future of MTB, as in many ways it’s more representative of how the vast majority of mountain bikers enjoy the sport. A gang of people, riding out for the day in beautiful locations, carrying their stuff with them and chatting on the transition sections.
The downhill sections, although technical, aren’t beyond the ability of mere mortals, albeit rather skilled ones. Also you don't need to fork out for an all-out downhill bike for this type of event, as a decent trail or all mountain bike is perfect. Combine these elements and you have a race format that is inviting and accessible to a wide range of riders, both pro and amateur.
Who’s in it?
There were more world cup champions in the first round, male and female, than in some of the last UCI world cup races. This format has attracted riders from many disciplines, with well-known cross country and 4cross riders like Anneke Beerten competing alongside downhill riders such as Emmeline Ragot and Anne Caroline Chausson.
Top British rider Tracey Moseley, riding on the Trek Team, won a decisive victory in Round 1 at Punta Ala. Moseley is the winner of numerous downhill world cup races, and was the 2012 UK Gravity Enduro Champion. Can she win again in Val d’Allos?
Who runs it?
The World Series is organised and run by Enduro Mountain Bike Association with formed late 2012. Chris Ball is the director of the World Series, and was the former UCI Gravity Sports Technical Delegate.
The birth of the World Series has not been without controversy, with UCI involvement unexpectedly withdrawn in late 2012. Riders who compete in the Enduro World Series events therefore do not gain UCI points.
2013 Enduro World Series
- Round 1 18th - 19th May 2013
Punta Ala, Italy - Winners: Tracey Mosely and Fabien Barel
- Round 2 29th - 30th June 2013
Val d'Allos, France
- Round 3 6th - 7th July 2013
Les 2 Alpes, France
- Round 4 27th - 28th July 2013
Winter Park, Colorado, USA
- Round 5 10th - 11th August 2013
Crankworx, Whistler, Canada
- Round 6 24th - 25th August 2013
Val d'Isere, France
- Round 7 19th - 20th October 2013
Finale Ligure, Italy
Visit the Enduro World Series website to find out more.