Enduro events – what’s all the fuss about?
As ‘the new kid on the block’ of off-road cycling, Enduro style events are proving very popular with all sorts of riders. But what is an Enduro event, what’s needed to take part, and why should you care? Here’s our Pedal Planner low-down.
What is Enduro?
Enduro is a relatively new mountain biking /off-road format that takes its cue from motorcycle enduro racing. It’s proved very popular with all sorts of riders, from downhill adrenaline junkies to cross-country fitness fanatics – not to mention motorcyclists taking to pedal power.
The format is pretty straightforward, following a well marked route that involves a number of special stages. The event is timed: riders have to get themselves (‘transition’) from the end of each stage to the beginning of the next one, within a preset time.
Special stages are short, generally downhill sections that take 5-15 minutes to complete. The winner is the rider who has kept to the time schedule, and has the fastest cumulative time in the special tests.
Why so popular?
At Pedal Planner we think that the format of enduro events is similar to recreational riding with your mates. There’s time for chat and banter as you make your way to special stages with other riders. Then you descend as fast as you can to the bottom of the hill, re-gather, and share laughs and tales of the trail.
Add to this the spice of having independently timed descents, for undisputed bragging rights, and you are in for a fun filled day. If enduro sounds like your sort of day out, read on and we’ll get you set up for your first enduro event.
View a selection of this year’s enduro events >>
What bike to ride at an enduro event?
The great news is that most modern bikes are sufficiently capable climbers as well as comfortable descenders, making enduro events easily accessible. If you’re targeting a podium finish, you’ll want a 120 – 160mm full suspension bike, but you’ll still have a great day out if you’re riding a hardtail.
Dropper seatposts are a real advantage for enduro; special tests are often a mixture of technical descending and pedally bits in-between involving traversing or climbing. Having to pedal through these sections with your saddle set low and your knees round your ears really punishes tired legs; we know, we’ve done it!
What to wear
Most enduro event organisers are quite clear about protective equipment requirements. Generally they recommend (but do not stipulate) wearing full face helmets and body armour: check with the event organiser’s website well in advance of the big day.
What to take with you?
At an enduro event you carry everything that you will need for the duration of the event: once you’re waved off the start line, there’s no going back. At a minimum you’ll need drink, nutrition, spare tube, multi-tool, pump, medical kit, etc. You might also want other items to cover more eventualities – like the specialist tools and spare parts to fix more troublesome mechanicals.
We recommend registering for the event with your mates, so you can ride together and share the kit load where practicable. Some organisers will make certain items mandatory (mobile phone, whistle, medical kit), so make sure you check carefully in advance, and have all these critical items on board.
Top enduro tips
Share the love – and the pain! Enduro riding is a sociable activity, so why not persuade your mates to join you for your first event? As well as sharing the burden of those ‘just in case’ items, you will enjoy the experience all the more. Enduro is fundamentally about man versus terrain; so join forces with fellow riders and kill that hill.
Timing is everything – with a reasonable level of fitness and riding skill you should find the transitions reasonably comfortable, affording you time to re-group in pairs or trios and ride with your mates. Should you get a puncture or mechanical you won’t have much time, though: you’ll need to to work as a team and at a swift pace.
What you won’t have time for is faffing about your times while you’re out on the course – so a little time spent sorting this out before you start will pay dividends. Using your start time and the transition times for each stage, work out your arrival time at each subsequent stage. Get your mate to check you arithmetic, write your times down, and tape them to your top tube for easy reference out o the course. And remember to sync your watch with the event clock!
Steady as you go – it seems counter intuitive, but in the special sections you need to control that red mist and manage your speed! Any sort of an ‘off’ is likely to cost you at least 30 seconds, sending you a long way down the rankings for that section. This is especially relevant where you are riding a section without having had a practice or sighting lap: and even more so if you’ve not even walked the stage.
We hope this introduction to enduro events has explained why they are so much fun – and that you will feel inspired to give enduro a go this season. Check out the event information links above, talk to your mates, and get registering now!