Q&A Session with John Hauer of X-Fusion
Mtbr: What is the Punta Ala event and what makes it special?
John Hauer: The Punta Ala Superenduro marked the first round of the Enduro World Series. What made this Enduro event so special was that it would be the first time riders truly competed from every region of the world in a structured global series. It consisted of riders from DH, XC and Enduro specific backgrounds all hoping to make their mark on the Enduro scene. Some even said it was the deepest talent level of any off-road cycling race ever. There were a total of 14 previous world champions competing in Punta Ala and the media presence was in full force. Everybody wanted to see how round one of the EWS was going to shake out.
Mtbr: What were your goals and expectations coming in to the event? How did you prepare yourself and your equipment?
John Hauer: My personal goals not knowing much about how Enduro’s are ran in Europe was to ride to the best of my ability and take in everything I could. Superenduro racing is tough and physical and the added hurdle of being in a foreign land makes it even tougher. I knew going into the event what the general terrain was going to be like due to many riders practicing weeks in advance and posting POV videos of the tracks. I chose to take my Specialized Stumpy Evo 29 which if doing it all over again would still be my bike of choice. Along with my ride I brought pretty much any replacement part you can think of along with an assortment of tires. I was definitely prepared with gear and was glad I brought as much as I did.
Mtbr: How did it go and what did you learn? Surprises and Disappointments?
John Hauer: Well… I was proud of how I rode, but there was definitely some disappointment. I crashed hard in stage 2 losing a lot of time and dropping me back severely in the overall results. I ended up 47th out of 400+ riders which is respectable but I had higher hopes and thought that it didn’t reflect how well I was actually riding. I knew going into the race that you needed to be consistent and not make any mistakes but after a challenging stage 1 I was looking to make up time in stage 2 and came into a section a little hot. I lost my line, hit some rocks and got sent ass over tea kettle. That’s racing though so I let it go and continued on to have strong 3rd and 4th stages.
Mtbr: What’s in yours and Xfusion’s future as far as Enduro events go?
John Hauer: X-Fusion will definitely maintain a presence in Enduro racing. It coincides with our product line and is a great driving factor in mid-travel bike development at the moment. X-Fusion plans to continue supporting this category and is proud to be the title sponsor of the Ashland Mountain Challenge Enduro being held on June 22nd in Ashland, OR. Our athletes like Manuel Ducci, Brian Lopes and Jeff Lenosky will continue to compete in these events and will be working closely with us on future development. As for myself, I trail ride everyday and Enduro embraces all-mountain trail riding turning it into a competitive event. Being the competitive person I am, I’ll definitely still be competing in numerous Enduro events from the regional to international level. To sum it up, X-Fusion and my personal involvement with Enduro racing looks very bright.
Continue reading for John Hauer’s Enduro World Series Punta Ala race report.