What exactly is this growing sport called enduro racing? Mtbr got to experience it first hand as we not only observed but also participated in the Enduro World Series #4 in Winter Park, Colorado. Winter Park is a bike park much like Whistler Bike Park in British Columbia so this stage promised some downhill and lift-assisted riding in the mix.
But make no mistake, this is no downhill race. This race was dominated by six-inch travel bikes with all wheel sizes represented. A common theme was most bikes were around 30 lbs in weight or lower. Rough downhill terrain and big jumps were present, but cross-country terrain with lots of pedaling were in the mix as well.
Each stage is run like a time trial, with riders going out 30 seconds apart. All the elapsed times for each rider’s stages are added together for an overall time. The rider with the lowest overall time wins the race. Each stage has a little bit of a different flavor focusing on downhill or pedaling, but the key components on the bike (frame, wheels, and fork) can not be altered. Thus, consistency is key for a good run at the overall win.
Video: Day 1 of Enduro World Series #4, Winter Park
Frenchman Jerome Clementz and Brit Tracy Moseley jumped out to early leads on day one of the three-day Enduro World Series event being contested as part of the Colorado Freeride Festival on the twisting steep trails of Winter Park Resort high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Video: Day 2 of Enduro World Series #4, Winter Park
Frenchman Jerome Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain) and Brit Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) each posted the fastest times in a long, rocky, chunky natural terrain-laden Stage 3a, helping both maintain their respective leads over Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (Ibis) in the men’s and women’s open divisions. Stage 3b — contested lower down on the mountain on a series of jump-laden machine made trails — went to Jared Graves (Yeti) and Chausson.
Video: Day 3 of Enduro World Series #4, Winter Park
Clementz won just one of the event’s five stages, but was second, third, fourth and ninth on the other four, which helped him score a commanding 37-second overall triumph ahead of second-placed Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre). Fabien Barel (Canyon) made it a 1-2-3 sweep for France, slotting third at 0:42. Clementz’s total time was 41:12.455.
Trek’s Moseley put on a similarly dominating performance, besting famed Frenchwoman Anne-Caroline Chausson (Ibis) by 39 seconds. Chausson actually won the stage win battle 3-to-2. But just like Clementz, Moseley smoked the long and grueling stage 3, putting more than 38 seconds into her top rival.
Video: Official Video from Enduro World Series
By the end of the weekend, we captured charm of Enduro racing. It wasn’t a five-minute downhill race dominated by human missles hurtling down a rocky hillside. And it wasn’t a cross-country race dictated by roadies riding in a pack. Rather it is a weekend of many opportunities and mishaps, many option lines, rocks, jumps and fastest routes. It is an event where time can be gained with superior descending and jumping skills as well as thousands of watts of short burst power or endurance on day three on short climb or flat section.
It is an event filled with challenge, fun, planning and hanging out with friends on the kind of riding one would be doing anyway on their own time.