The Angry Singlespeeder: My Very First Enduro™

Enduro Opinion Race Coverage
The ASS trades in his singlespeed for a six-inch squishy bike and tries an Enduro™ to see if this new format of racing lives up to all the hype.

Segment three sent riders from the very top of Mammoth at 11,000 feet, dropping them all the way down to Canyon Lodge at 8,300 feet.

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at [email protected]. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

In case you’ve had your head buried in a hole for the past couple years, Enduro is all the rage, bro. And since the ASS is not one to jump on bandwagons very quickly, I’ve somewhat reluctant to sample this new style of mountain bike racing that’s sweeping the nation like the overhyped 29er craze did five years ago.

Enduro has become so popular that I’m surprised nobody has trademarked it yet. Don’t bother. Rich Dillen from Team Dicky already has his application in, so he’ll get a royalty anytime a manufacturer uses the word Enduro™ in their products.

Mammoth Mountain hosted the first annual Kamikaze Bike Games, establishing its return to being the crown jewel of mountain bike races.

When it comes to finding the ideal venue for a rip-roaring Enduro™ event, it doesn’t get much better than a world-class ski resort like Mammoth Mountain. The folks at Mammoth brought radical back this year, re-introducing the Kamikaze Downhill to all those young buck shredders who weren’t even a gleam in their daddy’s eye when dudes were doing 60 mph on a fire road with cantilever brakes, 65 tooth chainrings and 2-inch suspension forks.

The inaugural Kamikaze Bike Games was held this past weekend, and in addition to featuring the Kamikaze Downhill, the Games also featured a USGP Downhill, Dual Slalom, Cross-Country, MTB Fondo, a Gran Fondo for the roadies, Kids Rides for the little ones, and of course, an Enduro™.

After having signed up for the XC race with my trusty 26-inch hardtail singlespeed Ibis Tranny, I pre-rode the course and was quite underwhelmed. Maybe I was just spoiled from the past month of world-class courses, but a five-mile loop on 70 percent of pumice-laden fire road wasn’t doing it for me.

So I switched my entry to the Enduro™, figuring I might as well see what all the hullabaloo was about. I loaded my 20-pound Ibis hardtail on the chair lift and pre-rode the three Enduro™ courses that included trails like Bullet DH, Follow Me, Skid Marks, Lincoln Express and more. If you know Bullet and Follow Me, or if you’ve ridden off the top of Mammoth’s 11,000 foot peak, you know these trails are a deadly mix of loose, soft pumice and huge rocks. Toss in a sprinkling of rock drops and man-eating brake bump holes, and you’ve got a course that chews up 26-inch hardtails and spits ‘em out in pieces.

After barely surviving all three courses, my poor Tranny suffered a broken spoke in the rear wheel and rear brake pads that were completely disintegrated. If I valued my life, I wouldn’t race the Enduro™ on the Tranny. I needed to find a more suitable tool for the job.

Left: The ASS got hooked up with a demo of the 2014 GT Force Pro. It ruled. Right: Not only does it rip downhill with 150mm travel front and rear, but the GT Force Pro does it in style.

I headed over to the GT tent and met Tom the demo guy. I told him of my dilemma, and because I think he felt sorry for my complete lack of preparation, he set me up on a 2014 GT Force Pro – a sub 30-pound, carbon fiber, six-inch travel, all-mountain, get-rad-as-your-balls-allow wunderbike complete with trendy dropper post and a grip load of style.

The ASS was ready to get his Enduro™ on – except for one thing – I was missing my standard issue Enduro™ Blue baggy shorts. Actually, nothing I had on was blue. Thankfully there was no time penalty for not wearing blue, as it seemed nearly every other rider I saw hiking up to the first segment was wearing something blue.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Bob Stimson says:

    Wish you had written more about the race, the trails or your experiences and less about how uber awesome the bike was. Did you get compensated for mentioning GT a dozen times?

  • The Chez says:

    I love it. I’m bummed I got beaten to trademarking that word. I guess I’ll look for the next big thing.

  • DJo says:

    CRC ad just came in by email with a big picture of a dude going downhill wearing blue baggies and a POC helmet.

  • dough parrott says:

    Dang, this article has my ass foaming for an enduro. Sick !

  • Learux says:

    Usually a fan of his write ups. This seems like an advertisement for GT.

    Me thinks that was the deal when they gave him the loaner bike.

    ( We give you bike, you write good stuff).

  • Bob says:

    Great report. It was interesting to get your take on the “new” sport. Also, you should provide more bike reviews. Nice to read one that’s not laced with self aggrandizing bs or other useless info.

  • Dan says:

    Nice report. Keep riding like you did and they may be trading those blue baggies in for whatever you were wearing.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Why is that that any time I mention I product that I used – that I actually liked – people automatically think I’m getting some kind of compensation or backdoor deal? Can’t a guy just ride a bike and be really impressed with it? The bike kicked ass, okay? No, I don’t owe GT shit. I just thought it would be nice to mention the bike that helped me pull off a 3rd place finish in my very first Enduro without ever having ridden it before.

    The ASS doesn’t do half-assed or empty plugs for a product for no reason. The product has to earn my respect, and the GT did exactly that.

    And the last time I checked, we’re in the 21st Century, not the Middle Ages, so quit with the “Me thinks” garbage. It’s “I think”. And you thought wrong. I wrote good stuff because the bike did good things.

    And not that it matters or anything, but just to remind you the name of this website is Mountain Bike Review.

    – ASS

    • jabbo-leftist says:

      “”Why is that that any time I mention I product that I used – that I actually liked – people automatically think I’m getting some kind of compensation or backdoor deal?””

      Dicky didnt give you a backdoor deal in Breck Epic or did you not actually like him enough?

  • Preston says:

    Don’t understand why so many people want to bust on Enduro because its the newest thing. This is the type of MTB racing we should have been doing all these years, it just took this long to figure it out. I gave up on XC racing a decade ago because it was all pain and (not as true today) races were won by roadie types with low skills. I like DH, but its not really that representative of a normal trail ride. Loving the Enduro, embrace it ASS, as it appears you have. Also kind of funny to read about “wow, bikes with gears and suspension are fun”. I’m just as bad the other way though, cannot for the life of me figure out kore SS hardtail riders, yeah its okay as a side line but a lifestyle ?

  • Gary Erickson says:

    Nice write up Kurt, Where you off to next? the Iditarod on a fat bike. Liven the dream.

  • bob says:

    Wasn’t it just last year that everything was “All Mountain”? Now its all about Enduro.
    AM is so last years 29er, while Enduro is very this year 27.5.

    I can wait to find out what next years marketing slogan is and what new wheel size will be invented to go along with it.

  • bob says:

    Wouldn’t a real endure “race” involve riding UP to the trail you are going down? How is riding a chair lift to the top considered racing, where is the fitness in that? Open Off the Top let people ride up like men. Oh wait, that would weed out 95% of the racers..

  • Tom says:

    Nice article, but I will expect the Blind Fury (yes — trademarked!) to return for the next installment.

  • cecald says:

    Great article ASS – it’s interesting to hear what someone completely new to this racing format thought of not only the race, but the gear he begged/borrowed/stole to use for the race. I’m guessing someone snuck haterade into a lot of people’s morning coffees.

    We live in a great time (for mountain bike at least) and I think it’s not really a huge surprise that there are a ton of bikes that perform at least moderately well if not good, and then a whole slew of great performing bikes on top of that. Nothing wrong with throwing a leg over a new bike and loving it!!

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