17 Jan 2017
5 BEST MTB ENDURO EVENTS TO RIDE BEFORE YOU DIE
Enduro racing is big, thanks to its ‘easy up, race down’ format that leaves the transitions from one great trail to the next relaxed – it’s the way a lot of mountain bikers ride anyway. It also requires a bike that’s all-round good at everything, and again, that’s what a lot of riders tend to already own (or you can easily upgrade!). There are plenty of events to choose from, but these are truly epic and worthy of any bucket list! And when we say “Events to Ride Before You Die”, remember, it’s a rough, tough sport but with the right fit, set-up and some good skills you’ll stay in one piece!
5. Downieville All-Mountain World Champs
Where? California, USA
This two-dayer involves a 46km XC race, then a 24km downhill the next day – on the exact same bike. All bikes are weighed and parts-checked, so if you want sticky dual-ply tires for the descent, you’re going to have to pedal them the day before!
Day one is a 1,340m climb to the crest of Sierra Nevada, then a 1,700m descent into Downieville; the start is at 1,250m elevation in Sierra City, so don’t underestimate how mountainous and rugged the terrain is. Day two sees a 1,500m descent with everything from flowy singletrack to 65kph+ drifty doubletrack with rock, roots, jumps and even waterfall crossings in between.
4. ’Ard Rock Enduro
Where? North Yorkshire, England
This 45km loop takes place over two days and “five Alpine style stages of natural, rock-strewn terrain” (say the organizers). It’s flowing, steep and technical, and nothing’s manmade. As the name suggests, it’s hard – you must be 18 years old or over. The course is marked, and covers around 2,500m of climbing and descending.
There’s also the one-day Enduro Sport, the two-day Enduro Sprint (a 30km version open to 15 year-olds and up) and the three-stage Enduro Intro for beginners. You can enter individually, as a team or even just as a loose group of mates – you can all start together. And to add to the fun, camping is just £5 per night.
Where? Southeast France
This six-day event runs from the high Alps down to the Med, and is a serious challenge. The 24 stages begin in the medieval town of Embrun – also the start town for the 19th stage, and longest, of the 2017 Tour de France – and end in the seaside idyll of Menton, between Monaco and the Italian Riviera.
The 2016 Trans-Provence route covered 271km, with 9,177m of climbs (higher than Mt Everest) and 18,003m (more than two Mt Everests!) of descent. The winner completed the special stages in 2hrs 34m, though the last finisher took just over six hours… they were probably both grateful for the Mediterranean waves on their feet.
2. Trans NZ Five-Day Enduro
Where? South Island, New Zealand
With 1,500m of climbing and 2,000m descending every day, the average stint crosses around 18km of New Zealand in 4-6hrs. With the event entering its fourth year, the organizers know how to show you a good time. The course takes in “native beach forest, Alpine riding, roots, high speed flow, loose, steep and rock” as it winds from Craigieburn, Canterbury to the well-loved trails of Queenstown.
Running from the end of February into March, it’s the perfect excuse for those in the Northern hemisphere to leave the winter behind and head south for some sun!
Where? Italy (various)
Superenduro is back, with changes designed to please the increasing numbers of amateur racers (without putting off the pros you’ll be rubbing shoulders with). In particular they’ve returned to a one-day schedule, and are spreading around the country for easier access.
2016 saw rounds in Tuscany, Liguria, Trentino and Sondrio, with the calendar running from March to the end of July, so choice is large. Oh, and it’s called Superenduro! What more could you want?