To answer the question, “What is an Enduro?” I enlisted the help of Josh Rhea and Alex Deckard, two local rippers who will be racing this weekend. While Josh has participated in Enduro races before, the Bell Wasatch Enduro will be Alex’s first.
Chances are you’ve never heard of an Enduro mountain bike race. But don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Similar to democracy, roads, and the bicycle itself, Enduro racing comes to the United States courtesy of Europe. And while Enduro races o’ plenty can currently be found across the pond, they’re only now starting to catch on in the U.S. with this weekend’s Bell Wasatch Enduro being the first race of its kind in Utah.
So what exactly is an Enduro? In its most basic form, it’s a race that combines ascending (human powered or lift assisted) and descending. In the case of Saturday’s race, it’s 3 parts climbing and 3 parts descending. But there’s a catch. Only the three descents, or competition stages, are timed and factor into the overall standings. The three climbing, or transfer stages, while not factored into the overall time, still have a set time limit. Don’t finish the climb within the allotted time? You’re toast. As you can see, unlike other race formats, Enduro puts equal emphasis on speed, power, endurance, and bike handling, requiring participants to be truly well rounded bikers.
“Because Enduro contains both climbs and descents, it’s definitely a great test of “all-mountain” ability, ” says Alex Deckard. “The climbs help keep the downhillers honest, and vice-versa for the spandex crowd.”
“Enduro is a really good mix of mountain biking abilities, and that’s what I love about it,” says Josh Rhea. “It’s being out on your bike for a long day, taking your time with the climbs (they’re untimed), and then shredding the timed descents as hard as you can.”
If you’re thinking this sounds like a normal day in the saddle for you, or something you’d enjoy, you’re probably right. From pros to average joes, Saturday’s race will be enjoyed by riders of all ability levels.
“The whole event is meant to be fun,” says race organizer Ali Goulet. “While the formatting is friendly enough for those just getting into the sport, it has all of the qualities to make it a super demanding event for the elite athlete.”
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the beauty of the Enduro format.
“The best thing about this format is it’s just like going out on a big ride with your buddies, and then, oh by the way, let’s rally this downhill section and time it!” says Rhea. “There isn’t the same pressure as in other racing formats; it’s just a fun, social atmosphere.”
It goes without saying that this weekend’s race is going to be fun. But with $12,000 worth of cash and prizes on the line, and a solid group of pro riders including Keegan Swenson, Mary Moncorge, and Aaron Bradford vying for the title, you can bet it’ll be competitive as well.
With a better understanding of Enduro in your back pocket, the next logical step is to come out and watch this weekend . . . or register to ride. Either way, we’ll see you Saturday.
Find out all you need to know right here – Bell Wasatch Enduro
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Note: Spectators can view from the village and walk up near, but not on, the trail. The more ambitious spectators can bike up the open trails, but will have to hike into the closed sections of Holly’s and Insurgent for race viewing.