Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I have seen the future...

...and it is Enduro!  If you ride a mountain bike and don't know yet what Enduro is, you soon will.  In the States we have Super D, which, in reality, is nothing even close to what true Enduro racing is.  For lack of better definition, Super D can be generally defined as a long downhill race, generally less technical than that of a straight up Downhill race, with a hell of a lot more pedaling envolved.  Enduro, on the other hand, is a long ride, "interrupted" by timed, technical downhill sections.

For most of us, Enduro is what we do on a regular basis with friends.  Chill out, talk, laugh, talk shit, and race to the bottom.  To me, it takes the best part of being on a mountain bike, rolls it into one day, and adds some good natured competition to the fold.  It only takes a trail bike (somewhere in the 5-6 inch travel range-conincidentally the most popular selling category of mountain bike), some desire, and a smile.  Contrary to most cycling-oriented sports (i.e. road racing, triathlon, xc mountain biking, etc.) you can have a "regular" life and still be competitive.  Sure hours of training will make you better, but in the end, a lot more of your result comes from your skills rather than fitness alone.  Though fitness is a big part of Enduro, a better skilled rider will have an advantage over one with great fitness and lesser skills.

Fortunately, Enduro is getting some attention in the U.S., though we are a bit late to the party.  Europe has been running these events for some time (see: Megavalanche), and have a leg up on us in terms of terrain and participation.  I believe, though, that once people get a taste of the excitement and fun that can come out of these events, things are really going to take off.

As I've stated many times before, I've been competing in one sport or another for the great majority of my life.  It's not that I'm washed up, but rather a bit burned out.  At this stage in my life, and racing career, Enduro seems like the perfect fit: competition with the focus on fun and enjoyment.  Just about the place I want to be at in my life.  I've got a good feeling that much of this summer will be spent pursuing the fun aspect, and ripping up some Enduro courses.

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