This year is shaping up to be very busy for mountain bikers who race in Western Australia with no less than 3 separate series covering the newly emerging ‘enduro’ racing format and classic downhill racing.
To kick off the season WA Gravity Enduro (WAGE) organised a 4 stage enduro race at the Goat Farm, just half an hour’s drive away from Perth’s CBD. Being WAGE’s second event ever they did a fairly good job of organising the event with the biggest problem coming in the form of of timing system issues, meaning the first stage times were not counted towards the overall time.
Everyone has their own opinion as to how an enduro race should be run; and I think riding ‘blind’ (rider do not get a chance to practise the trails before riding) and allowing extensive practise can both work, but need to be managed to give everyone the same fighting chance at the start line. Either everyone gets a chance to know the trails (one run or ten, doesn’t matter) or no one gets to see the trails/layout.
Having raced in all 3 major disciplines now (cross country, downhill and enduro) I can definitely say enduro is the most relaxed and ‘fun’ format with riders chatting on their way up the climbs and taking it easy at the top, while it’s all business when the racing goes ahead. This combined with the fact that a small crash is not the end of your race over a 10-15 minute overall time takes some of the pressure off and puts emphasis on riding smart and fast.
Smart is not how I rode one particular section on stage 3 where you roll down two consecutive fairly steep boulders. Having rolled it easily for the first time on race morning I didn’t think much of it, but steaming into the section at race pace gave me a bit too much to deal with and not enough experience to correct; sending me flying over the bike with a semi graceful roll on the ground, picking the bike up without stopping and jumping back on, much to all the on lookers’ joy!