Enduro-X series returns Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

Enduro-X series returns Saturday

— The label "one of the longest-running gravity mountain bike races in Steamboat Springs" isn't overwhelmingly meaningful. But that's what the Enduro-X series is, after debuting last year and returning this weekend to start Year 2.

A handful of races have come, both before and after work began on the downhill mountain bike park at Steamboat Ski Area, but when Enduro-X returns with races Saturday and Sunday, it immediately steps in as one of the longest tenured downhill-style events.

"The series got off to a positive start," Director David Scully said. "My goal last year was to put on a smooth event so all riders had to do was show up, point their bikes downhill, ride and have fun. We achieved that."

He's hoping to achieve that again this year, too.

The Enduro-X races aren't purely downhill, but instead time riders on certain sections of laps on the Steamboat Ski Area's downhill trails. There's some pedaling involved, but this isn't the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series and riders won't be asked to pedal anywhere steeply uphill.

"It's a hybrid between downhill and cross country," Scully said. "You see a lot of older downhill racers and the middle-aged or older cross-country riders who have a lot of skill but not the hours to train at that super high intensity level any more. It's a descending racing, but it's still super pedaly and requires a lot of fitness."

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The series is broken into four races over two weekends. The first two races are set to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's race will include three stages, one each down Rustler's Ridge, Creekside and Rawhide. Sunday's two stages will include Raw Hide and Creekside for one lap and Rustler's Ridge for the other.

This year's races are actually in line for one major change. A crew will be on hand to film the event and it's scheduled to run on TV stations across the country. Mountain Bike Mania plans to air the race on 21 stations roughly across the country but primarily in the West a week after the race. Two stations in Colorado will be involved, KRDO in Colorado Springs, which will air the race at 1 a.m., and KJCT in Grand Junction, which will show it at 5 a.m. No station in Steamboat's traditional cable package is scheduled to show the event.

Nevertheless, Scully said the TV opportunity can be a big positive.

Late registration will be available from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare's Mount Werner location.

Each day of racing will cost $75 for the pro-open division and $65 for the amateur, masters and junior groups.

Scully is expecting this year's race to be roughly on par with last year's, with 85 racers, but the potential TV exposure could help push the event toward the bigger annual event he envisions.

"It is huge, not just for the exposure for the Enduro-X, but it's great for the whole community," he said. "It will be showcasing Steamboat as a rider destination. It's good for the Bike Town USA label, good exposure for Routt County Riders and all of the trail building efforts. Obviously it's very good for the ski resort and the bike park."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9