Spoke Talk: What the heck is enduro? | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: What the heck is enduro?

David Scully
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Enduro is a relatively new style of mountain biking.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — You’ve seen them, those mountain bikers on big, full suspension bikes with 5-inch to 6-inch travel-forks, wide knobby tires, wearing loose shorts and knee pads. What is this type of mountain bike and rider who enjoys descending and catching air on every trail feature?

For many riders, this new trend is referred to as “enduro,” and it means something different to each individual who identifies with it. Enduro can define a type of full suspension, trail bike. Enduro can describe the style of riding that focuses descending. Or, it can indicate an attitude that is a passion for descending and the thrill associated with going fast and catching air that this rider group considers to be “fun” and is the core of their riding style. There is also a new mountain bike race discipline called enduro.

In recent years, the mountain bike industry has spent millions of dollars developing enduro bikes that incorporate advances in suspension technology to absorb bigger “hits” on trail features, like a downhill bike, and have climbing gears, like a cross-country bike. Enduro bikes have a different frame geometry that creates a stable platform for more control while descending.

The development and evolution of this bike category has also spurred the creation of enduro racing. This new race discipline offers challenges that appeal to cross-country riders with regard to endurance and fitness and downhill riders because it rewards fast descenders.

Enduro racers will spend three to five hours on their bikes navigating a set course. They pedal non-timed course sections, called transfers, that take them to the descending trail segments, identified as stages, which make up the timed portion of the race. While racers are not timed on the uphill transfers, they must have the fitness to pedal to the stage and race the descending trail segments that are timed. It’s a balance of fitness and technical bike-handling skills.

Enduro racing is very social, with groups of racers riding transfers together ,sharing stories of the last stage, chatting about other riding zones and bike-related travels and meeting new people with similar interest and bike passion. It’s a laid-back race environment that encourages camaraderie, sharing a day of mountain biking, riding to the top and then racing each other back down.

Sound fun? Are you enduro-curious?

There is a two-day enduro race in Steamboat Springs on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21. Saturday’s stages will be on the Nipple Peak Trail system in North Routt, and Sunday will be on Buffalo Pass trails, Grouse and BTR. Course maps, event schedule and online registration are available at revolutionenduro.com. Walk-up registration is from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare. 

There are a number of volunteer positions available. Contact Emily at encromer@gmail.com to sign up as a volunteer.

Happy trails!

David Scully is a Steamboat Springs retail business owner, race promoter and trail enthusiast.

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