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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on a rally type event? Like motorcycle enduro format.

    A lot of guys that ride mountainbikes came from an off-road motorcyle culture, like myself. How many are familiar with how a motorcycle enduro works? I always thought it would be a great format to apply to XC MTB. Has it been done, and I'm just in the dark?

    For those not familiar, in a nutshell:
    It resembles the current Ultra races that have become popular.
    Intersections, road crossings, and turns are numbered to keep all on course, but the entire course has a defined speed average a rider is judged by.
    Secret checkpoints are scattered throughout, and a rider is penalized if he is slower, or faster, than his scheduled time of arrival at any given point.

    Basically, it makes you think about what you're doing, rather than just put your head down and hammer. True, the fast guys will do best most of the time, but...if they have a brain fart, and arrive too soon to a check, they get penalized for it. It levels the playing field a bit.

    The penalties are minutes lost, and the winner is the finisher with the fewest minutes lost.

    Motorcyclists have been doing enduros for years, and there is more to it than what I described, but it can be simplified for MTBers. Required equipment would be a cheap digital watch on the handlebars, and a route sheet taped to the bars.

    Great way to combine off-road sections, with road routes, to connect them.

    Thinking of maybe trying something on a friendly level, to see if it's doable?

    Thoughts????? Be nice.

  2. #2
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    So you're judged by a pre-set pace? How is it set?
    Winner isn't the fastest but the most consistent?
    Seems it wouldn't be popular with the faster tiers but more so with midpack racers?

  3. #3
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    The challenge is to get the lowest possible score, regardless of your skill level. Of course, the faster riders will have a lower score than the mid pack riders.
    By basing the course on a set speed average, say 10 mph for example, even the fast riders can't maintain a 10 mph average in all sections, all the time, so they drop minutes too. This means that you drop points in the slower sections, but you have to be careful not to go faster than a 10 mph average in the faster sections. Seems confusing, but it really isn't.

    Motorcycle enduros have a few designated points called resets, which gives the rider a few minutes of time to use as a rest, or to get restarted back on their assigned time. If you are running on time, it is just a chance to take a breather for a few minutes. If you are running late, all this reset time is used up by the time you get there, and you have to keep going, with no break.

    I'm sure I'm not explaining it well, especially for someone who has ridden a lot of them.

    Depending on where you live, try searching motorcycle enduros in your area.

    I've been riding them for years, and they really are fun, and they are challenging, since it makes you do some thinking while you're riding, as well as the physical aspect.

    Seems like it would work with the mtb too.

    Latest News - National Enduro Promotions Group link to the National motorcycle series.

  4. #4
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    Sounds fun....I'm pretty bummed about the new enduro format at the nationals. I was a pretty decent expert rider but I was really good at timekeeping. I knew all the tricks, so I was successful. Once they took away secret checks I was out.

    I'd love to try some true MTB enduros. You would really need to adjust the speed average though because the difference between a sport level rider and an expert is a huge gap on MTB's.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    So you're judged by a pre-set pace? How is it set?
    Winner isn't the fastest but the most consistent?
    Seems it wouldn't be popular with the faster tiers but more so with midpack racers?
    As near as I can remember from reading all the moto mags as a kid, the faster guys still one, it's more that the skillset required to win was more then just speed.

    I think it'd a fun thing to try. Seems like gps computers could really help to stay on pace, those all roll-sheet things the moto guys used are pretty archaic.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrackpursuits View Post
    By basing the course on a set speed average, say 10 mph for example, even the fast riders can't maintain a 10 mph average in all sections, all the time, so they drop minutes too. This means that you drop points in the slower sections, but you have to be careful not to go faster than a 10 mph average in the faster sections. Seems confusing, but it really isn't.
    I do this all the time... it's called "singlespeed"
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  7. #7
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    i've always thought this would be fun, especially over a long course.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  8. #8
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    sounds a little like an off-road randonneur.

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    great

    great topic

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by saint urho View Post
    sounds a little like an off-road randonneur.
    Except there are no winners on rando events, and finishers are supposed to be listed alphabetically. The low end of the window is ~9.3333 mph which includes everything
    Stops, mechanicals, etc.

    I just finished a dirt road event with 5 minutes to spare. Rain, cold, mud. Good fun. The first finishers on my route were 10 minutes ahead of me.

    For the long route, first in 9:30. Final 3 in 13:25.

    Sounds like a great format if you can come up with a scoring system. And with SPOT tracking course compliance and check ins would be easier...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmike View Post
    Sounds like a great format if you can come up with a scoring system. And with SPOT tracking course compliance and check ins would be easier...
    scoring is easy. you get a point for each minute you are late to a check, 2 points for each minute you are early to a check. rider with the lowest score wins. certain sections are timed to the second, these are the tie-breakers.

    riders carry a scorecard (taped to the fender on a dirtbike) which is marked at each check. each check has a log book as well to back up the rider's scorecard. gps and spot devices not needed.

    its really a lot of fun, there is a lot of strategy and thinking that goes into it.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  12. #12
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    Wow...looks like there might be something to this, judging by the interest? Really surprised that it hasn't been done already, considering how many throttle twisters ride mtbs too. But, then again, enduros are the minority even in the motorcycle world.

    I might put some thought into it, and see if I can lay out a course for a trial, just to satisfy my curiosity.

    Thanks for the discussion!

  13. #13
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    where are you located? i'd be interested in helping out if i can.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

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    might be a noob question, and maybe complex devices are outlawed in moto enduro....but....

    couldn't you just program any bike computer to show 'lap speed' and then if you know your distance between check points you can adjust your pace to come into each checkpoint without gaining points (at least for being too early), even secret checkpoints could be avoided by sticking as close as possible to the lap speed.....and then it just comes down to who's fastest on the uphill sections where it's hard to maintain the pre-determined speed.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomit View Post
    might be a noob question, and maybe complex devices are outlawed in moto enduro....but....

    couldn't you just program any bike computer to show 'lap speed' and then if you know your distance between check points you can adjust your pace to come into each checkpoint without gaining points (at least for being too early), even secret checkpoints could be avoided by sticking as close as possible to the lap speed.....and then it just comes down to who's fastest on the uphill sections where it's hard to maintain the pre-determined speed.
    Good question....Many types of computers are used for time keeping just the way you described. Points can be gained by being slow or by being too fast. Thats called a burn, as already mentioned.

    Even with computers you can burn a check. Some ways are...

    Mechanical failure of the comp
    Being tired and not paying attention to speed changes
    Gambling against the rules

    The last one is kinda tough to explain but...sometimes you can use the rules to gamble location of the checks.

    Read these links...

    Enduro - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Enduro Rules

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomit View Post
    .and then it just comes down to who's fastest on the uphill sections where it's hard to maintain the pre-determined speed.
    who says it has to be an uphill section where it is hard to maintain the speed? a course designer could just as easily set a special test on a DH section. The average speed does not stay constant throughout the enduro, it changes based on mileage. there are rules in the moto world governing where those speed changes can take place, but they aren't very limiting.

    a good course designer could balance it out so that the course favors a good all-rounder, or they could set it so that it favors a specific discipline. if it were me, i would set a ridiculously slow average on at least 1 uphill to catch the XC hammers off guard.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    who says it has to be an uphill section where it is hard to maintain the speed? a course designer could just as easily set a special test on a DH section. The average speed does not stay constant throughout the enduro, it changes based on mileage. there are rules in the moto world governing where those speed changes can take place, but they aren't very limiting.

    a good course designer could balance it out so that the course favors a good all-rounder, or they could set it so that it favors a specific discipline. if it were me, i would set a ridiculously slow average on at least 1 uphill to catch the XC hammers off guard.
    Or....a speed change halfway down a nice long descent.

  18. #18
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    I was thinking maybe some slight variations to what MC's do. Probably don't want all the complex enduro computers on your MTB handlebar, and was thinking of just a regular cycling computer (not mandatory) just to give you an idea of current speed. A must have item is a digital watch with minutes and seconds. The MC's enduro computers are resetable, so you can adjust your mileage throughout the event, to match up with what the course designers have setup.

    I'll bet if you just use the time variable, you can have a pretty fun format. Basically, ride from turn to turn, take a quick peek at the time, and rely on your instincts for maintaining the speed average.

    Checked into the randonneurs (I had never heard of them before), and it is similar. Enduros still have the social/touring aspect, but underneath, there is a race going on...only against the clock.

    I live in Southern Ohio, real close to Parkersburg, WV. The riding is not epic, but with all the forest service roads, it would be easy to tie together trail sections with bits of back roads.

    To avoid having speed changes during the run, I would make the speed average one that is not attainable, unless you have World Cup legs and lungs. Remember, you want everyone to drop points in some way or another. The possibility of a "zero", or arriving on time, is nice, just not at all checks.

  19. #19
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    Great topic. I've been racing motorcycle enduros for the past 3 years but only this year got to do a timekeeping event. Very cool format! If you do simple math you can have the advantage over someone who is a little faster.

    I remember getting burned on a secret test section because I got to the end of the test a little early and I tried to wait before crossing. I didn't realize that even though I wasn't across the line I was considered at the finish as soon as a put a foot down while waiting with the moto. Ha! Lesson learned.

    Now doing it as an XC event sound pretty good but difficult logistically. The Super D events are very likely going the enduro route next year with the success of the test event at Whistler Crankworx and the Winter Park Enduro that went over well. I'm excited because Super D racing really went to **** and we needed something to level the playing field a little bit and to make it worth the $$ that these promoters and USAcyling was asking for on a less than 10 minute downhill.

    BTW, I race the RMEC enduros out here. Where do you guys race?

  20. #20
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    I used to ride a lot of enduros back in my younger days. I just got back into riding a few in the last couple years.

    Southern Ohio has some pretty good events, and remind me a lot of how they used to be.

    They do a good job of explaining how it's done, on a motorcycle that is, at this link for Aces-Races in Southern Ohio: ACES ENDURO SERIES

    I'm going to see if I can drum up a handfull of interetsed parties, who are game for something new on the MTB, and see how it goes. A friendly, social event, is good enough for starters.

    Guess I better start doing a couple pre-rides, and brush up on my math skills, to determine the times and mileage. Riding the race will be easy, compared to trying to set it up.

    I already have a rough draft in my head.

  21. #21
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    i would try to hit up the local enduro sponsoring moto club for help. they might be interested in helping out as part of a goodwill towards the community kind of deal.
    something about the west coast...it makes me wanna ride

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncreative View Post
    i would try to hit up the local enduro sponsoring moto club for help. they might be interested in helping out as part of a goodwill towards the community kind of deal.
    Good idea. Once I think I have a decent plan put together, I'll try to drum up riders from the local enduro guys and the local MTBers.

    First one would be geared as a trial, and mostly social, just something new and different to do that would give us an excuse to get together and ride.

    If it materializes, I'll update the thread.

  23. #23
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    I've heard a lot of good feedback about this, so I'm going to try and actually make one of these experiments occur, in a couple weeks, October 30.

    Lake Hope State Park, near Athens and Chillicothe, Ohio, plan on a "fun run". A moto-type enduro, complete with secret checks, 15-20 miles, off-road.
    No fees, just something different and unusual. All you need is a digital watch, and your own water, food, gels, etc.

    The worst that can happen is you still get to ride your bike?

    Monsoon will cancel.

    More updates coming.

  24. #24
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    sigma sport used to make their bicycle computers (BC1200 1600, $15) with a settable trip distance, for some european bicycle touring stuff...anyway, this function is essential for enduro (resets etc), in fact i'll be using the one i have mounted on my crf450 this weekend (has survived 2 years)

    ride hot, ride possibles
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamantane View Post
    sigma sport used to make their bicycle computers (BC1200 1600, $15) with a settable trip distance, for some european bicycle touring stuff...anyway, this function is essential for enduro (resets etc), in fact i'll be using the one i have mounted on my crf450 this weekend (has survived 2 years)

    ride hot, ride possibles
    I wasn't aware of that. That would just about give you all you need, to compare to a moto enduro.

    Sounds like the local enduro organization has some interest, and is going to assit. Our season is winding down ayway, only one enduro left.

    ACES ENDURO SERIES

    They run a great summer enduro series, and are definitely the experts.

    I run a Sigma Sport now. I'll have to check the model and features, mine might be one of the reset kind you mentioned.

    Thanks for the head up!

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