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  1. #1
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    I would love to race an enduro format with timed climbing stages

    The primary reason I dislike many XC races is not that there is too much climbing, but that the courses are not very technical. Say what you will about the lack of technical downhills in XC racing, but technical uphills are even more rare. Steep, ledgy climbs cause too much back-up to be put into mass start races. I would love to see a staged enduro format type race that also includes technical climbing stages alongside descending stages to truly test the all around ability of technical trail riders.

    thoughts?

  2. #2
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    That's not Enduro.

    Enduro tests guys that have trained specifically for Enduro.

    You want to test all around then make a multi stage race that has lots of different stuff in it, but it's not Enduro.

  3. #3
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    I wouldn't call it enduro either, I am just comparing it to enduro. It would be the same 10-45 minute multi stage with untimed transition format as enduro, with the addition of 1 or more technical climbing stages that must be completed on the same bike.

  4. #4
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    They have those races. Called XC racing.

    Seriously though, all of the wins would go to the climbers unless you put a 10x multiplier on the time gaps for descents. A lot more time to be made up on the climbs.

  5. #5
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    i have raced a lot of xc races. The closest i've seen to a technical climb(besides very short sections) is the Whiskey Offroad, which is intermediate level at best. Using points instead of cumulative time negates time differences between stages.

  6. #6
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    I wish U.S. Enduros more closely resembled European Enduros. That means more/longer stages and a time limit on the uphills.

    Pro riders walking their bikes uphill? Shameful. I raced one Enduro where there were three stages and the combined winning time was less than 10 minutes. Kind of a bummer when I spent $60 on the entry fee, $100 in gas and 8 hours in a car.

  7. #7
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    I would love to race an enduro format with timed climbing stages

    dthomp325, I see what you're saying. Around my area we don't have a much elevation change at all, just lots of shorter/steep ups and downs, so have to make the most of it. But we do have a lot of embedded rocks/outcroppings w/ roots that make for very technical riding, especially some of the climbs. I began dabbling in racing last season with two XC races and a few this season so far. I've had some fun and surprised myself (and others) by taking a different approach to riding compared to the typical racer types. Have had a lot of fun and met some really cool people but I still just feel the itch for something different.
    Been thinking along the lines of your original topic and the "problem" with these XC races isn't the lack of technical terrain and climbs, but rather how the course is routed and optional Sally lines. I ride with a few guys who design some of the race courses and have learned that sometimes it's better to avoid some of the tough tech climbs that might cause a bottleneck. And other times (not sure why) they route the course so that you are climbing up what you'd normally consider a "downhill" section, which sucks as this is where you can actually find some flow and carry speed. And I guess the biggest punch in the gut (for those who favor technical descents and punchy climbs) is that the race is pretty much won or lost on the gravel/grass/road sections that are used for passing and connecting different parts of singletrack. But hey, that's called XC racing and it is an established genre already. No reason we couldn't do multiple timed sections on the parts and call it something else though (of course not enduro).


    Anyway, I'm getting excited for the Big Mountain Enduro #5, it will be my first event outside of local XC races. Big change for sure!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkley View Post
    I wish U.S. Enduros more closely resembled European Enduros. That means more/longer stages and a time limit on the uphills.

    Pro riders walking their bikes uphill? Shameful. I raced one Enduro where there were three stages and the combined winning time was less than 10 minutes. Kind of a bummer when I spent $60 on the entry fee, $100 in gas and 8 hours in a car.
    Wow horrible value to money in that $60 race with sub 10 minute total race time.

    We finished up our local 6 race series last night. Three stages, the winning time was 15:31, the average time over 97 riders was 21:41. This is a Thursday night after work series, average time to complete the whole course is 2hrs. It's a long gravel road climb up to the main stage then some smaller climbing in the transitions to get the two smaller stages in.

    To race you need to be a member of our trail organization, cost is $40/per to be a member then the races are $2. $52 gets you 6 races over 6 weeks and over 2 hours of timed racing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by conekilr View Post
    But hey, that's called XC racing and it is an established genre already.
    Enduro is an established genre already, too.

    How about "Reverse Enduro"?

    Or Orudne?

    The idea of timed climbing sections... they did this in the late 80's/early 90's, I remember watching it (painfully) on ESPN - they just called it "uphill" I think. Making the courses technical might make it more interesting, but seems like it would feel more like a trials event. And I don't mean to disparage climbing - its as much a part of riding as anything else. But it does not seem to have the appeal or bling factor that riding at speed or going downhill does... not saying its right or wrong. Or, maybe I'm missing something.

    Not sure I'd do a climbing enduro... Honestly, I doubt I could hang. Hoping I can make BME #4 though.
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  10. #10
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    Re: I would love to race an enduro format with timed climbing stages

    Quote Originally Posted by dthomp325 View Post
    i have raced a lot of xc races. The closest i've seen to a technical climb(besides very short sections) is the Whiskey Offroad, which is intermediate level at best. Using points instead of cumulative time negates time differences between stages.
    Go to Arkansas. Plenty of technical climbing. Syllamos Revenge, etc. Btepic in Missouri. Bone bender race in Kansas.

    I've raced many places in Colorado: firecracker 50, steamboat, pueblo reservoir, Breck 100, Gunnison Growler, rabbit valley rally (discontinued msc race)...

    I'd contend that racing in the ozarks is more relentlessly technically demanding than any race I've seen in Colorado.

    Never done whiskey off road, but I've heard it's not technical at all. And I believe it when I see the finish times.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

  11. #11
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    I don't particularly care if there are uphill timed stages, although I wouldn't mind. But there should be way tighter transfer time allowances than this casual cruise speed. This is how moto enduros are. You have a speed average you have to meet and need to be at the next check in by your minute or you get a one minute penalty for every minute you are over. I did the Angel Fire BME and had a blast, but other than stage one it seemed nothing more than a mini DH race. And getting rid of the super short climb on stage 5 was ridiculous...

    What's funny is how clueless mountain bikers seem to be as to what enduro is but it's been going on for decades in various formats (timekeeper, restart, qualifier, etc) in the moto world.

  12. #12
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    The races you mentioned are pretty non-technical, with the exception of the Growler. Overall the Growler is not very technical either, but there are at least several tech sections. This year there was a great tech climb over Ridgeline at the end of the lap. The Growler course would be a perfect place for an XC enduro type event, as there are several fun sections (Rattlesnake, Top of the World, Ridgeline, Josho's, Skull Pass, EnchantedForest, various other trails in the 'rocks' area) that would be great timed stages separated by neutral transfers on all the really boring connector miles.

    The Whiskey Offroad is somewhat similar. The singletrack sections are fun, but there is a bunch of boring road connector. That race could be turned into an 'xc enduro' with a singletrack climb stage and 2 descent stages with neutralized transfer stages on the road connectors. It would end up being a much better race because I could go all out on the fun stuff instead of having to save my energy for the road, which is inevitably where you really make your time.

  13. #13
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    I know nothing about moto. I am guessing that the 'average speed' requirements are designed to keep riders separated by a even amount of time when the timed stages start?

    Some mtb enduros have mass starts with people starting each stage as ready, others have 30 sec or 1 minute intervals between riders starts. Having to maintain an average speed would certainly help keep riders apart, but I don't know how useful it would be with races like BME, where many of the transfer stages are lifts.

  14. #14
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    Here in CO the enduro stages tend to have 2000+ ft of descending, so it would be hard to have the same format somewhere with less elevation, but I think the same multiple 5-45min timed stage format could be used for other terrain. From what I know about moto enduros, the timed stages are on diverse terrain, so I don't see why mtb enduros have to be constrained to DH only.

  15. #15
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    Moto schmoto. While the idea of timed stages and untimed liason stages is borrowed from moto enduro - mountain bike enduro has been happening for nearly a decade already in Europe. There's a nice pinkbike article that discusses how it came about:

    ", when we bought our first bike, didn't think to do races or know much about international-level mountain biking. The first thing we did with our mountain bikes was climb up hills so we could have fun going down them. That is the philosophy of enduro." - Franco Monchiero

    "For me, enduro is a recognition that you might as well formalise the race that you would do anyway with your mates – so you have a time and can see who did actually win.” What that works out to is a format where you race over a series of timed special stages that are mostly downhill. Those stages will be less full-on than downhill racing and could well involve some going uphill. Depending on where you are in the world, getting to the top can mean pedalling, a chairlift or a combination of both. Whoever has the fastest combined time over the special stages wins. Races tend to be fairly relaxed outside the top ten, with the focus on getting quality time out on your bike with your friends." - Ash Smith, the man behind the Trans-Provence


    "... As Fred explains, “in the Alps it would be too much to pedal up the hills – it wouldn’t be fun, so we used the lifts to go up. There were ten timed stages per weekend, on Sunday it was usually more all-mountain, on Saturday more enduro-DH. The goal was always to have about 90% down and 10% up."
    - Fred Glo

    And of course, it's still evolving...

    "...Because there were no lifts or high mountains, there was adaptation to the territories. At the beginning when everyone took the name of enduro and put the name on this other format I believed in two formats: enduro with ski lifts and rallye enduro for everywhere else. But in the end it’s normal, everything was not under my control. Everyone put the name enduro on their local race and now things are very different and we have to consider what enduro is ten years later. When the federation asks ‘what is enduro racing today?’ you have to consider all the aspects of enduro. For this year in our four race weekends we have the classic format, with no pedalling, one where we mix pedalling and lifts and one round with no lift" - Fred Glo

    A Small History of Enduro - Pinkbike

    Reflexively, I was opposed to the idea of a "climbing" stage... but the inclusion of a tricky/techy upwards stage might be interesting. When I'm out with the group, we usually seek out and ride the tech stuff, most of the time its level or downhill orientated, but there are a few techy climbs/lines that we'll stop and session over and over. IMO, the tech/skills part is important... not interested in an hour long lung buster steep trail or 14 mile timed fire road climb for the sake of inlcuding an endurance component...
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  16. #16
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    My thought would be if I'm racing Enduro, I don't want some dudes on carbon fiber hard tails to take the podium.

    If they are, the organizers need to reevaluate how they market that race.

    I think many organizers, especially in regions with smaller mountains, need to get better at describing the race style and format.

    I just raced a 20 mile "XC" race that certainly favored full suspension, tubeless, and higher pressures, and many folks on hard tails were complaining about being beat up. I wish the organizers would have said "all these trails are rocky, bring extra tubes."

    Similar descriptions could be made for "All-Mountain Races", where the organizers simply say "these trails will include some drops under 3' in height, some jumps, and some rocky sections that may require full suspension."
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  17. #17
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    I'd like to see some more techy chunk in general in both XC and enduro races. I raced the CB BME #2 and there wasn't one section in the whole 6 stages that made me question riding the line, I'm not an awesome rider either. It was mostly berms and rollers, which was a blast just not what I was training for. I thought it was going to be tech central since that was what I thought enduro was. This is just an experience from one race though, and I heard the Keystone BME #3 was major chunky.

    As far as uphill tech climbing, I would like to see that as well in both XC and enduro. For the enduro race it could just be a 20'-50' climb on some chunk, or time the transitions and have cut off times and those cut off times should make you hurt too.

    Just looking for a race that encompasses what me and my group rides, steep and chuncky, up and down.
    I'm bored and at work or else I would be riding

  18. #18
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    Enduro racing has the potential to truly capture the spirit of the sport. Like the post above alluded to, it takes how most technically advanced riders ride in group compete for fun and make it a real event.

    XC racing which has been dominated by the lightest rider, on the lightest bike, who put in the most road miles training to be the first up the 3 mile access gravel road climb - this hardly captures the spirt of true mountian biking.

    Tech climbing... Would be nice if there was a stage dedicated to tech climbing where you'd have a specified time to finish a no-dab climb. If you make it you get points or a deduction of time off your other stages.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Enduro racing has the potential to truly capture the spirit of the sport. Like the post above alluded to, it takes how most technically advanced riders ride in group compete for fun and make it a real event.

    XC racing which has been dominated by the lightest rider, on the lightest bike, who put in the most road miles training to be the first up the 3 mile access gravel road climb - this hardly captures the spirt of true mountian biking.

    Tech climbing... Would be nice if there was a stage dedicated to tech climbing where you'd have a specified time to finish a no-dab climb. If you make it you get points or a deduction of time off your other stages.
    XC racing on the world cup level has become progressively more technical, to the point where XC racers are winning or making podiums at Enduro races.

    The days of 3hr WC races on fire road climbs and butter smooth descents are over. Aside from the start/finish area, most WC races are 1:30-1:45 in length, 6-7 laps of a course that, excluding the Start/Finish area, is very technically demanding. Guys like Nino Schurter can take 3-4' drops on a 650b 100mm hardtail like most people dropping off a curb.

  20. #20
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    And thats where organizers and amatuer racers alike could improve. As an amatuer racer I've got to realize that 95% of my fellow racers are better than me in some aspect.

    As an organizer I've got have classes that attract riders. Sure it sucks having 5 people in a class, but if everyone in that class feels they've been equally matched, they are more likely to stay racing. Unlike a class of 40 people with 5 pros, 5 semi-pro, 10 racers on teams and another 20 of guys who ride twice a week.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    XC racing on the world cup level has become progressively more technical, to the point where XC racers are winning or making podiums at Enduro races.

    The days of 3hr WC races on fire road climbs and butter smooth descents are over. Aside from the start/finish area, most WC races are 1:30-1:45 in length, 6-7 laps of a course that, excluding the Start/Finish area, is very technically demanding. Guys like Nino Schurter can take 3-4' drops on a 650b 100mm hardtail like most people dropping off a curb.
    4 whole feet?

    Yeah, that 2012 Olympic course was nuts:



    or the British National Champs:



    or the UCI Mt St Anne course:



    And "wold cup level racing" applies to about... nobody here at least. Courses may be "technically demanding" but those are World Cup courses. Nobody is racing those... except World Cup level athletes - which I bet there are a total of about zero participating in this particular thread.

    I'll admit, I'm being a little combative/jaded (no coffee yet!) - and concede that they're not all long distance flat-fests (Mt St Anne looked sort of fun actually)... But XC is still, by definition - a test of endurance above all else. The fact than XC racers place well in Enduros should not be surprising - they are fit, well rounded riders.

    But as Miker J said, it (XC) hardly captures the spirit of true mountain biking. Enduro, as it stands - may not capture it either, but I would bet it's closer to the "truth".
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  22. #22
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    Why? Is the spirit of "true mountain biking" about getting a chairlift to the top of a mountain, wearing flat billed baseball hats and baggies?

    Or is there something wrong with being brutally fit and having skills on the bike too?

  23. #23
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    Personally, real mountain biking is something I do without a clock, without a podium, and without paying a registration fee.

    Everything else is racing.

    That doesn't mean we can't make racing more fun, and I think there are numerous ways that XC racing, Enduro racing, and DH can all be made more fun. Much of that has to do with how classes are set up, rules and regulations, and course design.
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  24. #24
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    I dunno, is it? Or is it about wearing grape smugglers and sending very technically demanding 3 foot drops on a hard tail? Guess it depends on the circles you travel in...

    Nothing wrong with being brutally fit, and having skills. Coincidentally, these are qualities that winners of Enduro races usually possess.
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  25. #25
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    In regards to some of the points above....

    I'm not a fan a lift assisted race events. I am a fan of a format that most closely resembles the usual, everyday day ride that fit, technically capable riders ride....

    That is, pedaling a trail bike to the top of a hill within a reasonable time frame. The bike would be light enough to not completely drain the rider, yet be substantial enough to allow them to totally enjoy the ride back down at race pace. Bombing down technical trails, at race pace, on a 23 pound xc race is not that fun, been there, done it, many times. Most core riders these days don't even own that type of bike.

    Excellent point by the above poster who sees we are not talking about pro level xc riders. Rather, we are talking about events that will allow the semi-fit masses of riders with more skills than lungs to enjoy, compete, and move the sport of mountain biking forward.

    You see, guys with full time jobs, kids, mortgages, marriages, etc... might not have the time to train 20 hours a week to get the lungs to do well in traditional xc events that favor lungs over skill. However, they might have 20 years of experience on a mountain bike and have developed good skills on a bike. Why not help the sport out and create an event that caters to this? The only thing it may harm is the already dying, traditional xc format.

    Admit it, for the average riders who are racing non-pro xc, you don't have to be all that skilled to win. Course and format design has traditionally rewarded lungs more than bike handling skill. Enduro/Freeride type racing that I've done has been every bit as physically demanding as any of the xc events I've done. However, trail design and race format simply generated a situation where skills put you up front faster than lungs.

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