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  1. #1
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    Keystone Enduro - opinions?

    Ok - this could get messy.

    This was my first Enduro (and first day on a lift). It's was a bit rough - more than I expected - but I came away without a cast or an ER visit. I have no experience to base things on; however, a lot of folks there were saying this was on par with most DH courses. From what I've seen of the other US Enduros (based on images, video, and experience on some courses) some stages were more rough.

    If you actually went and did this, what did you think of it?
    Was this a bit too much gnar? Was it hard but just fine? On par with what you expected? Do you think this fits what most expected for "enduro" vague as that definition may be?
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    Had I known this was a DH Stage Race, I would've joined this. However, I was under the impression there was an uphill portion to this that was to be timed. Apparently not. Many of the DH racers were at Trestle racing for the weekend. From the people I've been talking with, they hated it (not enough uphill) or loved it (more DH).

    So, here's the philosophical question: What is an Enduro?
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  3. #3
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    My first Enduro also. I thought it was a first class A$$ kicking. More gnar than I expected but they dialed it back a bit considering what they could have included. I don't think there are any tried and true standards for Enduro's so perhaps they come in many flavors? If so, this one was Cayenne. Maybe the next one will be Safron...

    I am amazed that some - perhaps the majority - were riding as fast as they were without any significant body armor and "enduro" helmets.

    Some seriously fast dudes and dudette's this weekend. I do not count myself among them.

    Definately worth every penny.

  4. #4
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    I didn't race Keystone, but I did race the Angelfire/Taos stages - and I've ridden Keystone a few times and am familiar with the terrain the race was held on.

    My thoughts about it/them:

    While I enjoyed the courses at Angefire, I really expected MORE climbing, or SOME climbing between stages. But it was lift served all day. Personally, I LOVED it, but I'm really more a dh rider than anything... That said, each stage did have a significant amount of pedaling in it to keep it honest. The gnar factor was pretty high on about 3 out of the 5 total stages, but in hindsight I don't think it was a bad thing. A good portion of stage one was quite aerobic/pedally, and while the last 2 miles was very tricky at speed, if you went slower the trail was very manageable.

    I figure if you're not pedaling your a$$ off, you should be working HARD to negotiate the trail at hand. Its supposed to be a test of all-around bike riding, after all - something to take you out of your comfort zone a bit.

    Also, while there are individual events, the BME is a race series - so they're getting a good sample of all the terrain people ride in four corners states. If you race Durango, it will quite a different experience terrain-wise and pedaling-wise, compared to Keystone or Angelfire. Same for Moab.

    I'm guessing the race a bit gnarlier than you were comfortable with or expected?

    Congrats on making a clean race, btw!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    I'm guessing the race a bit gnarlier than you were comfortable with or expected?

    Congrats on making a clean race, btw!
    Too much gnar for comfort?
    It was more than I had done but one always has the option to slow down or even walk so it's all good. I don't let pride get in the way of my sense of safety.

    More gnar than expected?
    I really didn't know what to expect. I have no baseline so I could only go off of others ideas and opinions. Honestly I was sort of looking to see if others love the mostly DH stage race nature, or hated it or what. I realize it's a series and I will be at Durango. We work with what we got so across the entire series we have a pretty broad spectrum and good showing. Probably set the bar a bit high for my first event but I still had a good time.

    Clean?
    Ha! only after I took a shower. It's nice to know that the chin bar on my Down-o-matic works!
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    That is the best part about doing the whole series is the variation in terrain and format. I have done 3 out of the 4 races in the California Enduro series and they have all been completely different.

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    I had to sell my registration due to an injury, and I was really bummed when I saw the courses. Exactly what I was hoping for! I would expect more climbing/XC from an "Enduro" race, but the Keystone course is what I would want all of them to be.
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  8. #8
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    I thought the same for Angelfire, but the South Boundary stage had a good amount, though not much real climbing.

    There will be plenty of climbing in Durango
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdemars View Post
    Too much gnar for comfort?
    It was more than I had done but one always has the option to slow down or even walk so it's all good. I don't let pride get in the way of my sense of safety.

    More gnar than expected?
    I really didn't know what to expect. I have no baseline so I could only go off of others ideas and opinions. Honestly I was sort of looking to see if others love the mostly DH stage race nature, or hated it or what. I realize it's a series and I will be at Durango. We work with what we got so across the entire series we have a pretty broad spectrum and good showing. Probably set the bar a bit high for my first event but I still had a good time.

    Clean?
    Ha! only after I took a shower. It's nice to know that the chin bar on my Down-o-matic works!
    I enjoyed the DH-ness of the races - that's my favorite type of riding. But I didn't want to just have 4 dh races in an afternoon. I wanted to be challenged all-around. At Angelfire, they did a good job of combining the trails so riders had significant sections of pedaling, where gravity was not helping out. Riders were challenged to "keep it on" for sustained periods, and of course it was a little more DH than anything - it suited the terrain.

    I hope I can make it for Durango. Not sure there's a definition of what "Enduro" is, but the terrain/courses there seems to fit what I imagine it to be.

    What a cool series though, and a great way to sample all the unique riding around the four corners.
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    It was a full-on ass kicking and fun as hell! It was definitely a challenge to keep it all together for 6 long runs. I felt it was a great balance of testing your fitness and bike skills. Looking back on ways to improve that race, anything would be minor course tweaks. I was hoping they'd run the new Paid In Full instead of the old. Is it still not clear from runoff? I know it was closed a few weeks ago.
    Having raced both the Crested Butte and Keystone enduro, and having a DH background myself, I preferred KS, but also had a blast at CB's. I think it's good to have a mix of terrain throughout the series, I just felt the challenges that Keystone threw at the racers was more fun.

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    I really enjoyed keystone. I thought it was the best of the three so far. Pedaling all out for 1hr and the roughness of the courses def take a toll on the body. I talked to a few of the pros with Euro enduro experience and they all felt keystone was much closer to a euro enduro race. Rough, fast, tech, and quite a bit of fitness. Look at the total times for the EWS or other large enduro events and the combined times are pretty similar. The venues all offer something different and I think the overall series winners will be the best/most well-rounded riders for a given category. That's the goal of enduro right? Lets ride a bunch of different trails and conditions, have a lot of fun, and see who gets the bragging rights in the end.

  12. #12
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    I loved it. Personally, I would've been good with it just as is but with the addition of extra timed climbing (not on a road). As IE says, "what is Enduro?"

    At the end of the day, though, the courses were great, and the BME crew kicked butt. This was the terrain I was expecting but I wasn't expecting it to be as full out DH as it was. Way better than CB, IMO, too. CB was super smooth and fast with short runs. Keystone took quite a bit more overall fitness.
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  13. #13
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    It was awesome.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    I loved it. Personally, I would've been good with it just as is but with the addition of extra timed climbing (not on a road). As IE says, "what is Enduro?"
    From what I've read, Enduros generally do not included timed uphills (and seems they've been around and happening for quite some time).

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    I for one, hope it stays that way (so yeah, I suck at climbing!) I think as it stands, the format is pretty good at weeding out the best all-around rider on a given day.

    But can't argue - it was the most fun racing event I've participated in. Hope the series continue next year.
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    Not saying a strictly uphill stage, but what I'd love is a long backcountry stage with an overall large net descent with climbing in the middle. All timed. To me, that's trail riding. I talked to a few BME guys this weekend and they indicated that Durango and Moab might possibly only have 4 long stages. That should be sweet.
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  16. #16
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    I see where you're coming from. An uphill tech stage would be interesting too, not too long, but something that lets people use that skill. As it stands, most of the tech riding is gravity or speed fed.

    If they can get the permits, there's definitely trails for backcountry stages like you describe in Durango. Would be cool. Would probably be at severe altitude too! Really curious what they're doing to do for Moab.
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  17. #17
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    I've been eyeing Enduros for the better part of a decade. I love stage racing, did the G3 back in 06, which was very much like this format, but only 3 races. Super D seemed to be the answer for the all around rider, but (IMHO) failed when they raced the easiest course down the mountain. I wanted the hardest tech-gnar combined with some climbing; not biasing any one bike.
    But my search for the ultimate race hasn't surfaced yet. If we're looking for the best all around rider in a race, it would include a trials section. Any rider can walk their XC bike down a hard DH section, and a DH bike up a hill. But what if there was a trials section at the end? You dab, you get 30 seconds added to the clock. Hell, throw a set of Dirt Jumps (yea, with gaps) in there too.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    Not saying a strictly uphill stage, but what I'd love is a long backcountry stage with an overall large net descent with climbing in the middle. All timed. To me, that's trail riding. I talked to a few BME guys this weekend and they indicated that Durango and Moab might possibly only have 4 long stages. That should be sweet.
    Looking forward to these ^^^. I think in Durango on the Kennebec day we should get long segments. I'm hoping the first (5 mi) and second (11 mi) major descents are the stages.

    The series as a whole seems pretty well rounded. There's plenty of variety. We have backcountry and we have lift serviced. We have buff, chunky, loose, and jumpy. While enduro is for the most part timed descending stages with untimed transfers, there are a couple of events that are one long timed segment but still mostly descending (e.g. megavalanche). Personally I think it's the only format that seems to be missing from the BME series. Of course one could do the Whole Enchilada as one long segment... It might not be to everyone's taste but I think something like this would be a fantastic series finale.
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    Max climbing in any one stage should not go over 20% of the stage. 80/20 is kinda the limit in my opinion. Stages also shouldn't just be 100% DH.

    Enduro isn't really the format to find "the best all around", it's not a true all around riding. The climbing portions on Enduro are usually short enough that it's basically a full anaerobic sprint. If you train specifically for Enduro, you won't do as well on XC or marathon race formats.

    We had a trilogy of races in Whistler that were a better representation of all around than Enduro. Four day stage race, an XC TT, DH bike park day, super technical xc and a marathon trail race. Races were called the Four Jacks, Four Queens and Four Kings.

  20. #20
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    It was awesome, a true test of bike handling skills and fitness. I'm glad it was as hard as it was.

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    Keystone Enduro - opinions?

    Enduro is short for Enduro DH. Sounds like Keystone did it right.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    Enduro is short for Enduro DH. Sounds like Keystone did it right.
    And yet, the people who invented Enduro, most often have the riders climb out of a downtown area to the start of the first stage...

    Looking at most Euro courses, they seem to feature nearly the same amount of climbing as descending, but the climbing is at your own pace.
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    Yes...so the racing part is 90%+ DH. IE - you don't have uphill timed stages.

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    Is there a list of most euro enduro course we view somewhere?
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    I put all the US stuff I knew about on this page, but since I don't fly across the pond much I didn't bother with the Euro events.

    The best source I know for all others is here.
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    It would be cool to see short format enduro racing. IE, the race is completed in 2-4 hours. This would more closely match how most people actually ride. Not everyone has the time or inclination to train for 8 hours + of racing.

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    I get your meaning, but nobody was "racing" 8 hours. Pretty sure most stages didn't last even a half hour at the BME I raced.

    Granted, there were 6 stages total, but that's still only 3 hours total racing time. Transition time (pedaling between or to a stage) can take as long as it takes, it's not a timed "race" segment. Most people were riding the transition stages at a comfortable or "fun" pace for the South Boundary stage. Can't say for CB or KS though...
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    Can't say for CB or KS though...
    KS was 6 stages. My very slow total time was 1:25, and that is across 2 days. The fastest folks were closer to an hour. There was only one untimed uphill and it was only about 1.5 miles. Everything else was a chair lift. I'd say that's a pretty short format. If you want even shorter you could do a one day event like the Enduro X series at steamboat.
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    I mean 2-4 hours on the bike, so that would include transitions. My ideal would be a race at a ski resort where you do runs down double blacks but have to climb to everything - no lifts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    Yes...so the racing part is 90%+ DH. IE - you don't have uphill timed stages.
    It sounds like they only had one uphill transition. Everything else was shuttle or chairlift. That sounds a little different than the "pure, just riding" aspect that everyone seems so thrilled about.

    I don't know about you, but I'd be willing to bet that most people's normal rides, which is what Enduro is supposed to replicate, don't involve lifts in a gondola.
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    I'd agree in terms of the lifts. I was referring to the terrain. I want GNAR.

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    Personally, I'd rather ride some 2,000 year old beat to hell goat/sheep trail down some rock infested mountain ridgeline, that only sees humans a couple times a year, than ride a ski resort and man-made terrain all day.
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    That's fine, once again I'm referring to the level of terrain - double black diamond level terrain. It just so happens that there's a lot of that + climbable trails to access them at ski resorts. It's also much easier to get a permit for a race at a ski resort then on a goat trail in the middle of BFE. Still, put it together and I'll go race it.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Personally, I'd rather ride some 2,000 year old beat to hell goat/sheep trail down some rock infested mountain ridgeline, that only sees humans a couple times a year, than ride a ski resort and man-made terrain all day.
    Yep, me too. Climbing and all! (even though I'm not much a climbing fan). Problem is, that doesn't exist in spades here in the US. IF it does, it's probably in Wilderness, so - no bikes. But sure, like Gurp said, put it together, I'd race it too.
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    I organize a 6 race series here in North Vancouver that would fit your "short course" description.

    It's an afterwork Thursday night series. Riders sign in between 5:45pm and 6:45pm and go ride the three stage course.

    These are all on Fromme, so to get to the start of Stage 1 they need to pedal up the mountain access road. There is usually a short climb to get to Stage 2 but not nearly as long as climbing the main climb to stage 1. Stage 3 is a short section that brings them back to the start/finish zone.

    It takes anywhere from 1:15 to 2hrs for riders to complete the course. Fastest guys are doing 5 minutes stages and the slowest maybe 10 minutes. Total on the clock racing ranges from 12mins to 25mins.

    This is basically what we've been riding locally for years, just now turned into a race. No pressure climbing up at your own pace, pin it on some fun descent, a bit of mellow traversing/climbing, some more pinning, then it's time to go get a beer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shirk View Post
    I organize a 6 race series here in North Vancouver that would fit your "short course" description.

    It's an afterwork Thursday night series. Riders sign in between 5:45pm and 6:45pm and go ride the three stage course.

    These are all on Fromme, so to get to the start of Stage 1 they need to pedal up the mountain access road. There is usually a short climb to get to Stage 2 but not nearly as long as climbing the main climb to stage 1. Stage 3 is a short section that brings them back to the start/finish zone.

    It takes anywhere from 1:15 to 2hrs for riders to complete the course. Fastest guys are doing 5 minutes stages and the slowest maybe 10 minutes. Total on the clock racing ranges from 12mins to 25mins.

    This is basically what we've been riding locally for years, just now turned into a race. No pressure climbing up at your own pace, pin it on some fun descent, a bit of mellow traversing/climbing, some more pinning, then it's time to go get a beer.

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    Sounds really cool! How are you handling timing? Are you doing formal chip timing or people at stage starts and finishes?
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    Video and recap

    I thought the race was pretty awesome... and a lot more difficult than the single other day of "Enduro" racing I've done.

    Race recap:

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    The folks who put this on do a great job and its pretty well run, I'm sure its a real ***** behind the scenes to pull this off.

    However I think that having 6- 12 to 15 minute runs with trail bikes down gnarly DH courses is fun but really enduro should be raced on back country trails, not on resort courses with tons of berms and other man made features. Those courses were made for downhill bikes to begin with. This makes it basically 90% a downhill multi stage race. Again this is fun but I know what I imagined was timed backcountry stages that replicate the riding that all of us do for most of our rides. Keystone was a test of downhill skills rather than a All Mtn style riding skills (which is what makes enduro different from downhill). Each race in the series is different and this one happens to be a downhill oriented race. Also the sport is young and the organizers have to work with what they've got, and they did a great job with what they have.

    I raced angelfire and the first stage was the only backcountry stage in the series so far and I think popular opinion among racers is that it was the best stage of the series so far.

    Overall its great to see so many people at these races and the participation helps it evolve into what it can be.

    Also have to say I am totally blown away by the skill of the pros. Its damn impressive to see how fast some people completed the stages. There is definitely no shortage of talented riders at BME races.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdemars View Post
    Sounds really cool! How are you handling timing? Are you doing formal chip timing or people at stage starts and finishes?
    We invested in a SportIdent timing system. Between the week night events and a larger more expensive weekend event we'll cover our costs next year. The timing system takes a lot of stress out of the event, it's easy for volunteers to do the stage start and ends.

    See the thread about timing systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markmyers View Post
    The folks who put this on do a great job and its pretty well run, I'm sure its a real ***** behind the scenes to pull this off.

    However I think that having 6- 12 to 15 minute runs with trail bikes down gnarly DH courses is fun but really enduro should be raced on back country trails, not on resort courses with tons of berms and other man made features. Those courses were made for downhill bikes to begin with. This makes it basically 90% a downhill multi stage race. Again this is fun but I know what I imagined was timed backcountry stages that replicate the riding that all of us do for most of our rides. Keystone was a test of downhill skills rather than a All Mtn style riding skills (which is what makes enduro different from downhill). Each race in the series is different and this one happens to be a downhill oriented race. Also the sport is young and the organizers have to work with what they've got, and they did a great job with what they have.

    I raced angelfire and the first stage was the only backcountry stage in the series so far and I think popular opinion among racers is that it was the best stage of the series so far.

    Overall its great to see so many people at these races and the participation helps it evolve into what it can be.

    Also have to say I am totally blown away by the skill of the pros. Its damn impressive to see how fast some people completed the stages. There is definitely no shortage of talented riders at BME races.
    I totally agree! 16 hours of sitting around for two days for an hours worth of riding at a resort!??
    Not my idea of a "back country enduro"! Its fun but not that fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waafoo View Post
    I totally agree! 16 hours of sitting around for two days for an hours worth of riding at a resort!??
    Definitely a downside, especially with the mandatory meeting Friday night. I didn't want to camp by myself (boring), so I had 2 nights of hotel lined up. It was getting pricey.
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    You guys suck im all bummed now

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    Sounds like the problem is that nobody can agree on what Enduro is and everyone wants it to be something else. Does every race need to be the same? It's a series, not all races in the series have to be the same, sounds like that's what they are going for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jselwyn View Post
    I talked to a few of the pros with Euro enduro experience and they all felt keystone was much closer to a euro enduro race. Rough, fast, tech, and quite a bit of fitness. Look at the total times for the EWS or other large enduro events and the combined times are pretty similar.
    Agreed, definitely a little closer. The biggest difference with the enduro's I've done in Europe and the EWS so far this year is the climbing in Europe vs the lack there of in the US. Punta Ala had around 6,000' of climbing in the day (mostly all in liaison stages) with a few stages with 50 meter climbs in the day. VAL d'Allos, one stage each day had a 150M climb (and then 1,000M decent) with over 10,000M descending for the weekend! Les 2 Alpes had a stage with 100M of climbing and then still close to 1,000M descending on each stage. Point is, while CB had pedaly stages, we haven't had a climb of 10% of the dh vert on any timed stage in six days of racing, so people have been racing DH bikes on at least two of three events. IMO on a race like Keystone with 2,400' feet of vert, they could add a single 250' climb on one stage through the weekend and that would change things, especially if its early in the stage, your completely out of breath and riding though hard technical terrain.

    Durango and Moab will be much closer to EWS events IMO, and I think are where Brandon and CO are trying to go with the series (hopefully). Although the Mag 7 is a XC course, Whole Enchalada has a good mix of pedaling vs dh, so does Kenebec. If it was in France, the last stage in Moab would race down Portal trail!
    Last edited by GrooveNinja; 07-16-2013 at 02:22 PM.

  45. #45
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    That was a good analysis, I enjoy the different formats throughout a series that plays to the strengths and weaknesses of individual riders! I havent noticed many people switching bikes for different stages in the class Im racing but could see a huge advantage if they got away with it!

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    Everyone has their own personal idealized version of "Enduro", based on a years worth of media hype. While there is a general idea, Enduro seems to lack a real definition - except to those promoting it. I would hope that Brandon and Co are NOT trying to model each venue of BME after Durango & Moab. I for one don't feel that there is one type of Enduro race, but that each venue makes the best use of the terrain available. BME seems to do that pretty well, and I bet the series will become even "better" as it continues.

    And who cares what's happening in the stages that are not timed - or rather, why? If DH riders were favored by the terrain and bikes, they'd be leading the series. They are not. Maybe it's nothing to do with DH riders/riding at all... and people just want to climb their bikes

    BME does a great race. The series makes great use of terrain and locations and offers quite a variety across the series - and probably does not resemble EuroEnduro too much. Or maybe it does. They're such great events, I don't care too much how it compares to Europe. I live and ride here.
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