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  1. #1
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    Flagstaff Enduro question

    Can someone list the trails from last yearís race? This yearís route will be posted 10 days before the race but I might not be able to pre ride the everything the weekend prior. Iíd like to spread it out over a few trips. Iím coming up from Phoenix.

    This is my first race ever even though Iíve been riding for 25 years. Any tips for a newbie would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Last year's stages:
    Day 1.
    Snowbowl/Aspen trail >AZ trail to Snowbowl Rd.
    Upper Moto to Pipeline
    Lower Moto from Pipeline to FV TH

    Day 2.
    Sunset from top to L. Bear
    Little Bear
    Schultz Creek

    Two more stages this year for a total of 8. It was a lot of fun last year. Tips from an old has-been like me would be pedal your guts out and don't crash.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Last year's stages:
    Day 1.
    Snowbowl/Aspen trail >AZ trail to Snowbowl Rd.
    Upper Moto to Pipeline
    Lower Moto from Pipeline to FV TH

    Day 2.
    Sunset from top to L. Bear
    Little Bear
    Schultz Creek

    Two more stages this year for a total of 8. It was a lot of fun last year. Tips from an old has-been like me would be pedal your guts out and don't crash.
    Thanks for the list Rockman. One more question. How much water do I carry? Enough for the whole day or can I fill up between stages?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiO2 View Post
    Thanks for the list Rockman. One more question. How much water do I carry? Enough for the whole day or can I fill up between stages?
    Good question. Last year I think there was water at the bottom of snowbowl rd and maybe at the top of Elden. I just ran my pack with 2L. I like having it on my back for spine protection. Not sure if there will be aid stations this year or not.

  5. #5
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    The race is closer to an XC stage race if you ask me, with a stage or 2 that favors riders with DH skills. I come from a DH background and had fun. Def plan on racing again. For what its worth, the second place overall was on a Hard tail.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Good question. Last year I think there was water at the bottom of snowbowl rd and maybe at the top of Elden. I just ran my pack with 2L. I like having it on my back for spine protection. Not sure if there will be aid stations this year or not.
    Thanks rockman. I was invited to ride the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon event in 2014. I brought 3 liters of water and a bottle only to discover that they had sag stations set up every few miles with water, food, tools, tubes, etc. I also learned that a 160mm all mountain bike is not the best option for a 70 mile gravel grinder. It was the only bike I owned.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    The race is closer to an XC stage race if you ask me, with a stage or 2 that favors riders with DH skills. I come from a DH background and had fun. Def plan on racing again. For what its worth, the second place overall was on a Hard tail.
    It's not surprising a hard tail did so well after looking at the rockman's list of trails from last year's route. Lower Moto would definitely favor a XC bike.

  8. #8
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    It was my first race and I was surprised how pedally it was. XC riders would do well.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  9. #9
    The .05 percent
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    I went up day before, stashed water and supplies in a few strategic areas. Doesn't hurt that I live across the street. Am still trying to decide which bike to ride, prob will do some time comparisons. If you ask me the thing is won or lost on the little bear and lower moto stages.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  10. #10
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    Having grown up racing motocross and being a need for speed type of guy, XC racing has never appealed to me. I've kind of been waiting for enduro racing for 25 years. I won't complain if there are pedally sections. I always have fun riding Flagstaff. Snowbowl to AZT is the best shred I've found in Arizona.

    Maybe I'll spend the next few weeks doing a lot of out of the saddle sprint training based on sinatorj and Blatant's descriptions.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    I went up day before, stashed water and supplies in a few strategic areas. Doesn't hurt that I live across the street. Am still trying to decide which bike to ride, prob will do some time comparisons. If you ask me the thing is won or lost on the little bear and lower moto stages.
    Upper Moto is where I made up the most time. I'll take chunk over 30mph on the Catwalk. And that short climb on L. Bear is a soul crusher. As for me I'll still ride my 7" travel bike over my short travel 29r. More margin for error and really even on Schultz or L. Moto it's not sacrificing much.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Upper Moto is where I made up the most time. I'll take chunk over 30mph on the Catwalk. And that short climb on L. Bear is a soul crusher. As for me I'll still ride my 7" travel bike over my short travel 29r. More margin for error and really even on Schultz or L. Moto it's not sacrificing much.
    just gota beat that Hoser from Sedona
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  13. #13
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    Yep, Upper Moto and Sunset are the only stages I was competitive on, as theyíre in my wheelhouse.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  14. #14
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    Is climbing Elden lookout road the best way to get to the top of sunset? Or is there a funner route to climb?

  15. #15
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    Itís the most direct way. I wouldnít call it fun.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Itís the most direct way. I wouldnít call it fun.
    Agreed. We need a good trail for climbing over there. That's the plan for Upper Old Ham but that one might take a few more years.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Itís the most direct way. I wouldnít call it fun.
    Best quote of the week goes here....




  18. #18
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    I found the Enduro fun and a good challenge. I would not consider a HT for this event. Maybe you could, but it will be a suffer fest unless you have some crazy skills. While lower Moto is also used for XC racing the course is rough and requires skills. Yes some pedaling too as it not a Downhill race. That said I don't know what the plans are for 2018. I am not doing it again due to a schedule conflict, but still recommend it.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  19. #19
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    The dude that ran the HT is a top tier Pro and doing well on the EWS and BME circuits. He could show up on a huffy and podium. He also admitted that the HT was limiting on a couple of the stages. My guess is, if he races this year, that he won't do it again.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiO2 View Post
    Having grown up racing motocross and being a need for speed type of guy, XC racing has never appealed to me. I've kind of been waiting for enduro racing for 25 years. I won't complain if there are pedally sections. I always have fun riding Flagstaff. Snowbowl to AZT is the best shred I've found in Arizona.

    Maybe I'll spend the next few weeks doing a lot of out of the saddle sprint training based on sinatorj and Blatant's descriptions.
    If you want a more DH focused enduro, consider the MBAA Sunrise Enduro on Septmeber 16th. It is mostly lift service, very steep and technical. I loved it and will be going back. I want to try to do the Flagstaff Enduro this year too.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeParadise View Post
    Sounds like this will be your kind of racing. I raced the entire 2012 and 2013 BME seasons and really enjoyed it. I tired of XC racing, especially sharing the course with all the other riders and getting hung up on descents (and I was probably clogging the climbs).

    DH racing is fun too, but it's a whole lot of prep and work to have one race go down the tubes with a single mechanical or crash. Having multiple enduro stages helps even out the field, and gives you a mulligan if you have a bad stage. Maybe you won't podium because of it, but at least you won't feel like the whole event was a total bust.

    That being said, if you are competitive (i.e. not just showing up for the fun of it), you'll find enduro racing is extremely challenging. I remember Aaron Gwin commenting on how much respect he has for the EWS racers.

    Consider the following:
    • Unless the stages are exceptionally long (say, 15 min+? Just my own gauge), you'll be pinning it at full tilt with no real pacing strategy. Enduro racers are some of the fittest athletes out there.

    • The above mentioned "pinning it" while also executing superb bike handling skills is challenging. Being at a max heart rate while also cornering, jumping, navigating rock gardens, etc is something that most riders don't practice (they're usually recovering and coasting down descents)

    • Managing logistics and timing. You just turned yourself inside out on stage one. Is your bike okay? Do you need to fix anything? What should you eat before the next stage? How much time do you have to get to the start of the next stage? What do you need to carry with you from stage to stage; what can you grab at the bottom between stages?

    • Energy management. How hard do you ride during the pre-ride? Did you blow yourself up trying to ride everything before the race? Did you sleep well/eat well/not drink the night before the race? Maybe you don't pace yourself during a given stage, but maybe you can pace yourself stage to stage, based on your individual strengths. Take it easy on the pedally stage so you can crush it on the gnarly technical descent stage, etc. If there's a punchy climb in the middle of descent, that will usually crush most riders. Do the opposite of what the other riders will do - save some gas for that one climb, maybe you'll catch somebody!

      When I was racing BME, we didn't have individual set start times (just class times), so I would crawl up the transfer sections, conserving as much energy as I could, but would start the stage while still warmed up from the transfer (i.e. I wouldn't take a 30 min rest). If there was a long line, then I would keep warmed up by doing slow little hill repeats, then jump in line at the last minute. No worse feeling than hitting a stage cold.


    I'm not trying to scare you, just giving you things to think about. Just remember the first and second rule of MTBing - have fun!
    (if I think of anything else, I'll update my post)
    Thanks for the feedback. My goal is to finish all the stages and have fun figuring out how the whole things works. I think I'll stock my pack with enough food an water for a normal 4 hour ride in Flagstaff.

    25 years of riding and being my own mechanic leaves me confident I'll be prepared for any mechanical issues. My only concern is I've recently started using a CushCore in the rear (no pinch flats for six months. Awesome!). But there is no way I can pull the CushCore out and tube it trail side if I get a flat I can't plug.

    Thanks for the tip on timing the climbs so I arrive with early enough to recover but not cool off. I've always wondered how downhillers can pin it without a warm up climb.

    I've read it's a good idea to wear a watch and not rely on a phone for keeping time. Do you agree?

    I also saw a picture from an EWS bike with start times for each stage written on the top tube. Will each rider be assigned an individual start time for a stage or do you just line up in any order?

  22. #22
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    All races are different. In last yearís Flag race, there was a chip in your number plate that timed you at the stop/start gates.

    They had a start order on the first stage (pros and fastest classes first), but it became more of a start whenever you like as the weekend went on.

    I wouldnít worry too much about timing climbs. The real trick is to be able to pedal fully pinned down the timed stages.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  23. #23
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    2nd day had a start order based on the times the previous day. At least for Sunset and L. Bear.

    A couple of the stages are long. AZ trail was 20+ min. L. Bear 18 min. I didn't think I could maintain a 150-160HR for that long anymore. Certainly a higher HR than I achieve while climbing these days. My biggest fear is clipping a pedal while gassed. Ride smooth and pedal when you can. If you stand to sprint be very focused. Lots of pedal catchers on Flag trails.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    2nd day had a start order based on the times the previous day. At least for Sunset and L. Bear.

    A couple of the stages are long. AZ trail was 20+ min. L. Bear 18 min. I didn't think I could maintain a 150-160HR for that long anymore. Certainly a higher HR than I achieve while climbing these days. My biggest fear is clipping a pedal while gassed. Ride smooth and pedal when you can. If you stand to sprint be very focused. Lots of pedal catchers on Flag trails.
    Yeah, pedal strikes when tired. Its' been the hardest thing to adapt to with these low bottom bracket bikes. I've had three good crashes over the last couple years including a concussion and broken cheek bone. I knocked myself all the way back to the late 90s. My wife asked who was the president and I said Bill Clinton.

  25. #25
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    You werenít concussed. You were just fondly remembering a better America of old. But I digress ...
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

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