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Dummies guide to MTB Enduro racing

Dummies guide to MTB Enduro racing

What is MTB Enduro racing?

MTB Enduro racing is a form of downhill mountain biking that is both challenging and enjoyable. An enduro race essentially consists of timed downhill or “special” stages and untimed transfer sections which can be rode at a rider’s leisure. Although in some Enduro races there are certain time limits on the transfer sections, it is only the times during the downhill stages that are counted with the rider who completes these sections in the shortest time being the winner.

Enduro has many of the same elements as traditional downhill racing, but the descents are not usually as daunting and often there is an easier route down for inexperienced riders making it ideal for someone who is new to type of cycling. Normally the racing takes place over two days with a practice round of the course occurring on the first day which helps experienced veterans and first timers alike get used to their surroundings.

The timed stages of the race on generally take roughly between two and eight minutes to complete with the riders normally doing this part of the racing individually. However on the untimed transfer sections of the race you can take your time making it perfect to cycle with friends. An average enduro race is around 30km long and take roughly three to four hours to complete. As many enduro races (besides the major competitions) have no time limits on transfer stages a huge strain isn’t put on a beginner’s fitness with him/her able to go at their own pace.


What equipment do I need?

The best suited bike for enduro racing is would probably be one that facilitates a rider to be able to go downhill quickly whilst still being able to climb when necessary. This rules out downhill bikes which would be too heavy for the uphill sections while on the other hand light cross country bike would be good for climbs but would not be as fast for the descents. Instead it is full suspension mountain bikes that are regarded as the ideal enduro bike. Although normal mountain bikes will be fine for beginners.

In terms of other equipment, enduro riders tend to wear full face helmets which offer more protection and would be recommended for a beginner’s safety. Goggles may also be needed to protect your eyes from mud and branches. Knee pads and elbow pads can also be helpful by both breaking falls and by giving new riders more confidence when enduro racing.

How and where do I get involved?

The club locater that can be found on the Cycling Ireland website can help find the nearest club to you that does enduro racing. The Gravity Ireland Enduro Cycling Series is Ireland’s national enduro series and has events taking place all around the country with novices able to compete in a relaxed and fun environment. The courses are generally 25km with five timed downhill stages. There is also a shorter Challenger Category which is good introduction for beginners.

Ireland also hosts a round of the World Enduro Series with the Emerald Enduro taking place in Wicklow. This can be a thrilling event for spectators where they get to see the best in the world compete and can learn more about enduro racing in a jam packed weekend.

Links to some of the other enduro series in Ireland can be found at http://www.offroadcyclingireland.ie/wordpress/enduro/

(Photos and video courtesy of Emerald Enduro)
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