Enduro is the fastest and most exciting discipline of competitive mountain biking, with races popping up right around the world. Here’s a snapshot of the most popular events on the calendar from around the world, and which should go on any short list of must-ride events.
Megavalanche - 13-14 July
Strictly speaking, the Megavalanche isn’t really an enduro, it’s an endurance downhill event, but we're going to bend the rules just a little bit here, particularly because there isn't an officially defined format. It certainly appeals to the same sort of riders drawn to enduro racing. It’s a long-running event that attracts growing numbers of British riders every year, with its mountain top (3,300m) mass start madness and a 30km course that takes in everything from rock strewn paths to loamy singletrack and root gardens that will annihilate your arms while testing your fitness and stamina, it’s one of the most fun and rewarding mountain bike events in the world. Qualifying for this event on a shorter course determines which of the many groups, that divide up the couple of thousand entrants, you’ll start in.
More information about the Megavalanche available on the Avalanche Cup website here.
Super Enduro/Enduro World Series, Finale Ligure - 19-20 October
The Super Enduro series is partly responsible for bringing the enduro format to the wider consciousness with the very high level of organisation and racing, the Italian series is a hotly contested one. The Finale Ligure (Italy) is the final round and is also on the new World Series calendar. The format is simply, multiple timed stages and linking transfer stages, fastest time wins. However the format is designed to be accessible to all levels or mountain bikers. This race starts and finishes in town, adding to the great atmosphere, and there are no uplifts so it’s a good test of your fitness, planning and bike.This is the enduro series that all others measure themselves by.
Get yourself signed up for the biggest Super Enduro race of the year here.
Mountain of Hell - 19-21 July
Running in similar fashion to the Mega, a mass start downhill event. Riders start on a snow covered 3,400m peak and race a 25km course with a 2,500m drop, which last year saw riders reach speeds in excess of 100kph. On the snow.
This year sees Mountain of Hell run in the weekend following the Mega so, if you’re up to the challenge, you can make a double weekend of it and race both events.
More information about the Mountain of Hell available here.
Here’s a video from last year’s event: 2012 Mountain of Hell
Mavic Trans-Provence - 28 September - 5 October
Take the enduro format and stretch it out over a week, and you arrive at the Trans-Provence. This enduro stage race has become something of a sensation, attracting the best enduro racers in the world, and with entries strictly limited to just 70, places sell out fast. This is the event all-mountain bikes were designed for. Multiple timed downhill sections every day, plus plenty of lung-busting climbing to contend with.
It may be sold out, but the TP guided trail weeks trace the same route of the race and allow you to experience the same amazing trails.
More information about the Trans Provence and guided weeks here.
Downieville Classic - 1-4 August
The US has a burgeoning enduro scene and most popular of them is the Downieville Classic, held in California. Consisting of separate cross-country and downhill races, or if you’re feeling fit the All-Mountain Class challenges you to do both the XC and DH races. On the same bike. This old school approach places a challenge on equipment and bike choices, plus fitness and handling skills. The downhill is a 27km course and drops over 1,500m, while the cross-country event is a 50km route with over 1,300m of climbing. Both courses follow the rugged, and in places very tough, terrain around an old gold-mining town.
More about the Downieville Classic here.
Got your eye on one of these events this year? Let’s hear about it in the comments box...