Although the skills side of things was clearly a main focus, the fitness was always going to play an element in the preparations; it simply couldn’t be overlooked. Enduro requires a good base or aerobic fitness as it is often referred to: being able to ride for a long time at a relatively steady pace. It’s a requirement to just get round the course. This comes through a lot of long steady miles, typically on the road, holding a fairly steady pace for a long period of time. This type of riding featured a great deal early on, with some maintenance of this base as time went by, throwing in the odd longer ride at a steady pace. The speed and power element came through a number of sessions, everything from specific interval training, enduro racing, competing in the local 10 mile TT league and some XC racing thrown in for good measure. Being able to suffer for over an hour and a half in an XC race makes riding an enduro stage flat out seem a whole lot easier and with sufficient recovery after a race brings massive gains in fitness. With so many different components of fitness and skill required for enduro it was great to really be able to mix the training up, everything was different and interesting.
Skill and fitness will get you a very long way up the results sheet as a rider in this type of event, but bike and bike setup were also been an important consideration in my preparation for the event. Turning up to an event over or under-biked can have a serious influence on your result as well as your ability to perform.
As a rider on the TORQ Performance MTB Team I am incredibly fortunate to be supported by Whyte Bikes who kit the team out with some pretty tick 29er frame sets for racing XC. When I mentioned some of events I planned to race over the summer there was talk of a new gravity enduro orientated super bike, due for launch around the time I was due to head out, so when the TNT lorry rolled up at TORQ HQ I was over the moon to take delivery of a new bike. What came out the box was Whyte’s new G150: a 150mm of travel, 650B trail bike designed with exactly these sorts of events and this style of riding in mind, every part of the bike’s spec had clearly been thought out in detail and there was very little that I needed to change in preparation. Although an aluminium frame, the total bike weight is incredibly light even for the large bike and the geometry is absolutely on the mark with a slack head angle, long top tube, short seat stays make the handing is therefore very confidence inspiring and capable. A good couple of weeks riding the Les 2 Alpes Enduro World Series and Mega Avalanche events and it was clear that the bike was clearly very capable and well specced for this sort of riding,
Frame – Whyte G150 Large 650B
Suspension – Fox Float X 150mm rear shock, Talas 150mm 34mm fork.
Wheel set – SRAM Rail 50 650B, running a set of Schwalbe Hans Dampfs, Supergravity 2.35′, set up tubeless with 25psi front and 27psi rear.
Drivetrain – SRAM XX1, 36t front chainring with top guide, Shimano XTR Trail pedals.
Cockpit – Easton Haven Carbon 35mm x 800mm bar, 50mm Stem
Seating – Stealth Reverb with Prologue saddle.
Braking – SRAM XO Trail, 180mm Rotors.
It’s always incredibly confidence inspiring to go into a race knowing that, barring a mechanical problem, the only restrictions on race result is down to ability as a rider and not down to any limitations of the bike. This is how I felt going into the Trans Savoie. I owe a Hugh thanks to Whyte and TORQ for their support and look forward to brining you my event report next week.