You've got the bike and you've always been curious when it comes to competition – now is the time to get out and try your first enduro race. If you aren't yet convinced then take a good look at the five pointers below from seasoned racer and enduro addict, Andy Nelson.
1. You get to ride and race in amazing new locations that you can't normally access
Most enduro events feature freshly cut tracks, normally inaccessible outside of the race weekend – the format gives you the chance to check out completely new, challenging tracks designed especially for the event. They might be old natural trails that have been reopened or something completely fresh – either way, they’ll be new!
2: You never know who you’ll see – and maybe beat!
One of the real beauties of enduro is that everyone races the same course – from first timers through to the top pros. This means that not only will you frequently see current and past legends out on the same tracks as you, but you might well beat them! Sounds unlikely? In enduro, you might pull the fastest time on the first few stages, but if you run out of steam or crash later in the day, it’s all for nothing! As current world champion Jared Graves says: “to finish first, first you must finish” – and by that same count, if you finish and a big shot doesn’t, you can legitimately claim that!
3: It's time on the bike, and quality time at that
Yes we all know that bike racing is expensive. But unlike XC racing where your entry might get you two or three hours on the bike tops, or DH where you might manage a whole 15 minutes, you’ll likely see more than six hours out on the trails
4: Improve your overall riding
Racing always seems to make you push that little bit harder than when just riding – and when you've got someone 20 seconds in front, and another rider 20 seconds behind as you fly down technical trails, the incentive to carry speed and clean lines you might not normally go for is there! You'll come away from an enduro race much stronger and more confident.
5: The atmosphere
It's safe to say that the atmosphere at an enduro event is pretty awesome – from spending times on transitions with new faces, to catching up at the bottom of a timed stage where everyone is buzzing, enduro has a really welcoming and fun atmosphere. No matter how seriously (or not) riders are taking things, there's always time for having fun!
The Santa Cruz ‘Ard Rock enduro combines rugged off piste riding with beautiful scenery and a festival atmosphere. Every year the BikeRadar and Mountain Biking UK team make their way up to Swaledale in North Yorkshire to tackle some of the UK’s most unique riding and racing. It’s supported by some of the mountain bike industry's leading brands, which include Sweet Protection and Mavic. Full factory support is available from SRAM, and other leading companies such as Julbo Eyewear and Transporterland.comare supporters of the event. The ‘Ard Rock is the highest participation enduro event in the world, with nearly 2000 competitors racing over the weekend. If enduro isn’t your bag then check out the ‘Ard Rock MTB Marathon, which is a 40-mile adventure ride in the same area. Visit the 'Ard Rock enduro website for more information