Wednesday, June 11

More Enduring Enduro™ Thoughts

Let's start with the positive things.

Enduro™ has some endearing qualities.  I can't deny that.  On day two, I overheard a conversation between three racers.  They were starting the day all within sixty seconds of each other.  That's pretty exciting (for them).  With around an hour or more of timed racing over two days, the gaps were tight.  There's a certain amount of excite to be had when you know each corner, tech section and straight away matters.

Camp Grier was an excellent choice for a venue.  We had it all and then some.  Hot showers, bunks, open space for tents, kitchens, quiet places (if you sought them out)... Pisgah Productions found a great spot away from it all yet close enough to drive into town for what have you.  It was a win.

photo cred: Pisgah Productions
Oskar Blues threw in for a bunch of beer.  I like beer.  Another win.

The timing system was stellar.  Two bleeps at the top of your timed run and a flying read at the bottom (followed by a redundant manual read just in case).  No more stopping and fumbling with four hands and a fatigued rider in the mix.  This is pretty important given that the top two experts were separated by four seconds, a difference that coulda went either way with a fumbled scan.

It was my idea to add the Hard Ass class, and perhaps it was a stupid idea.  The thinking was that the Fontana Dam Icycle Night Downhill Race always manages to get a decent field, so why not try it at the Enduro™?  Apparently getting five to ten idiots to pay $30 to ride downhill in the dark on some double track for two to three minutes is easier than getting those same idiots to pay $100+ to ride sixty miles over two days and race for an hour and a half (or so) on some real Pisgah gnar.  Who knew?  Will the Hard Ass class return in 2015?  Dunno.

Maybe Enduro™ just isn't being marketed properly to the rigid demographic.

Despite my riding rigid, I didn't fare too poorly overall.  As expected, I lost the most time on the roughest two runs; Rattlesnake and Upper Heartbreak.   There were just two things going through my mind coming down those two sections; don't die and don't flat.  I succeeded at both.  Hawley guy, Trey Richardson's video of me on Lower Heartbreak proved that discretion is indeed the better part of valor.  There were many who did not fare so well coming through there.  I coulda went faster, but I also mighta ended up in the highlight reel.
There are plenty of entertaining images of people laying it down over on Icon Media Asheville's Pisgah Enduro™.  Enjoy.

The negatives?  Of course there are negatives.

"This isn't very Enduro™."

I got sick of hearing that.  It was only a few times, but I have a low tolerance for whining... when it's not my own.  Enduro™ is a new'ish sport, still being defined.  Then there's West Coast, East Coast, and European ideas of just what Enduro™ is.  Sure, Jarrett Creek Road is just a washed-out (in places) gravel descent, but you gotta ride it anyways to get back to camp, so why not time it?  Afraid of some pedaling?  There was plenty of gnar over the course of two days that I feel the Pisgah Enduro™ is very Enduro™.

The outfits.

Dressing Enduro™ used to be the ironic mustache of mountain biking.

But just as the ironic mustache, it has been accepted into our culture and is no longer the exception, it is the rule.  Although I would wear a "kit" (also known to Endurbros™ as "spandex") to race the very same trails at ORAMM, it is expected that one would need goggles, knee pads, a baseball length sleeved shirt, a vividly colored helmet with 15% more head coverage... I dunno, an entire wardrobe of Enduro™ approved garb in order to race Enduro™. 


Yes, I might race harder with a full downhill ensemble complete with full-face and neck brace, but covering my knees will not make me increase my speed.  Not one bit. 

Blah, blah, blah.

I'm happy Enduro™ exists because it means more people enjoying bikes for whatever reason and the propping up of the entire industry which is good for all of us.  More bikes and gear sold means more development of products, more bike shops staying in business, more promoters having more events where more people can enjoy the tribe experience... just lots more of more.  Because this is America, and more is always better than less.


AdamB said...

Amen brah...

Anonymous said...

Gnar? Where? Those are the pussiest trails aorund. Racing is ruining what is capable on a bike.