I’m Porsha Murdock. A Professional Enduro Mountain Bike Racer for All Access Racing, Fly Racing, and Hutch’s Bicycles with support from Recharge Sport. I started riding five years ago near Dallas, Texas. I focused on cross country rides and quickly realized that my climbing skills wouldn’t pay the bills and something needed to change. Enter enduro…
What is enduro? In short, it is timed descents and un-timed climbs also called transfers. Basically it combines both aspects of cross-country and downhill mountain biking. It mimics the riding most people do on the weekend when they go out for a trail ride with their friends. Depending on the venue of the event you might find that there is lift access (if the event is hosted at a bike park) or that you have to be at the start of the next stage by a certain time (not timed but you have to make a cut off). Having a specific cut off time is more common in the Enduro World Series and larger events with a lot of people. It’s a way for the promoters to keep things moving.
Now, to address the stages. Each race has a predetermined number of “stages”. Basically a stage is categorized by the official beginning and end to one section of timed trail. It can be a trail in its entirety or a segment of that trail. No matter the length, the goal is to get from the start to the finish as fast as possible (like most racing requires). The rider wears a timing bracelet or has a chip on their number plate that records their start and finish time. Once you complete a stage you take the transfer (untimed) to the next stage and complete your next stage. After each stage the times are added together and the fastest overall time wins. I’ll answer a few common questions I’ve heard to better explain the sport a little more in depth.
So you want to try an enduro?
Great! Find one in your area and assess your skill level to decide which category you should race in. Also, take your safety into account. Not comfortable with a certain section? Walk it, but after the event go back and work on your weakness so next time you can do it with confidence. Most enduro races take place between the months of April and September.
So what is the terrain like?
This is variable to location. Last year during the Colorado races I participated in there was very little climbing and resembled more of a multi-stage downhill race. However, races in the PNW alternated between local trails and lift access events.
How long are the stages and how far do you ride?
Again, this is also variable to location and the promoter. One stage can be anywhere from a minute to twenty minutes or more. The total distance traveled can also be something close to ten miles (lift access) or forty miles (backcountry with long transfers). By contacting a promoter you can get more information for a specific event.
What should I bring?
Mechanicals are bound to happen at some point. A Basic flat repair kit: think tube, co2, tire lever, and patch kit, are essential especially when riding on rockier trails. Zip-ties are fantastic also as they can fix quite a bit in a pinch. Water and snacks. These can be kept in a hydration pack or water bottle and food can be picked up at aide stations along the way (if provided). Additional protective gear. Knee and elbow pads can be very helpful if a crash occurs, while not required at most events it is definitely advised.
Do I race with other people?
This is another way that enduro resembles downhill racing. Each person starts at a specific time and will leave the start line by themselves. However, they may catch the person in front of them or be caught by the person behind them. At this point, it is up to the person who was caught to move over for the racer when safe.
In Oregon we have a few series close by. The Cascadia Dirt Cup will be hosting a bunch of races in the Washington area, but if you want to stay in Oregon the Oregon Enduro Series will put on two races this year.
The weather is getting nice so get out and ride!