Enduro 101 Recap with Ascent Cycles

Words by Birgy & Delia:


After shop close on Wednesday night, The Kona Supremes and The Sturdy Dirty crew introduced a group of rad ladies to the world of Enduro Racing.

The 1st event of it’s kind for both Ascent Cycles and The Kona Supremes, this evening marked a big step forward for inclusivity in the mountain biking world. Our goal was to offer a safe space where female identifying riders from all backgrounds and experience levels could get their questions answered in an unassuming and supportive environment.

No stone was left unturned and even some of the veteran lady shredders in the group walked away with new information they could take to their next start line.

For those who couldn’t attend, I want to share some of the main points from the evening.

Buddy Up:
-Isn’t everything more fun with a friend?!  In enduro racing, buddying up isn’t just a social engagement, but about safety. Especially for someone new to racing mountain bikes, finding another rider with a similar skill level will help calm your nerves and keep you from getting into a situation you are not ready for.

Photo: Chris McFarland

-Riding the course before your event is another great way to settle those race day jitters.  In enduro racing the course is often released days (if not weeks) before the event, giving you ample time to familiarize yourself with it.  Knowing what is around the next turn can make a huge difference in finishing strong and avoiding crashes.
And remember, safety 1st! If a feature on the course scares you, there is no shame or penalty in walking your bike or taking the bypass.

Photo: Chris McFarland

Have the Tools for the job and know how to use them:
-It is very important to be prepared for mechanical issues, especially on race day.  A flat tire or broken chain could take you out of the competition, but with the right tools and know how, you won’t have to hike your bike off a mountain and can instead roll to the finish line.

Photo: Gloria Goni-McAteer

-Staying properly fueled and hydrated is key.  Although the timed stages of an enduro race are short, the overall event can be up to 30 miles, which is no small feat on a mountain bike.  Race day is not a good time to try new things, so stick to your go-to ride snacks. The butterflies in your tummy will thank you. It can get really hot out there, so staying hydrated is vital. Electrolytes are your friend and will make the water you have with go further.  Know where the aid stations are on the course, but don’t depend on them. Being overprepared is always the better option.

“borrowing” water from my wonderful teammate after losing my bottle on stage 1

Use Protection:
-Again, it’s all about being safe out there (and having fun, or course).  Helmet, knee pads and gloves are essential. Protective eyewear is also highly recommended.  Some courses could be dusty, others muddy, and a rouge pebble to the eye can cause serious injury.  Having all the right protection can be a game changer and inspire more confidence on the course.

Photo: Erik Mickelson

– Passing or being passed by other racers on the course is going to happen, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful thing.  Communicate with fellow racers. If passing, be sure to announce yourself and find a safe place to overtake them. If you are being passed, don’t let yourself feel rushed, this is when mistakes happen.  You don’t have to stop, but slow down so you can pull aside when the time is right. It’s totally ok to make the person passing you take the more challenging line.

Photo: Chris McFarland

Bike Check:
-Going over your bike before race day can help prevent catastrophic failure on course.  Don’t wait until the last minute, in case you need parts or the help of a skilled mechanic, to make sure everything is running smoothly.  Check Everything. Bolts, pivot bearings, tire pressure, all of it! Doing a thorough bike check prior to race day will give you one less thing to worry about so you can focus on getting RAD!

Photo: Chris McFarland

Have Fun!
-Last, but certainly not least, HAVE FUN!  Enduro racing might be the most fun you can have on a bike.  It’s all about high fives, comradery and the sense of accomplishment that comes from for pushing yourself or trying something new.

Photo: Chris McFarland

What’s the next step?  Find a race in your area and get ready to Shred the Gnar!