Above the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice in the French Alps, lies Les Arc, host to Trail Addiction’s new stage race – Enduro2. If you haven’t heard anything about this race yet, you will soon – but it’s quite simple. It’s an Enduro style race, but in teams of two people working together to ride the stages in the quickest time possible.
Enduro2 has 15 stages spread over three days – 6 stages on each of days one and two, and a further 3 stages on the final day. The altitude gain was mainly uplift assisted, with two utterly growling climbs on the final day (in around 30ºC heat). Race HQ and most of the accommodation was located in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, close to the shops, pubs and funicular – which we got quite used to loading bikes and bodies onto during our time there.
Enduro as we already know is reasonably sociable; you get to ride round a course with a group of your mates, but when the clock starts ticking on a stage you are all alone again. With your own thoughts and the pressures (or not) that you apply to yourself to ride a section as hard as you can. You never actually experience the timed stage at the same time as your riding pals – you just relive it during the next transition. Enduro2 was more than that; it was about riding it with a mate, and each helping the other to get through the stages as fast as possible. And all ridden blind; no practice allowed.
Each team was set off at 30s intervals. There was only one timing chip between each team so you could choose to leave a slight gap between you and your partner, meaning the faster rider could set off second and chase down their partner. Teams that had similar pace set off together and took it in turns to be the front rider, making line choices, good or bad. You did however have to finish together. The race attracted riders from all over the world; it really did feel like a true international race. It was also interesting to see the gulf in the level of riders taking part. From world class racers all the way down to groups of mates just having a go. It was inspiring to see a strong mixed category and a fair few female-only teams too.
Using some of the same trails as the Trans Savoie race, this was always going to be a serious event. It’s French law to wear some form of back protection and a full face helmet whilst racing a mountain bike in France – and having ridden the race, we can see why!
We’re not going to break the race down into a day by day report (as it might spoil our forthcoming feature in a mag Issue coming soon). But instead, here’s the official video to whet your appetite:
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