The first round of the Spanish Mondraker Enduro Series kicked off this weekend in Les Gavarres in Catalunya (near Girona). So of course we had to visit and check out what the Spanish interpretation of Enduro looks like! Here are our impressions from the race weekend!
On Saturday morning we arrived for the free training. In total there were 6 Special Stages, with 4 stages kept as closely guarded secrets until Saturday morning to ensure the everyone got an equal amount of practice.
The whole circuit was designed around a decent parking area in the middle of the mountains. After just the first couple of meters during training it became evident that the tracks were designed to be tough: Loads of rock gardens (damn slippery in the wet!) alternating with high-speed flow and pedal sections. The end of stage 5 fired into a normally dry river bed. Well, normally! We found ourselves riding in a mini-Amazon. The organizer could see that it was not going to work, and didn’t hesitate to take this segment out. The transfer stages were pretty short, directly linking into the next timed section. Sometimes though there was simply no way to stay on the bike: Let’s go hiking!
Overall, the tracks were really hard, more like a DH course than an easy-chilled out-track, and the stages varied immensely in length from 30 seconds right up to 7 minutes.
The pure technicality and toughness made it hard to predict who was going to do well, the potential winner would have to be capable of everything: Having very good stamina, being able to ride fast over really technical sections and stay smooth to avoid flat tires!
The rules were clear and necessary: Obligatory knee-pads, back protector and full-face helmet (only for race day).
We had fixed starting times for every stage, but the big question on everyone’s mind was would the time limit be enough for each transfer?
A creative way to remember the starting times…
It was an early start in the morning! The first riders left the check point 0 at 8.00 am.
Ready, steady, go! The start of each stage wasn’t taken as precisely as other events, there was no real starting line, but in the end it didn’t matter as if you take a look at the times they weren’t really tight!…
Those looking for an easy race, were out of luck! On the second day the tracks had been shaped and re-cut by hundreds of tires from the previous day, so there was (nearly) always a smooth line! the tracks were reminiscent of the legendary technical races like the Superenduro in Finale Ligure. In contrast to training day most of the tracks were dry, which made a huge difference as the once slippery rocks had dried out to reveal grip .
The time limits on the transfer stages were generously calculated allowing for well deserved short breaks, bike repairs or to enjoy the free refreshments and food provided at various places during the route. Yummmi!
This is why on stage 3 there were a lot of crashes (at least one third of the riders).
Riding in a group with your mates was quite fun… and there were big groups from all over Spain.
The live timing system allowed you to check your time and current ranking and see if you were beating your buddies!
If not, you could go even faster on the next stage!
Carles Barcons flying high!
Enduro Mag on track: Robin Schmitt in a rock section on stage 5. Due to a busted knee after a crash on saturday he was really happy about having finished the race at all. In the end 6th place in senior 1. Photo: Ruben Vigil.
Ivan “the terrible” Oulego (Massi): The Spanish Legend had no fear racing on his DH-bike. Big balls climbing uphill.
The Mondraker guys – very nice people with a good vision of the future of enduro! We can be sure that they have some interesting news in the pipeline for 2014!
Everything a man needs: Bikes, BBQ and sofa! Hopefully they included the beer with the sofa – if not there’s something missing from these team jerseys from a random Spanish team.
Todays’s winner Damien Oton came from France and raced on a prototype bike from French manufacturer Caminade made of CroMo. Bike check coming soon!
Our crew: unofficial team Picats del Strava had been quite successful this weekend. Carles Barcons first in master’s and Roger Gonazlez (Wildwolf/Mondraker) second in men’s category.
Let’s have lunch! Butifarras (typical catalan sausage) grilled by grandpa!
¡Qué rico! Butifarras combined with…
… Fideua (noodles with sea food) prepared by grandma. The orga was like a big family. And with free beer or wine! Amazing!
The winner of men’s category was french Damien Oton. Second was our good friend Roger Gonzalez (Wild Wolf / Mondraker). In third place was Tony Perez (Xtrembike).
Keep it real: Commencal’s marketing manager Mary Moncorgé is a passionate enduro racer and damn fast! Despite some issues with her knee she won the women’s category! Congratulations & good luck with the knee surgery! In second position Eva Garrido Castro and third Lola Moreno Gómez. Well done!
Junior’s podium: 1st Jorge Garcia Vidal, 2nd Borja Frances Calatayud, 3rd Hector Labrador
Master’s podium: 1st Carles Barcons, 2nd Josep Almendros Salas, 3rd Marc Antoni Duch Garzon
Senior 1: 1st Humbert Almenara Verges, 2nd Daniel Cubero Martínez, 3rd Andrés Fernández Latorre
In a nutshell: Great and professional organisation by La Tribu BTT!
For full results click here!
Words & Photos: Robin Schmitt / Ruben Vigil