For a “local” race, the Enduro X race series packs in a lot. A lot of vertical feet descended, and a ton of fun. The one big thing that separates it from bigger, more well known races, is the prize money. But hey, the racing doesn’t always have to be about the pros, and the Enduro X series in Steamboat Springs does a fantastic job at not only welcoming complete never evers to enduro racing, but also being entirely accommodating to lots of different skill levels.
At the end of the day, I was smiling from going as fast as I could on different types of terrain. Dave Scully, race promoter and course designer, has done a great job of working with the Steamboat Springs resort, and the town of Steamboat Springs, and whoever might control trails being raced on. Trails at times went off the resort property, but halfway through a stage, thereby maintaining the overall flow and fun factor of any given stage.
One of my favorite stages, an opinion I share with many others that I talked to, was Stage 1. Starting off in the bike park, you picked up speed and hit some bermed turns, but veered off into the first challenging feature, which certainly awakened a lot of racers. Steep down a rock face, at speed. The run out was clean, but the message was clear. “Be on your toes.” The stage continued back onto a high speed bike park track, but halfway down got onto a revamped old school trail called “Creekside” which quite a few knowledgable Colorado people have told me is one of their favorite sections of trail in the state. Fast, tight, and with technically challenging rock garden sections to keep you honest, but also with enough flow to be smile inducing. It’s natural and still raw. Running along a minor creek for a mile, you’re on a trail that made Colorado mountain biking what it is today. Creekside has been around for some time, and it’s stood the test of time. If only it were ten times as long as it is.
Stage 3 was another highlight. Starting up high, after a stout climb, this stage had a bit of everything. Fast and winding through gorgeous aspens, mixed with short climbs to send your heart rate through the roof, onto fun bike park flow trail, this stage really did challenge your skill and fitness. 22 minute finish times, this one was awesome.
Stage 4 was the most technically challenging of all the special stages, ridden almost entirely on the “Rawhide” trail, with multiple steep rock features and gardens to get through, only to finish on “Bull Rider” with wooden features scaring the crap out of those not used to such track additions. Tricky corners and mandatory airs rounded out the course. Some racers just wanted to make it down “in one piece”.
And that’s another thing about this race series that’s a little different about some other races. Scully, the promoter, realizes who his potential demographic is, and designs the courses to be fun for all. They might not be as technically challenging or scary as some races, but the smile percentage is high. On all racers. The stress is low, the pace is relaxing. Because there aren’t huge numbers of racers (yet) the vibe all the way around is really chill. With a fantastic amount of vertical, lunch each day, beer at the end of the race, a prize and raffle table that took a long time to go through (read that as: MANY prizes were given away to MANY people) and time to get some more runs in on each race day (your full day race ticket was included in entry fee), and you have a pretty solid value in the world of enduro racing.
There is one more race day as part of the summer Enduro X series, which runs in conjunction with the IMBA World Summit, and that’s this upcoming Sunday. I highly encourage you to check it out. Super fun, and you’ll probably push yourself to go faster than you thought you could. Who knows, maybe go home with some race swag too!
Find full results and sign up for the next race over on the Enduro X website.
Words: Daniel Dunn Photos: Courtesy Enduro X