One year ago, Enduro Mountain Magazine crew went to Sauze d’Oulx for Superenduro, Enduro des Nations. Sublimated by the awesome trails, landscape and friendly people, Aurelien Knecht (photographer and filmmaker) and Jordan Baumann decided to go back to this area. During one week, they enjoyed the trails, took photos and Jordan participated in the mythical race.
20th and 21st July, the race was on! Around 300 riders were at the start, ready for 8 stages and supermountain. Planning was really hard; by chance, italian rules allow riders to do practice so they know exactly what they will face.
Actually, italian top enduro riders were practicing since Monday on the bike park trails so 5 days before the race. Ordinary people start practicing on Friday, some of them on Thursday. However, it is impossible to criticize these rules; it is Italia, official federation agrees and foreign riders have to be in agreement. It is always enriching to take part in to new rules, discover different ways of looking at things, share cultures and so on.
Concerning the race, saturday’s programm was deeply hard; 7 alpine stages in high altitude. 6 stages on Sauze d’Oulx side and the last one, at the end of the day, on the other side of the mountain which goes to Sestriere, renowned resort for winter olympics games. 7 stages, then arriving in Sestriere, riders had 30 minuts to check their bike and then, put it in a parc ferme for the night.
After that, shuttles went back to Sauze d’Oulx for all the riders. For once, people didn’t have to do mechanicals on their bikes: strange but it was behind the mountain… Sunday, early morning, 6am, the shuttle bus waited for riders to go to Sestriere. Still smiling, riders enjoyed in advance the last stage of the supermountain. Supermountain start list was done the same as in function of the stage 8 results; 10 by 10, people were on line and at 15p.m., the last race started.
The last fight was hard! Alex Lupato won it, followed by Manuel Ducci and Davide Sottocornolo. However, Davide took the scratch win in front of Manuel Ducci; Sam Shucksmith completed the podium. Really hard week with hundred people who did not finish the race; broken bike, disqualification due to severe rules or a bad crash… This race was definitely one of the most exciting and representative of enduro racing in the world.
Lots of people know Sauze d’Oulx due to this awesome race but “experts” know the hidden part of the iceberg… This Alpine town from « Provinzia di Torino », Piemonte, north Italy, is located at 1500m above sea level and its bike park Sauze d’Oulx has two lifts going up to 2500m. Since the moment you are on the top of the mountain, you really understand all the area’s potential.
Several tracks wait for you with plenty of varying sections.
However, like every rider knows, the best thing is to meet locals riders in order to ride the secret spot. Then, the mix between bike park and secret spot line is just awesome.
On top of that, after a complete riding day with your friend, you only have to take a sit on the terrace and wait for a beer under the sunshine.
Owners of bars and restaurant are always really friendly and ready to share their happiness with you. It’s the moment to discover great Italian foods, all their cheese, way of doing pasta, enjoy their great pizza and savour good vines.
One thing is sure, even if he had bad luck during his race, test rider Jordan will go back to this awesome place next season. Sauze d’Oulx is just gorgeous; a place everybody should visit once in a life time. But actually more than one time!
Words: Jordan Baumann | Photos: Aurelien Knecht