This last weekend we raced the fifth round of the Superenduro PRO circuit at Sauze. There was a big field of foreign riders from all over Europe that really pushed up the level of the competition. Also, for this race there was a new format, a change to the usual Superenduro format transforming it into an epic race. Over two days we had eight enduro special stages and a mass-start Supermountain race that counted towards your result for the grand finale.
On Saturday morning we set off at 8.30 and after the rain the evening before I put on the spikes which ended up making the day harder than I thought it would be. After the three stages in the morning we passed back through the pits for a time check and a tyre change. We had to check everything on the bike because after we set back out again we’d have to face four more stages without any more work on the bikes.
The final stage of the day dropped us down into Sestriere and our first time with some new rules. We had a little time to work on the bikes before they were locked in parc ferme for the night by the Superenduro staff. In those thirty minutes riders and mechanics were going flatout, we had to give 100% to get the bikes ready for the next day. It wasn’t simple either, because the parc ferme was in a different valley, which made it harder to bring over the equipment to work on the bikes, you had to be well-organised. I have to say, we were well-organised, we left the bikes and returned to Sauze to get organised for the next day and get a good night’s sleep!
As the sun rose we were back in the car to rejoin our bikes in Sestriere, where we finished the night before and where the race began again in the morning. We had one special stage and then it was the Supermountain race… To reach the starting grid of the race we had to climb up about 5km. Although the time wasn’t timed, the order we arrived in decided the order we could select our places on the starting grid – the first to reach the grid were the first to choose their starting spots. “The knockout punch before the storm…”
We thought we would just be able to hold a steady rhythmn and save some energy before the race, but then people started to attack to get the best spots on the grid. At the front the pace was so fast, like a high-level cross-country race! When we reached the start we had to wait for about an hour for the last riders to reach the top, we were tired after the climb, so it was good to have time to recover before the mass-start.
When they said to take our places on the grid, everyone in there head-to-head, the adrenaline and excitement made you forget the fatigue. To race bar-to-bar is always a great feeling… Finally everyone was ready and we all set off at a pace it was impossible to sustain. You didn’t think how tired you were, how many crashes or mechanicals you might have you were at the ball and you had to dance!
At the finish everyone had given it everything, we were dehydrated on the floor trying to breathe… But once we came to the smile of satisfaction we took from this epic exertion was on the face of every rider.
In the last few months we have gone to a completely different race nearly every weekend. In the this case it was new rules, a different format and more disciplines inside one race… enduro who are you really? I think it isn’t important. Take a bike and go down the mountains as fast as you can and we all have smiles etched on our faces… because we love enduro!
Words: Team Life Cycle Photos: Matt Wragg