Intricately planned interval training, mathematically optimised nutrition, exact bike tuning, and a jam-packed racing schedule: the foundations of a successful enduro racer are pretty much the same as any other athlete these days. Monotonous, precise, and interchangeable. Ambitious goals are (mostly) only achievable through hard work. That’s great for those who want it, but what about the rest? What happened to the fun? Where’s the social biking community, on and off the trail, the escape from every-day monotony…?


Our trip to Fruita, Colorado, showed us once again that there’s more to enduro than just race times and results – there are friends and friendship. OK, let’s not forget beer, adventure, and freedom!

After the SRAM Trailhouse Event in Moab, Utah, I extended my trip by a few days to visit our U.S. editor, Daniel Dunn, in Breckenridge, Colorado. and plan our season strategy. With work completed, our original idea was a Colorado road trip,but Daniel had to change his schedule at the last minute and stay in the snow-filled ski resort.

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What to do now? Daniel switched on his social-media-machine and before I knew it I was chatting with a pretty blond lady who was meeting her friends to ride in the trail paradise of Fruita, just four hours away.

Time to jump in the brand-new rental truck and escape the cold winter conditions in Breckenridge. The satnav predicts a four-hour drive, but after thirty minutes I am stuck in a traffic jam on Vail pass at 3500 metres. Six hours and one fast food drive-through later, I arrive in Fruita.

After an endless search in the rural town, I finally find 18 road via 17 1/2, and now the big six liter engine groans as the rental “gently” tackles the gravel road.

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Late in the afternoon, I reach the arranged meeting point in the north camping area to find the cars of my unknown friends. The bike is soon ready, and I decide to go for a quick ride. After just a few metres, everything makes sense: Fruita is flow, none of the bone-shaking trails from Moab. Pump, push, pedal, and jump. The trails here put a huge grin on your face. Less descending than in Moab, but just as much fun!

Later in the evening I finally meet Liz and her fifteen mates. Now I find out that we’re going to be camping here… ”Why not?” I think, not knowing with the warm daytime temperatures how cold it will get in the boot of my 4×4 (frozen windscreen cold)!

The evening is rounded off with beers, a tasty BBQ, and a campfire. We talk tech, trails, and philosophise endlessly about the best beer in the world. In Colorado, every beer would break the German
purity laws (which state that beers may only contain water, malt, barley, and hops). The sheer variety and experimentation of the local breweries cannot be denied, so every beer unleashes a new discussion. A spontaneous night ride with borrowed lights adds to the atmosphere and is followed by more campfire talk and drinks. What a cool day (and night)!

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But it would get even better: at seven o’clock sharp, slightly hungover but still alive, the day begins with a quick black coffee and the first ride. If you thought the party last night was too wild, then you couldn’t cope with today’s ride. As soon as Liz switches on her “Jammy Pack” the best songs start to pour from the speakers in her fanny pack. “I need one of those,“
I think to myself. Plug in your iPhone and the term “group-experience” takes on a whole new meaning.

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After a morning filled with descending, we return to the campground for an extensive brunch of nachos, chocolate cake, nuts, and cold drinks. Dylan even gets his guitar out and shows us a perfect symbiosis of old and new world tradition: the finest country classics warble from his acoustic guitar as he reads the notes from an iPad. Wild west romanticism, check. But what did this “holiday” have to do with enduro, you might still be asking? I found out that evening over a burger dinner.

With a cool, deep black beer named “Fortune” in my hand, I asked Dylan how the members of the group knew each other. “Actually we don’t!” was the answer.

“This is the second time the group has come together. Last year I went to one of the Big Mountain Enduro
Series races in Durango on my own and met one of the girls on a transfer stage. Before I knew it, I was welcomed into the group…that’s the cool thing about enduro races, the relaxed atmosphere. Racing is fun, but actually for me it’s really about the experience as a whole. The people, the new friends. At enduro races I meet relaxed people who tick like me, like beer and good coffee, and want to have fun and just hang out together. That’s why I love those events.“

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“I don’t really care if someone is stressing me about the racing as long as I’ve had a good weekend. If I can share the fun with friends, then I achieved all of my aims. The fact that we come from totally different parts of Colorado (up-to 800 km apart) makes it even cooler that we can meet up somewhere for a weekend, ride, laugh, drink, share the memories of the last season, and plan for next year. That’s neat!“

So I return home, new friends and happy memories in my luggage and richer for one new realisation – racing brings us together, and that’s what counts!
See you soon amigos, maybe at the next race.

Text & Pictures: Robin Schmitt

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