Probably inspired by the success of Enduro racing in the Philippines, I received 4 messages from 3 different countries in the south east. One from Thailand, two from Indonesia, and one from Vietnam. All these Asian brothers are asking and consulting about the fast-growing sport in mountain biking, and we all want to promote Enduro.


First things first and one at a time. Vietnam. The only references I have are the broadway hit Miss Saigon and movies Killing Fields, Platoon, and Good Morning Vietnam – all in the context of war.

Three decades after the armed conflict, the mountains are quiet and ready for a gunless warfare.


I need to see and check what Vietnam has to offer. The original plan was to visit in December 2013, but with typhoon Haiyan’s devastating effect in the Philippines I decided to postpone. Finally on April 23, I flew to Hanoi and almost immediately travelled to the province of Hoa Bin. To cover widely in a limited time, we rolled on Motorcoss.


The first exploration took place in the northern part of the country, only 40 kms away from the Laos border. The local guide has no idea what type of trails I was looking for, so I just asked him to take me someplace really high where 4-wheelers can’t go.

Thung Man is a quiet village with 808M elevation. it is a 13.2-km descent to the bottom . While the terrain is not so enduro-rough, the long single track is tricky and will definitely keep adrenaline shooting as riders bomb down at high speed.


Day 2 of the exploration took place around the beautiful valley of Poo Com . Asking around, I found out that not too long ago, a group of French nationals held a trail run in one of the mountains nearby. That was hopeful as that was the route we would follow that day. This time I was on foot with a local farmer to guide me.

It was as if angels of enduro are guiding me that day. While only a quarter of the trail run route can be used for the special stages, I was led to other trails every rider dreams about, a 2.7 kms of rock garden.


Not too far from the edge of the rock garden , we climbed up and discovered another potential part for the a race , it has a combination of tight single tracks, roots , switchbacks, and steep sections. In the middle of this 4- kilometer downhill trail is an abandoned rice terraces , I thought it would be interesting to include the “steps” in the route.


The 2-day exploration resulted to 20 kilometers of potential special stages. Not bad. It’s a long way to go for an Enduro race of global standards but definitely not impossible. The next step is to have my Vietnamese partner come over to the Philippines and see how enduro format is done. If things go well, riders from the neighboring countries will be landing at the Hanoi international airport for the 2015 Vietnam Enduro.


With four countries initiating, Enduro is rising in the East!


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Words & Pictures: Sly Lumbao

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