Alright as the title says what MN and the Midwest needs is some "real" mountain bike races as well as other things like pump tracks and bike parks but I'm working on that ; ) .
This would be race for the masses, it doesn't favor some baller rich dirt rodies on a 18lbs carbon fiber 29er that cost more then my car or a full on gravity driven rider with a 40mm double crown front fork that also costs more then my car, no it is the race for the average joe that rocks the typical bike! The trail/all-mountain bike, yes they are now making maga avalanche/enduro bikes like the Trek Slash and Cannondale Claymore but we wont get into that right now. I'd say at least 75% of us, enthusiast mountain bikers, have a trail bike 120-170mm of travel sitting in our garage that we ride on a daily basis. That is what this race would entail.
What is enduro mtb? Let me explain:
Enduro racing is a cross country based event which is similar to super-d but is set up in stages and is normally run on an existing mtb loops. The event is run like a stage rally event where each rider has to complete a set amount of stages usually 3-5 stages, most of the timed stages will be majority downhill but some will have uphill and flat sections. Each event will consist of 3-5 competitive stages where you will be set off as an individual with a gap between each rider. At the end of each stage you will ride on a non-timed section to get to the next stage, this will involve riding uphill. The times for the link sections will be very generous so you don't have to ride quick on these sections, you will have time to take it easy. The rider with the quickest overall time for the 3-5 timed stages will win their category. Each stage will be electronically timed with manual backup. The sections would last anywhere from probably 5-15mins so it would all be sprint, fast paced and preferably technical in nature. The reason they would be short is the majority dh part. I rode crows peak 3.2miles or so 1hr 45mins up and 15-20mins down! Down is always faster and will have shorter times.
What trails will be used?
The trails used in these events will be largely established quality trails, however it can include more challenging and natural sections where possible to make it enjoyable and challenging for all riders.
Where would/could we have these races? Well my first thought for the cities was battle creek but that has been meet by some resistance so if anyone can help with that it would be great. Other suggestions in the twin cities, Buck Hill or Afton. In MN redwing, Giants ridge, or Cuyuna? Not sure about the rest... SD has tons of areas but that's a long drive.
Each rider is required to use the same bike for all stages! The only thing that the rider can change is their tire selection. This is why it doesn't favor xc or dh bikes. You need to choose wisely because, especially because we are in MN/Midwest, there will be climbing and flat sections. It will be around 70% dh and 30% climbing and flat but no less then 60-40 or it will become a xc race in my opinion.
A helmet for sure, depending on the course probably a full face or enduro style would be a good call but not required. Also recommend gloves and knee pads. I don't normally wear gloves to free ride but for races I would.
I would really like to see this become a reality but who knows. I am new the twin cities and trying to build my "street cred" by doing trail work and going on group rides and trying to spear head other projects and also organize a race or two, hopefully.
If this sounds like an interesting or intriguing idea to anyone and you want to help or think you know of some one I should get in touch with, definitely let me know. Leave me a comment and a way to get in touch with you and I will definitely do it.
Keep it real!