Crazy Ben Enduro, A "mostly" Human Powered race report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Frykman   
Monday, 16 June 2014 09:34

For some strange reason Amy and I decided to try our hand at Enduro Motocross.  Ive always enjoyed experiencing new sports/experiences, and we had both recently purchased enduro-style motos.   I managed to talk Amy into racing even though this would only be her sixth time riding a dirt bike.

Racing day came soon enough, and we found ourselves on the starting line with 200 other racers divided into sub groups based on ability and age.

The vibe was similar to bicycle racing.  Everyone was friendly and open and there was that same nervous energy you experience before the starting gun.
Amy looked terrified (maybe more like gripped) before her start as the reality sunk in that she was racing a 35 mile moto head to head with 9 other women who looked kinda menacing clad head to toe in colorful armor.  The flag went down, and they were off. Amy got a good mid pack start, but let several women pass her in the first few turns heading into single-track.  She was pacing herself.   She did five laps on a 7 mile single-track course, keeping cool and smooth and didn't crash once.   Amy's look of relief and satisfaction was unmistakable when she crossed the finish line, knowing she had survived her first Enduro Motocross race.

My race would be longer and very technical.  56 miles of steep rocky ascents and descents mixed with open swoopy runs.  All of it would be single track with one test section that we had to do 3 times involving jumping over tractor tires, riding over a chopped wood pile, through a rock garden and over 12" logs, all in a tight and twisting rapid-fire sequence.  Scary!

Having many race starts under my belt in mass start events from road, mtb and nordic, I felt kinda calm despite the fact that I am a Cat 5 rookie next to guys with decades' of experience racing moto.  My start was not so stellar.   Slow off the line, I was deep in the pack at the first corner.  500yds into the race, I crashed, which put me way back in last place but gave me time to shake out and relax into the flow of the race course.

Over the next 3+ hours my physical and mental stamina would be put to the test.  Racing Enduro is not aerobic compared to a Cat 1/2 road race, but I was being pummeled by the physicality and mental concentration it took to make progress and not make mistakes.  I was able to pass several people, then I would crash and loose a few spots.

 Having a good endurance background payed off later in the race when others started running out of steam, but then later in the last lap I started making a lot of mistakes.  I would be feeling good, feeling the flow and then, wham, I would crash.  I think I crashed 15 times.  Toward the end, my brain was exhausted and my body was cramping.  I felt wooden.   I kept talking to myself, "slower is faster, no mistakes, no mistakes, no mistakes. Just Finish!"

In the end, I kept it together and managed not to break any gear.  I crossed the finish line mid pack in 7th place.  Success!   Stoked to do it again.

Seriously, this is a fun sport that feels like enduro and xc mountainbike racing rolled into one long event.   I highly recommend trying it.  It may seem intimidating, but the people are genuinely friendly and the format is totally doable!

Bryan Frykman