THE NEW AGE OF RACING
MOUNTAIN BIKE RACING has evolved from a place where a rider would bring a single bike with 21 gears and no suspension to compete in cross country, uphill and downhill events all on the one day.
Enduro racing has gained in popularity over the years, but it’s not an easy discipline; courses are long, the downhills are steep and treacherous, and it’s a big couple of days.
There’s a new version of enduro that’s rising in popularity, and it’s known as flow trail racing. It mimics the idea of enduro, but uses less steep courses that are shorter in length. The Cannonball offered two such races, one on its 4km long flow trail and a longer 7.5km version which involved some climbing, and there are a number of flow races on the calendar for 2017.
“Enduro is rad, but it can be tough for first-timers and young riders,” says Giant enduro pro rider Josh Carlson, who competed in the flow races at Thredbo, as well as the downhill. “Flow brings the pace and the danger down a bit, and it’s bringing more people into the sport.”
The best bike for a flow-style race will have front and rear suspension. Josh’s Reign is a long travel 160mm bike, but bikes with less travel will work just as well. Josh’s hot tip? “Practice the course first. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t plan to do it,” he says. Josh heads back to his base in Vancouver to tackle the 2017 Enduro World Series in February.