THE NEW AGE OF RAC­ING

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - Outdoor Bike Lane -

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.

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