The Fall And Rise Of En­duro

EN­DURO RAC­ING IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE WESTERN CAPE - THANKS TO SMALL GROUP OF PAS­SION­ATE EN­THU­SI­ASTS.

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Inside - By Ewald Sadie

AF­TER YEARS OF TIM­ING WOES... ...and fad­ing in­ter­est in en­duro races in the Western Cape, things have been turned around – thanks to the crew be­hind the newly-formed EWC (En­duro Western Cape) com­mit­tee.

So far, an un­prece­dented num­ber of en­trants have sup­ported the 2018 sea­son, con­sist­ing of a three-event se­ries of races hosted at Hoogekraal, Con­ter­man­skloof and Jonkershoek re­spec­tively. For the first time ever, en­tries had to be capped (at 200), in­di­cat­ing a pos­i­tive turn­around and signs that the sport is back on track and grow­ing.

En­duro is the evo­lu­tion of the typ­i­cal moun­tain-bike ride with friends; just with of­fi­cial tim­ing on des­ig­nated tech­ni­cal sec­tions (‘stages’), and brag­ging rights for who­ever is fastest on the day.

Riding bud­dies group back to­gether again af­ter each stage, shar­ing the stoke and the mishaps of the stage, and then ride on to the next one at a re­laxed pace.

A cru­cial fac­tor in en­duro’s re­newed suc­cess is thanks to Daniel Dobin­son and Harry Mil­lar (from iRideAfrica) ad­dress­ing the tim­ing is­sues from past years. Over a pe­riod of five months, they de­vel­oped a to­tally cus­tom, en­duro­suited tim­ing sys­tem, from scratch; do­ing ev­ery­thing from cus­tomis­ing cir­cuit boards, to writ­ing the code, to com­bin­ing ev­ery­thing into a neat and clean pack­age.

The sys­tem’s ro­bust and easy-to-use design doesn’t re­quire any GSM cov­er­age – or a de­gree in rocket sci­ence. Since ac­cu­rate tim­ing is one of the core el­e­ments of any race or event, this is an in­valu­able el­e­ment. Hope­fully, it will re­de­fine en­durostyle events in South Africa.

En­duro is a wel­come al­ter­na­tive to the usual ‘ly­cra re­quired’ rac­ing dis­ci­plines of XC and marathon, which dom­i­nate the moun­tain-biking scene in South Africa. The ca­ma­raderie be­tween en­duro rid­ers stems from the fact that the event for­mat al­lows be­gin­ners and pro­fes­sion­als to min­gle and share ex­pe­ri­ences, while ac­tu­ally rac­ing.

Uphills (‘li­aisons’) are spent catching up on news, gos­sip and bike tech­nol­ogy, and the short stages (usu­ally only one to two kilo­me­tres) are spent go­ing as fast as you can while keep­ing your body and bike in one piece.

Post-race at­mos­phere usu­ally con­sists of ban­ter, free ice-cold beer, check­ing out the ven­dor mer­chan­dise, a prize-giv­ing, and a lucky draw to add the cherry on top.

Part of the at­trac­tion is that rid­ers have time to take pho­tos and rest when­ever they choose, while still be­ing able to en­joy all the ex­cit­ing trails with­out any­one slow­ing them down. Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new and ex­cit­ing moun­tain-biking des­ti­na­tions is also part of the en­duro ethos, and this en­tices rac­ers to travel and chal­lenge their skill sets.

"EN­DURO IS THE EVO­LU­TION OF THE TYP­I­CAL MOUN­TAIN-BIKE RIDE WITH FRIENDS..."

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