Bluegrass Enduro Tour, 2014 Series Preview

Jan 28, 2014 at 12:30
Jan 28, 2014
by Matt Wragg  
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The appeal of enduro was always supposed to be that it's a participation sport. You can't go and jump on track with Steve Smith or Gee Atherton. To even get on track at a World Cup DH race you need to have built up a serious number of UCI points. Yet at an enduro race you can race the same course at the same time as riders like Jerome Clementz or Nico Lau (not to spoil the surprise, but they are a lot faster than you). Everybody can come and join in. This ethos is the foundation that the Bluegrass Enduro Tour is built upon.

In 2014 it is once more a truly international series, spanning four countries, yet despite this they choose to keep the grassroots feel to their races. It is the only international series that has strictly no practice, keeping true to the roots of the discipline, racing blind at every race of the season. The locations it visits aren't the usual European destinations you might expect, it never travels to the French Alps or the Ligurian coast in Italy, instead taking riders to hidden gems they have found away from the beaten path, such as Rombach le Franc in the Vosges and Castelbuono in Sicily. Even though many of their races aren't in the high mountains, they guarantee that even the fastest racers will have over 20 minutes of timed stages to race over at every round. If you are thinking of travelling alone, they also have a "co-voiturage" section for each race (it's French for car sharing).

Entries open 1 February!

Round One
06 April: Dabo – France

Photo Jeremie Reuillier

Photo: Jeremie Reuillier

The 2014 season opens in the Vosges mountains, near the banks of the Moselle. With the highest peak standing at 647m, the sandy soil promises to offer riders demanding climbs and technical timed stages. Alongside the main race, there will also be a children and open (short course) race to help people get started racing.

Round Two
04 May: Glencoe mountain – Scotland

Photo Jean-Pierre Coupe

Photo: Jean-Pierre Coupe

For the second round the series heads to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands and one of the highest peaks in the British Isles. It's probably worth packing a waterproof for this one as the British weather has a sense of humour, if nothing else. As a twist on the racing, the final stage will be a mass start race from the peak of the mountain. This is a similar course to the one used in the MacAvalanche a couple of years ago.

Round Three
11 May: Rombach le Franc – France

Photo Jean-Pierre Coupe

Photo: Jean-Pierre Coupe

Round three sees the racing returning to the Vosges mountains where the series began and one of the perennial favourite stops on the tour, Rombach le Franc. Alongside the main race, there will also be a children and open (short course) race to help people get started racing.

Round Four
16/17 August: Dublin - Ireland

Photo Jean-Pierre Coupe

Photo: Jean-Pierre Coupe

As the series returns to Ireland there will be a couple of new things. Firstly, and the biggest news of all, Saturday will be a women's only day aimed at helping more women discover the enjoyment of enduro racing. Sunday will be the men's race. The loop this year will be different too, taking in three great riding spots, Djouce, Wicklow and Kindlestown, in one loop.

Round Five
21 September: Guebwiller – France

For the penultimate race it's once more to the Vosges mountains and the mountain bike trail network of Guebwiller. . Alongside the main race, there will also be a children and open (short course) race to help people get started racing.

Round Six
26/28 September: Castelbuono – Sicily

Photo Jean-Pierre Coupe

Photo: Jean-Pierre Coupe

Sicily plays host to the season-ending race of 2014 for some late season sun. It is also the highest race of the year, with the Massiccio del Carbonara going up to a full 1,979m high. After the racing is done there will be a day when racers have the chance to go out and ride with the pro riders, a unique opportunity for sure.
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  • + 27
 Bluegrass? I was picturing this being in the boonies of the deep south in the U.S. where they drink moonshine like its water.
  • + 10
 I was hoping it was a series on the east coast, Carolina's and such. Bummer.
  • + 1
 Agree with MD and dcm
  • + 1
 we have a small series in the northeast.. eastern states cup enduro and a smaller series with the triplecrown enduro series..
  • + 1
 Did the same when I first heard of Bluegrass the brand, thought it would be US-based. Nope.
  • + 6
 At first, I honestly thought that "bluegrass enduro tour" meant an event held south of the mason-dixon line.....woops
  • + 3
 Glad to see the good sense prevailed and the Irish race has been opened to the men as well as the women.
  • + 3
 big time, and djouce to kindlestown, that'll make for some good long transitions! stage down the sugarloaf?
  • + 3
 @DMCM: Check out their website, one stage in Kilruddery, transition to Kindlestown for stage 2 & 3, back to Kilruddery where you get shuttled to Ballinastoe for stages 4 & 5 then you go down the road to Djouce for stage 6 & 7 then shuttled back to Kilruddery. Sounds like a great event and day on the bike
  • + 1
 That is possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever read...
  • + 1
 gonna be some day on the bike alright. Fingers on the buzzers this saturday lads!
  • + 2
 Can't think of a worse hill to ride up than Glencoe haha
  • + 1
 Good to see Enduro Series keep coming all over the World! Cool to see the sport progressing!
  • + 1
 131st bike looks nicely fast.
  • + 1
 Which bike is that?
  • + 2
 Check the second photo of the article above. It's a blue commencial with white boss. It seems to me it is very light and manouverable. Perfect for enduro. Commecial frames have dampers exposed to mud shooting out of back wheel, so it is seriously negative characteristic to me.
  • + 1
 Thanks. I was wondering what bike that was. It looks very nice, especially with the BOS suspension.
  • + 1
 I'll be at Glencoe Smile

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