Event Report: Enduro2 - Bourg-St-Maurice, France

Jul 17, 2019
by Trans Savoie  
Views: 1,034    Faves: 4    Comments: 0

Back after a 3-year break; the Les Arcs Enduro2 had a point to prove, and it made it well:
Pairs-Format Enduro Racing is BACK!

We could give you the usual blow-by-blow detailed race report, but we're not into boring you with all that nonsense. We didn't even bother with a pre-race briefing (time in briefing = time wasted for shredding as far as we're concerned). Thus a detailed, self-congratulating race report, once everyone is already back home, slogging away at their day job, seems somewhat against the spirit of Enduro2.

We're not even going to tell you who won, because if you cared about that you'd probably be reading another EWS race report instead. (Oh, OK, if you really want to know, click here).

Because as far as we are concerned...

...The Only Time That Counts, is Having a Good Time. (Yeah, we came up with that one all by ourselves).

So, here's the stuff you really need to know, sans the usual merde:

Last weekend, 300 riders arrived in Bourg-St-Maurice (French Alps) from 20 different countries for a 3-days of epic trails, lots of high-fives, and plenty of good times.

But don't be fooled by our fake-news social media highlights full of cool beers, big-smiles, loamy trails, and riders taking an hour's lunchbreak for a sit-down mountain-restaurant meal....or perhaps even a sneaky beer between special-stages...

...because when we say EPIC, we're not screwing around: around 11,500m (35,000 ft) of on-stage descending in 2.5 days (we lost count of the real stats at the after-party-even-though-the-race-isn't-even-finished-yet-party on Day 2)

Our riders dutifully did us proud by pretending to enjoy the sprinkling of superb bike-park-groomers we threw into the mix, just to keep our resort-sponsors sweet...

...but we know they were really here for the massive stash of un-marked singletrack - and they darned-well sure-as-hell got it in spades.

A typical time of ~2 hours shedding over 14 Special Stages (yep, they're big) squeezed into only 2.5 days' racing, left our riders with just enough time for a few beers and a sausage from our farewell BBQ before heading back to their "other" lives via Geneva airport, or via a few hours of head-nodding on the road open road. At least the mountain roads in and out of here are epic too (Tour de France next week, anyone?).

Most riders found themselves back in the day-job on Tuesday morning, staring down the barrel of the biggest come-down ever. Having bagged around twice as much singletrack as the Pros racing the EWS / Enduro World Cup that was going down in parallel (in a flatter, more boring part France) - a regular day back in the office just wasn't gonna cut it.

Still thinking 'No big deal'? Lets put it another way; that's more sweet-singletrack than an entire week of Trans-BC Enduro, or half-a-TransProvence - admittedly skipping the joy of grinding up endless fireroads or sitting for hours in shuttle busses...and without even having to offer the organiser a hand-job just to secure your entry in the first place.*

*Forward all hate-mail to: Ail@Enduro2.fr, or please comment below.

Enduro2 embraces an equal-opportunity, free-speech policy**.
**Unless you even slightly bad-mouth us down the pub, in which case please don't be a crybaby when all your mates are booked in for next year but your own application miraculously finds itself on our infinity-wait-list.

SCALPFOTO was able to bring our racers down gently by freely sharing hundreds of hi-res images of the race, just when the withdrawal shakes were starting to set-in. But just when our riders finally thought they were through the worst and could start to focus on work again, we only had to go and drop the highlights video by AIGAL STUDIO along with this Pinkbike report.

Sorry, not Sorry.

A core crowd of luckier souls (aka the divorcees, childless, unemployed, and the homeless/campervan contingent) hung around after the race to enjoy more of the same. As it happens, Bourg-St-Maurice is the perfect base from which to hit up Tignes, La Thuile, Meribel, and a shedload of other top spots all within an hour's drive. Even so, most just jumped right on to the impressive new funicular railway from the town centre (yes, they did finally get around to opening it) and cracked-on with sniffing out more of Les Arcs' near-infinite network of top-drawer singletrack.

Les Arcs Enduro2 will be back again to kick off the summer season next year. High-Fives to that! Follow the Enduro2 Facebook or Instagram to get the first tip-off on dates and entries.

Can't wait that long? Check out Davos Enduro2 this September - same game, different location. It sold out ages ago, but it would not be a wasted effort to drop them an email and ask to join the wait list: We find that many riders have to drop out in the run up to an Enduro2, (typically due to high-fiveing-related stress-fractures) so you could be onto a promise.

Enduro2 Comes to New Zealand this year
If you are feeling particularly saucy, have an unlimited pool of both brownie points with the boss, and a massive air-miles account (or maybe you are just one of those lucky Kiwi b*stards that already lives there) check out Enduro2 NZ - Coming to the 2 best riding spots in the Southern Hemisphere this winter:
- 1-day special at The Wairoa Gorge, 1st December 2019,
- The full-bore 3-dayer, Nelson City, 29 Feb - 1 March 2020.

You heard it here first, people.
(What's that you say? You thought Queenstown and Rotorua were the best spots in NZ?! Time to Wake-Up!)

Sincere thanks go to Geoff Heuzard and his team at 4 Events for directing everything on-the-ground over the weekend, the 45 volunteers and medics who did an absolutely cracking job, GravityLab for keeping our racers's bikes in top shape all weekend, Coolbus for speedy shuttles and for epic tunes from the DJ bus, Charly's Factory, The Bistrot Savoyard, La Buche, and & the Woodbear Cafe for keeping our bellies full and our thirsts quenched, Massage-Me for top class post-ride pampering, and of course to the resorts of Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry for providing slick Ski-Lifts and for letting us borrow their truly spectacular scenery and awesome terrain.

Stay tuned, people: There's plenty more where this came from.
FB/Insta: @Enduro.Fr


  • + 12
 I'm reading the negative comments here and I have to disagree with most of them. Ali is a stand up guy and you could tell in a conversation with him that he poured his soul into this. That closed furnicular was the wrench in the gears but it was not in his hands. Otherwise, while the entry fee was a bit on the steep side, I think it was justified - we have been well taken care of. The trail selection was great, people were friendly, we never got lost despite the large amount of logistics that went into this. All in all, would race again.
  • + 11
 This was my first time doing Enduro2 and overall I had a great experience! What I liked was the casual atmosphere and the awesome trails. Yes it was a mix of bike park and natural trails, but in Les Arcs even the bike park trails have quite a natural feel! There were some waiting around, mostly in the morning due to the funicolare not being ready in time, and therefore shuttling was necessary which of course takes longer. We also waited for a storm to pass, and the lift to start running again the 2nd day. Both things were something the organisers couldn’t do much about, and I think they handled the situation pretty well, all tings considered.
My only complaint was the signing.. I don’t think getting lost 3-4 times during a race ads to the vibe, it kills it. You don’t feel stoked after a stage if you feel you spend stupid time looking for small signs or painted arrows. I don’t expect full double tape, but some tape in places where there is a risk of going too far and missing the trail would be nice.

Otherwise it was a nice “race”. I had fun and I would definitely consider doing it again next year!
  • + 12
 What a cracking event, 3 days of blind racing in the alps - what’s not to love. Great vibe about the whole event and will definitely be back for the next one. Massive thank you to everyone involved
  • + 12
 Great to see this event back on the calendar, love the idea of racing with your mate instead of against him/her.
Welcome back Ali!
  • + 5
 There was a lot of waiting. One of the organizers at least should have been there at the morning shuttle meeting place every day to manage the chaos of 300 people randomly getting on shuttles. It was a little frustrating to be up at the resort at around 8 only to wait for the lifts to open at 9, only to get the first stage and wait for your turn to get riding.

Other than that, it was a really cool event! The trails where top notch with a lot of variety and the amount of descending really killed your hands. It was also really fun to race with a friend, yelling instructions and what not, switching places mid stage and trying to follow the (purposefully) sketchy course markings! Smile
  • + 15
 This is a very fair comment!

Here's the background - the resort of Les Arcs informed us with only 6 days notice (!!) that the primary lift we had planned to use for the event (the funicular railway) would remain out of service due to technical issues.

This gave us only 6 days to find an alternative solution to get 300 bikes and riders safely onto the hill at the same time, plus redesign the schedule and race-stages of the course to compensate for this change. The alternative would have been to cancel the entire event, but at such incredibly short notice we felt that would be letting our riders down a heck of a lot more, to do so.

Under the circumstances, I think we managed a pretty good job to pull it off fairly smoothly, and its great to hear that in spite of the morning delays, you still had an awesome time at Enduro2.

Oh, and just for the record
- Yes, the course marking IS deliberately NOT double-taped-all-the-way. We think it adds to the buzz and teamwork of blind-pairs-racing (front-rider has the job of keeping their eyes up to look for arrows, rearward-rider shouts profanities if they get it wrong!).
- That was the race organiser you saw, personally loading the 300 bikes into the assembled fleet of shuttle vehicles and trailers each morning and individually wrapping each one with a nice thick comfort blanket. ;-)

See you next year!
  • + 7
 looks like a rad event and a cool way to ride and race with your mate. look forward to it coming over to NZ
  • + 8
 Was there, fantastic experience ! Will do it again for sur !
  • + 8
 looks awesome!
  • + 2
 Good job...good job a giving a fake cool image of the amateurly organized event.
Not a single general brief to explain how things work (even as simple as timing) or to pump up the riders, No information at the end of a stage on what to do next, no relation with the resort (lifts closed on a certain day, impossible to get back up and ride again - I mean how long have you known? It seems like it was decided 2 days ago).
Also a little word on the cost, 400€ per team, for what ? A thin sandwich, no drinks at all, not that much riding, plus 75% of trails were signposted bike park trails. So for 20€ a day, you get to do the same thing basically.
Ok we got it in the end, the are people who can Afford this just for the reason a riding in the alps, but clearly, you’d better do it on your own. You’ll ride with your friend, pay your drinks, bring your snacks, and eventually bump in some other riders. Just the same.
As we say : c’est du foutage de gueule !
  • + 2
 So you didn’t get a entry huh lol
  • + 0
 Sometimes EWS is not so much better. OK you get the briefings and all the show but seriously in Canazei we had a 4 days pass but there wasn't much more to ride than the tracks (and of course outside of the training slot it was forbidden so I rode around looking for trails desperately, sometimes going down the mountain on the road... The start list is only provided the day before the race at 19.30. And 15 minutes later you receive an email saying you should ignore that list because they did not know the lift was not running before 8.30! I haven't seen much progress since their very first year. Many local enduro races are at least at a similar level if not better.
  • - 1
 I have to agree with this. As someone who was there (and is even in one of the above photos!), I thought the event organisation was awful. The sales pitch was and still is very strong but its all hype. The on the ground experience is very different. Lack of organisation, a huge amount of waiting around, reliance on volunteers for various tasks (thank you to the volunteers who were doing it for free!), general disorganisation with lift operators (they didn't seem to know we were coming), and very little in the way of info. We felt like we were pretty much left to figure it all out on our own.

The positives were that some of the trails were amazing (probably about 30% of them) and the other riders were generally friendly. We also did barely any riding up which was nice!

I wouldn't do the event again (it was my 2nd time) but I would ride in the area again and I would consider doing something like the trans savoie. I'm sure Ali is reading this so if you want to contact me for more detailed feedback then feel free.
  • + 0
 @EnduroManiac: EWS World Series that are not up to the highest standard should be dropped out... Ive been to a couple EWS, and mind blown. Heard that some EWS continental in Europe are not as good, they should organize these races for people coming from abroad the area, without local knowledge on terrain and how races are organized/carried out, thats the key.
  • + 0
 I recommend TransVerdon, could not go this year, but for 600eur you have 5 days of enduro riding.
  • - 1
 @Lagr1980: I have been on a few ones, starting from their first year when it was easy to get in Wink I didn't see much progression in the organisation.
  • + 3
 I had loads of fun and would definitely do it again despite the frustrations which at the end of the is what counts. Most of the organisation and waiting around I am happy to put down to the fernicular. Signage was annoying and racing down a road open to cars is far from ideal. But despite all that it was a great laugh and I finished every day buzzed. So I was happy. Just my 2 cents
  • + 2
 Thanks for the Feedback @kaisermanu . You raise some very important points and I am pleased to give you a public explanation for them:

If you really were at the event (?!) then its really unfortunate to read about your experience. Something has gone really wrong there - please contact us directly via email to see what we can do to put this right for you, since hat you experienced was not what we had arranged for you, at all!

- There was indeed a briefing of the key points - released by email to all riders in advance of the event. Did you miss it? Even though its not the norm at most other events, we find that spoken briefings are wholly ineffective. Half of the riders don't turn up, or are too excited to really pay attention to what is being said. With 20 nationalities in attendance, the language barrier would also be a problem at Enduro2. In our experience a written briefing in bullet point form is the most effective for getting the message through to the most riders.

Here's the link to the briefing on our website, in case you missed it:

- around 2 hours racing on the clock.....is in your opinion not that much riding? If you are comparing it to the Tour de France, perhaps I would agree. Otherwise I'm not sure I can understand where you are coming from. We are not aware of any other Enduro event that offers more stage-km per day, anywhere in the world, at any price. If anyone reading this knows of one, please comment here because Im signing up for it myself, for sure! Statistically speaking, around 45% of the total trails in the race were signposted bikepark (this percentage was unfortunately a lot higher than we had planned, because of the last-minute re-routing of the course due to the funicular closure). That said, at least half of those trails were simply natural singletrack originally discovered and named by trailaddiction Ltd, that was retrospectively signposted by the resort. In other words, officially bikepark, but still 100% natural singeltrack/walking paths.

- A 2 course meal was provided at a mountain restaurant on Saturday to all riders, A Baguette Sandwich on Sunday at a mountain cafe, and a Modest BBQ on Monday - even though the race was originally sold as meals-not-included. Did you miss out?!

As for your final comment, yes I agree. If you are already a local rider, have been here long enough to have found most of the secret stuff for yourself already, and prefer to ride with your mates rather than a bunch of happy-strangers, then yes, I would agree that you should probably save your money here and try Enduro2 Davos instead, next time. ;-)

All that said, your comments are absolutely taken on board and for the 2020 edition I can assure you, there will be restaurant meals included every day all weekend, and less than 10% machine-built-bike-park special stages.
  • + 6
 Epic event - big thanks to all who brought it back????
  • + 2
 Based on previous experience on EWS,Trans savoie area and TS organisers over few seasons I would find it hard to find fault with the team and knowing who they are ...I will on the other vouch for years of grief that locals in power have done to stop races in this area with last minute closures and re routing so I am sure the issues some racers had were legit and could easily be down to 3rd party influences
  • + 3
 We're in Bourg right now, rode the black enduro today, it's fucking wicked !! Les Arcs is wicked, not blown out like the PDS, definitely coming back in 21.
  • + 1
 Waiting my invite, Col !!! You know where I live
  • + 1
 @jefftrancex1xtr: have you not ridden here ?
  • + 1
 @pigman65: Can't be everywhere! i 'd need 20 years more of holidays Smile
  • + 1
 Amazing event, very fun, i have race and stay one week around this area it's an enduro singletracks paradise!!! Alistair is very professionnal and friendly , i'am looking forward racing the famous Trans savoie again!!
  • + 5
  • + 4
 Looks fun
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