Okay… Let’s face it: the Enduro race format has exploded in North America like an over-insured building liberally splashed with jet fuel and struck by lightning. There’s the Oregon Enduro Series (OES), Cascadia Dirt Cup (CDC), BC Enduro, Montana Enduro Series, Idaho Enduro Series, Big Mountain Enduro (BME), WVMBA Enduro Series, Eastern States Cup Enduro Series (ESC)… You get the idea. So the announcement of the formation of the North American Enduro Coalition (NAEC) and their North American Enduro Cup (also the NAEC) kind of flew under the radar.
So what are the two NAECs? In short, the Coalition NAEC was the brainchild of the Idaho Enduro series director, James Lang. The Coalition was initially established as a collaborative race effort between the Cascadia Dirt Cup Enduro Series, the Idaho Enduro Series, and the Montana Enduro Series. The idea was to establish a flexible set of rules that could be adapted to each of the participating series, so that racers would have a standardized set of rules to work with across the various race series, but flexible so that the various race organizations involved could adapt the rules to individual races within their respective series. But somewhere along the way, the Coalition birthed the Cup—the other NAEC.
The Cup is a one-off race that embraces all the regional race series: the CDC, the Idaho Enduro Series, the Montana Enduro series, BC Enduro, and MTB Enduro (a Mexican Enduro race organization). Initially, the Cup was planned to be a race series, but with the announcement of the North American Enduro Tour (NAET) becoming an EWS qualifier, the Coalition adopted more of an Enduro of Nations format: a one event race with teams as well as individual racers competing against each other. How’s that work? Simple: you can compete within your category as an individual, but you can also be part of a team and have that team compete within various team categories, like pro women, pro men, mixed sport, etc. Anyway, as long as the NAET remains a series/EWS qualifier, the NAEC will remain as a one-off race with the team component for the foreseeable future.
The inaugural “Cup” NAEC was hosted this past weekend by Silver Mountain Bike Park in the old mining community of Kellogg, ID—a small town located some 40 minutes east of the Coeur d’Alene, ID in the middle of the “panhandle” of the state. Silver Mountain offers a 3.1-mile long gondola ride that climbs 3400 vertical feet to the summit of Kellogg Peak directly from town. Over the weekend, racers ascended some 10k feet via pedals, the gondola, and a single chairlift ride, and then raced all that vertical back down over six stages that took the pro men’s winner, Transition’s Logan Wetzel, nearly 38 minutes to complete. Now that’s some legit racing! So strap in and enjoy the ride….
It was cool to see a return to that "Enduro of Nations" team format that used to cap off the French Enduro Race series a few years ago. All the racers raced as individuals, but had the option to form teams in various categories (for a complete breakdown of the rules for team racing go here)
. The woman's Pro "Team" Winner, the "Oregon Udders", an ad hoc team assembled the night before the start of the NAEC, was composed of race winner Kim Hardin, Nikki Hollatz (10), and Carolyn Romaine (6) - Romaine was absent for the podium on a run to the airport.
That's all, folks. Keep an eye out for the dates for next year's NAEC event to be announced sometime late this year and be sure to make plans to register for what promises to become a fantastic fixture on the North American Enduro race calendar. Racing will be capped at 300, so don't lag when registration opens for next season's race.
/ @CascadiaDirtCup / @bcenduroseries / @MontanaEnduroSeries