Video: Pro Tips For Your First Enduro Race with Christina Chappetta

Aug 12, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  

With a 6th place pro finish at EWS Whistler plus a generous handful of BC Enduro wins and podiums, it's fair to say that Christina Chappetta knows a thing or two when it comes to Enduro racing. Luckily for the rest of us, Christina is willing to share some tips and tricks to help you line up in your first ever enduro race start gate.

0:00 - Intro
1:49 - Transition Stages
2:49 - Downhill Stages
4:04 - Nutrition & Tech Zones
5:55 - Riding Kit
7:36 - Timing
9:01 - Practice

Must Read This Week


  • 64 1
 1. Arrive 2. Raise Hell 3. Leave
  • 27 0
 2a. praise Dale
  • 1 0
 That is the correct formula.
  • 18 0
 A few more questions that can come up for a first-time racer: how to overtake or be overtaken safely and sportsmanlike, how to deal with nerves disrupted bathroom schedule and other physiological weirdness Big Grin , what category to sign up for based on the info you have about yourself (the level of your usual ride buddies, your category in XC or DH, what you raced 10 years ago, whatever)

Riders meeting might be some race organizer droning on through a bullhorn to a few hundred people, some of whom are still way back in the reg line and many of whom are chitchatting

Enduro is still getting the hard sell as the race discipline you do with your bros, but a lot of riders are going to show up alone. It's easy to get disoriented
  • 51 0
 I had the same questions my first time and I've done a few now, perhaps I can help:

1) Yell out "PASSING WHEN SAFE" as loud as you can when you see someone and want to pass them. Most people will get out of the way ASAP, when safe, and you're expected to do the same. Since you're probably going to be in the amateur category, overall time really shouldn't be your focus.

2) You need approx. 1/4 as much coffee as usual and you can't avoid the pre-race watts/kg adjustment. Get there early, maybe bring a couple baby wipes as portapotty TP is as close to mass-produced aerogel as we're going to get.

3) Amateur/beginner. You'll know when you're good enough to move up. If you sandbag and crush your first race, the organizers will politely steer you in the right direction.

4) Rider's meeting - get there early. Show up to registration early. Drink early and often. Eat something small, about 150-200 kcal after every stage.

5) I only race alone. I make friends on the sufferfest at the top and in the parking lot/pits after. After a few events you'll recognize people from your division and now you've got friends.

It's definitely a fun time. I haven't done as many as I'd like to have this summer due to moving and mechanicals, but I'm looking forward to more in the fall.
  • 3 0
 @sjma: Nicely done!
  • 5 0
 @sjma: awesome feedback! Thank you! All great knowledge into the discipline. As for passing… it happens so just make sure everyone involved is safe! Nobody should be pushed or be pushing people off track at any time Smile I’ve met tons of my best pals at race events so as long as you’re happy and open, there are some rad people to meet along the way.
  • 1 0
 @sjma: Cheers mate, nice write-up! Seems to be the same everywhere.
  • 21 1
 Go for a big poo before you start! Don’t want to be needing to drop off a big one, just before you drop in on the big one!
  • 45 0
 Username checks out
  • 18 0
 Make sure you have a cooler with enough coldies in there for after the race !
  • 5 0
 Pro tip #1
  • 9 0
 Thanks Christina, this is, as advertised, great background for riders thinking about their first race. Delivered in a positive, reassuring style as well. Will particularly share with the young, aspiring racers in my area. Thanks again!
  • 5 0
 Cheers for that positive response! Hope the younger shredders, and older, can take something positive away here.
  • 7 0
 Train!! Cramps in the last few stages from 3000ft gain days are killer, esp with the most difficult stages at the end. Dial it back.. adrenaline will pump you up and you will crash.. I have too many DNFs from getting torn up on crashes... get there early so you can take your time on transfers. good stuff as always Christina!
  • 5 0
 This one is huge. I just did my first (small) enduro race a couple of weeks ago and I was genuinely shocked at how tired I got during a race run as compared to just regular trail riding. But of course, when I do a regular trail ride, I'm not sprinting at the start and I don't have adrenaline up to my eyeballs... I'm now starting a trailing regimen so I can hopefully do more in the fall or next year and feel much better prepared!
  • 12 4
 Take your entrance fee money and buy a three day pass at Whistler instead…… you’ll have waaaayyyyy more fun
  • 1 1
  • 1 1
 Or just do both!
  • 1 1
 @likehell: LOL lets just agree to disagree, racing in NA is not what it is in Europe.
  • 1 0
 @pbfan08: which one is better?
  • 1 0
 @likehell: Well I can't say its "better" because I've never raced anywhere. But it is 1000% more accessible. There a handful of events in a given year scattered all across NA most of the "good ones" fill up instantly and have expensive price tag's, and events in any given series are separated by 100's if not 1000's of miles/KM's, its just prohibitively expensive, and outside of a couple of outlier locations(whistler) local races series are VERY VERY hard to find, if they even exist in your given area.
  • 1 0
 @pbfan08: That's probably true, the size of the US makes it really hard. Longest drives for me were about 5 hours for a race. We actually only have one german Enduro series, not much more with DH I think.. in XC they do that a lot better with with local series, then statewide series and then the national series on top.
  • 8 0
 Clear the pipes before the race. By that I mean beat off. You'll drop 15 grams and a bunch of nerves.
  • 3 0
 Username checks out.
  • 3 0
 Great vid. I remember well going nuts preparing for my first race. A few tips to lose maybe one pre-race toilet break:

- Many races allow fullface helmets with detachable chin guards. This works great for me on the transfers when warm.
- When wearing goggles, remove them right after the finish line, and keep them somewhere they don't collect mud or sweat on the inside. Mine fit on the helmet below the visor.
- Use the transfers to do a quick once-over on the bike. I had a derailleur cog fall off on the last stage once. Proper havoc. Had I bothered to do a pre-flight I'd probably seen & fixed it.
- If you ride with a backpack, test it properly first. Had my pack constantly knock the back of my fullface on the steeps during my first race. Never rode that pack with the fullface before.
- At the races over here, I was surprised how open everybody were on their skills while lining up for the starts. If somebody felt they were much faster than the guy in front, they'd politely ask if they could swap places, and vice versa. After a couple of stages I normally end up in a nicely matched groups so overtaking won't happen.

Racing enduro is actually much less scary than XC. It's almost impossible to become the victim of somebody elses accident.
  • 7 3
 Everyone else at pinkbike- writing articles and doing actual work. Christina Chappetta- doing all the fun stuff.
  • 3 0
 I mean, compared to the sufferfest Tom posted to the site yesterday, lol
  • 1 0
 Are there enduro races (or forms thereof) that have timed transfer stages? If not, why? I don't mean this with any snark (not an enduro rider) but if you can shuttle the bike during a race by walking, why not just use a DH bike for purposes of races?
  • 3 0
 Most races do not have timed transfers - however, there's usually an official that sweeps the division's field after a certain amount of time. If you're walking while the sweeper is coming, you're out. You don't want to risk time that might be needed on fixing a mechanical or flat tire on walking between stages. Also, if you ride the transfer stages, you have more time to catch your breath and eat, drink, refill your water bottle, get your mind right, etc at the top.
  • 1 0
 @sjma: makes sense, thanks!
  • 2 0
 Enduro bikes are better than DH bikes for tight technical, and often blind racing. I have raced my DH bike in an enduro in an emergency and it really reminded me that they have the turning radius of that Evergreen container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal. I did win a stage of that event on a trail named Downhill Trail (Mt Shasta) but that was kinda predestined......It's not it on a DH rig
  • 1 0
 I believe that would be called a technically oriented cross country race or perhaps a trail race or simply a point-to-point race.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: But the timed courses are comparable to regional DH races
  • 6 0
 Good point for sure! Dan Wolfe actually raced an EWS in Whistler on a dh bike so it is possible to make the transfer times if you’re quick and fit! Without transfer cutoff times though, I still prefer to pedal and get to the next stage in a timely manner. Less overall time on track will be better on the body and for managing energy opposed to walking every transfer and turning a 6 hour ride into 9!
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: This would seem to indicate that the stages are too rowdy for Enduro bikes or that the DH tracks are too easy. I stand by my proposed descriptions for a fully timed race be it a circuit or a point to point format.
  • 4 0
 Get absolutely shit rocked the night before with your buddy’s and don’t stretch between stages for best results
  • 4 0
 Long time XC rider trying first Enduro at age 50. Try something new every year, my motto. Thanks for the vid. Great tips!
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta Once again, all solid advice. I began enduro racing over ten years ago, first doing Super D's that were the thing at the time. These days I just help doing volunteer work at our local race series. One thing I'd add to enduro racing advice is to have fun and don't take yourself too seriously. The most fun enduro race I've had the fortune be a part from the beginning happens to be our local one here in Roswell Georgia known as the Big Creek Quick 6. It's been going on since '13 and despite being cancelled in '20 due to the plague is back on this year. It's called the Quick Six as all of the six stages are very short averaging around 3 minutes each. The transitions are short as well and it's a party and very inclusive atmosphere. This year they sold out all 200 entries in 4 days. The group/promoters/sponsors/volunteers all keep it fun and tons of spectators come out to cheer and heckle. All proceeds go to the local IMBA group for trail work too. Fun IMHO is the key.
  • 4 1
 First race? Try to come in mid pack by riding not at %100, you'd be surprised at the result.
  • 2 0
 Nice. Yeah, the old 'Try 10% and go 10% faster. '
  • 3 0
 Nice. Yeah, the old 'Try 10% less and go 10% faster. '
  • 4 0
 1: Pull up
  • 1 0
 If you only get one practice run, how do you get to try all the lines in your tip? Are you allowed to stop and hike sections?
  • 2 0
 Depends on the format of the race, but usually you can hike sections and try again.
Also depends on the length and type of the stages, if you have longer alpine style stages you won't remember all of the sections anyways, so you just try to ride it smooth in the race run.
This is very different from a DH style format where you basically try to have the track 100% dialled.
  • 3 1
 When is the pinkbike academy season 2 starting?
  • 1 0
 Transfer stages are not timed, but depending races you could have a limited time to do them, so you could be penalized.
  • 1 0
 True. So you do have to be a little expeditious but it's not a competitive part of the race, just something to keep things moving along briskly.
  • 1 0
 Hello, which vid should we watch that was mentioned on how to break up the track?
  • 6 4
 She’s back! Lol
  • 7 13
flag SterlingArcher (Aug 12, 2021 at 9:48) (Below Threshold)
 If you have a crush on her this isn’t the best way to express that lol but I respect your effort Beer Beer
  • 4 0
 I guess the experiment to clone Cathro failed.
  • 1 1
 I have now also seen Strava used for timing.
  • 2 3
 Add: it's really only fun for the winners.
  • 6 0
 Naw, it's a hoot just to have a reason to ride a bunch of cool trails all linked together.
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