Race Report: Hypothermia in Pietra Ligure - Superenduro 2019 Round 1

Apr 7, 2019 at 18:03
by Ben Winder  

This weekend the first round of the 2019 Superenduro unfortunately had to be cancelled. Rain had been forecast for race day, but as the clouds rolled in, it fell as snow at the top of the first stage. The cold temperatures at the top (1200m) caught some people unaware and exposed to the elements, this left a handful of people hospitalized with hypothermia. With medical staff spread thin, the decision was made to cancel the race during the first stage, just before the top 80 set off.

This was a disappointment to everyone, but the decision had been made together by the race director, race commissaries, and the rescue team, for the safety of the riders. There’s a lesson in this. We shouldn’t ever underestimate the mountains and instead, respect and learn from them.

We were still at the event all weekend, and have a non-race, race report for you.

Set on the Ligurian coast, just a stone throw for the world-renowned Finale Ligure, in the neighboring town of Pietra Ligure. It boasts the same beautiful Italian coastline, historical architecture, food, mountains and most importantly, friendly, easy-going Italians. The riding scene and quality of trails here have recently been going from strength to strength, an obvious choice for the Superenduro to host its opening round of 2019.

This weekend saw a new rule introduced to limit practice to only the Saturday before the race, which is something that appears to be welcomed by all the riders. The trails are left in better condition and it’s fairer race that keeps the cost down for the racers.

From the mountains to the sea Pietra has it all.
From sea to mountains, you can see how this beautiful area can lull you into a false sense of security.

A bike wash on the beach makes a nice change to the corner of a car park.
The beach showers here have been turned into the bike wash area.

Mechanics were working hard to get the bikes prepped.
Giancarlo from Formula was on hand to offer some support.
Giancarlo from Formula was on hand to offer some support.

After the off season it's a chance for riders to catch up with one and other. Davide Sottocornola checks in with the Lupato Brothers.

This weekend is partly shuttle assisted; this maximizes the amount of descending that can be worked into a weekend.

From sea level to 1200m, the top of stage one.

Let's get practice underway.

Stage four, was a rocky, narrow path through dense shrubbery, with a few openings and big rock slabs.

Francy Lucchini taking a tumble on one of the awkward rocky turns.

The final section of stage four races through the terraces, and a short section through the cobbled streets.

Practice day done.

Riders started from Pietra Ligure town center on Sunday morning in the rain, they rode to the shuttle pickup point which took them to the top of stage one.

As the morning went on, the rain turned to snow at the top of stage one.

As racing kicked off, it was apparent how trying the conditions were, slippery, wet and cold. Yet the trails were running fast, riders who managed to stay warm seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Stage one was 6km long and had 700m of descending, that's tough without the hindrance of bad weather.

The race was called off at this point, before any of the Elites dropped in.

Denny and Alex Lupato were already at the top of the stage and decided to ride the stage back down to town. They were a little disappointed the race had been called off, but also had the best time riding the stage in the slop.

It was a bit of a disappointing weekend for the racers, but everyone got a taste of the trails here in Pietra Ligure which has got to be on your visit list.


  • + 25
 As someone who was at the race, I am glad that the organizers made the call to cancel. Yes, I know it was disappointing to the people who traveled, to the people hoping to use this race as an EWS qualifier, to the people who were well prepared to stand around in the snow for their race start the freezing temps. The snow was not predicted, and prior to Sunday, the warmth of Spring in Ligurian Italy has been felt for weeks. It would have been easy to leave the start line in a jersey and a light jacket and think all would be well. Safety is always top of mind for race organizers, they had to make a tough decision, and I don't envy them for that. Thanks to Enrico Guala and the whole crew at Superenduro for putting so much energy into building a great series in Italy that continues to be the primer race for Italian EWS venues. I'll keep coming back, and looking forward to the next round in Punta Ala!
  • + 4
 Well I can´t agree. I would say there was plenty of riders who were ready for what mountains can bring. Safety would mean to check if the riders have proper gear and avoid those who don´t and let the racers race. Snow was not predicted? Travelling from all around the world means it takes some time to get to the race spot, how the hell you can trust the forecast for such a long period? It is mountain biking....it happens in mountains, weather can change so much in mountains...should I go more forward?
  • + 1
 @bok-CZ: I do see your point and agree on the fact that racers take into account and get informed about the conditions. At the same time the organisation crew can't take care of the riders also from the gearing point of view. I think that cancelling the race has been a good decision, even if mainly originated from people not being properly ready.
Hats off to the organisers for putting such an event together and being bold in taking a position towards safety. There is so much going on behind the scene and, in this case, it took some courage to go in the right direction.
  • + 1
 @RideOverYonder: I agree it was better to not put the race on, when they are not able to check the gear of the riders. But dude, they should be able to check if you´re wearing a helmet, backbone protector or whatever is a must in rules and not able to check you have only swim shorts and tank top? So thanks to few dumbsters who probably never been in mountains and their mommys who haven´t prepared they gear for them, the rest lost a chance for EWS quali, lost a race, spend money on a trip instead of racing. So many riders can not afford to attend as many races as they would like to and when they get on the start line, they can turn back home thanks to someone who is simply not ready to race.....

Yeah it needed some courage for the organisers and I don´t blame them, I blame those Joeys who f*cked that up.
  • + 1
 @bok-CZ: ThumbsUp! Visiting top level MTB race during bad weather forecast (only 200km away from fully operational alpine ski centers) and running around in t-shirt or jersey somehow don't fit togeather Smile Looking at maps and weather report helps Wink
  • + 8
 Meanwhile in Sweden +18C. Irony is a btch
  • + 4
 Do I see an orange Trek e-bike on 15th photo??
  • + 2
  • + 2
 E-Police are the new speed-Police
  • + 0
 @Dustfarter: what about the dream-police??!
  • + 6
 Yeah, superenduro has an e-bike category.
Fun fact: last year overall winner is racing in the e-bike class this year.
that's how big is e-mtb here.
  • - 11
flag RedRedRe (Apr 8, 2019 at 7:52) (Below Threshold)
 @Becciu: That is not something to be proud of.
Besides all the people I see riding e-bikes in italy are newbies at best – had few close calls with these jacks going uphill.
Next year with license plate, insurance and helmet will hopefully remove these people from the trails.
  • + 9
 @RedRedRe: neither proud nor ashamed.
Just a statement.
  • + 4
 @macross87: they live inside of my head.
  • + 2
 @macross87: they live inside of my head
  • - 11
flag kookseverywhere (Apr 8, 2019 at 9:48) (Below Threshold)
 e-bikes can fck right off - saw one for the first time on my local trails yesterday
  • + 3
 @RedRedRe: Where will they require license plate, insurance and helmet for eMTB's?? Do tell.
  • + 4
 So is superenduro more enduro than regular enduro?
  • + 8
 Apparently not
  • + 3
 Where does megaenduro and maxienduro fall?
  • + 7
 @MaxiEnduro is a ladies product for those active days...
  • + 1
 Anyone has a gpx file of the race To share?
  • + 1
 there's a map on official event page and a list of trails. all of them are on trailforks, so you can stitch all the bits together. i had the same question as i'm heading off to finale next week...
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