3 Days, 11,000m Descent; 15 Epic Stages; 120+ minutes average on-stage-racing per team; 70% Natural Alpine Singletrack (30% Bike Park)...High-Fives All-Round
For much of 2020, many thought it would never happen. We'll admit, there were moments when we even doubted the possibility ourselves. But thanks to a shift of dates, a huge bunch of committed, COVID-19-hardy riders, and a passionate, never-say-die organising committee...we're buzzing to report: Les Arcs Enduro2 2020, that's a wrap! (Diesen Bericht auf Deutsch anzeigen)
- Report in German
It was a year of huge challenges for organisers and riders alike, but 28-30 August 2020, Les Arcs played host to a generous reward that was oh-so-worth-it
. In spite of a biblical deluge on Day 2 and even a Snow-Sprinkled start-line on Day 3 (What? In August?!)
, it was a case of High-Fives and good times, as a much-needed reprieve in a year of huge uncertainty.
The Original Pairs-Format Enduro race, Enduro2 was first launched in Les Arcs back in 2015 by veteran MTB-Guide Ali Jamieson (www.trailAddiction.com
) better known as creator of the Trans-Savoie Big Alpine Enduro
. Originally devised as a relaxed antidote to the EWS and other professional-rider-focused events, Enduro2 is about cramming as much Epic Alpine Singletrack as possible into one long-weekend: replacing the pressure and poker-faces of many international-level Enduro races with party-vibes, great company, and spontaneous man-hugs.
5 years on and Enduro2 is now a Global Series
, with pairs-format events in Davos, Switzerland and Nelson, New Zealand. To keep the format fresh and exciting, new locations are being scoped-out and added regularly. In spite of the travel restrictions in force, the turn-out in Les Arcs this year was impressive, with more than a dozen nationalities in attendance.
Aside from the pairs-format, Enduro2 is unique in being 90% ski-lift-accessed liaison, with the majority of stages raced on little-known, 'natural' singletrack and walking/hiking trails, with only a handful of bike-park and groomers thrown-in. Whilst the sheer size of the course, and the technical nature of the trails is often challenging, the relaxed no-pressure format results in a weekend of intense action where everyone-is-welcome, from trail-centre weekend-warrior to EWS Pro.
Want to know what we mean by 'technical singletrack'? Check out these course previews: Day 1 SP3
- Follow Cam, On-Board with the Winning TeamDay 2 SP4
- One of Enduro2's mellower, bike-park-style stagesDay 2 SP5
- The longest probably most challenging stage in Enduro2 this year.
The pairs-format, if you haven't yet tried it, is a game-changer. This is absolutely key to the buzzing "party" atmosphere of Enduro2. The rules dictate each pair must start and finish together, on all 15 stages, which are ridden blind (no course sighting or practise is allowed). There are no split or averaged times here; Enduro2 is all about teamwork, and you're in it together. It's one time per team, and the clock stops with the last rider over the finish line. Any thoughts of taking yourselves seriously go out-of-the-window as soon as you play front-row-seat to your team-mate sketching-out some seriously bad line choices, stem-surfing through an unexpected rock-garden or taking a little lie-down mid stage - but this is the very beauty of Enduro2: There's no time advantage to pushing on alone, you'll actually get a better result if you really do work together - and this means you get to share and enjoy all those hero-moments with your team-mate that are usually relegated to heroic bar-room war-stories (that if you're honest, no-one else really cares about anyway).
The relaxed format is helped by heavy use of Les Arcs' extensive ski-lift system - less than 1000m of climbing is required over the whole weekend. Its a free-order start system - just drop in to a stage when you are ready. 4- and 6-man party-trains are a regular sight, here. There are all-male, all-female, and mixed-pairs categories. Father-and-son (Age limit: 15 years) is popular, and e-bikes are also welcome.
For those struggling to find an available race-buddy, a matching service is provided. It was great to see new, random pairings form over the weekend. Where race-partners retired due to injury or mechanical failure, new teams (and new friendships) were forged spontaneously. There's even a 3-man-team category, and for 2021 a solo-category will be introduced (although apparently in order to be eligible to enter, you must first demonstrate that you can high-five yourself!).3 Full-Days of Racing are cut with break for 2-course lunch and coffee at a different mountain restaurant each day (included in the entry fee).
Congratulations go to Francois-Bailly-Maitre and Olivier Bruwiere for taking the win (93min 23sec). After a flat tyre on Day 1 Stage 1, they were playing catch up all weekend. Being no stranger to an EWS podium or battling for the win in the Trans-Provence, Bailly-Maitre's decades of race experience proved invaluable this weekend - allowing the pair to chip away at the competition with consistent results, stage after stage (in particularly challenging trail conditions). Enduro2 is 100% blind racing mostly on untamed, natural trails way outside the bike park, and this is just the environment where the Frenchman and his Belgian team-mate can really shine.
Surprise 2nd place went to Karl DaSilva (FRA) and Blaise Wall (IRL) - (98min 17sec) proving that raw skill, blind stupidity and a complete disregard for personal safety can almost close the gap on 20+ years of race experience. These two certainly came first place in the rankings for total number of epic crashes and sketchy manoeuvres, not to mention making history for striking the raddest podium celebration pose ever seen in the whole history of Enduro. But a closer analysis of their results (in-between necking pints of seriously strong Belgium Beer served up on-site at Charly's Factory Cafe) reveals that where Bailly-Maitre & Bruwiere were Ninjas of the technical singletrack; DaSilva and Wall are the Grand-Daddies of berms, tables, and bike park.
Sterling performances were put in across all other categories too, with less than two minutes separating the top-spot in the strongly contested Mixed-pairs category 1st - Ericsson/Clifford (128min 40sec), 2nd Hofmans/Peeters (130min 27sec).
A special mention goes out to Ben Moore and Valentin Anouilh who were leading after Day 1, and storming on Day 2, but were forced to pull-out after a thunderous high-speed crash on slippery cobble-stones. Its a miracle that Valentin got up and walked away...but then again, he typically enjoys Road-Gapping over the Tour de France
in his spare time. Whereas Moore is better known for crashing hard when returning from orbit
, (but loving it) in the Red Bull Urban Downhill World Champs. This story is far from over: their entry is already in the mix for Enduro2 2021.
Full Results are available via the www.Enduro2.org
website.'BUZZ OF ENDURO2' AWARD
All said and done, the race for the podium is simply not the point of Enduro2. What's way more important are good times and high fives shared with your best riding buddies.
With that in mind, Enduro2's prestigious 'Buzz of Enduro2 Award' goes to Team 90 who:
- Missed race registration on Thursday because they "lost track of time" in the bar.
- Disregarded their pairs-format registration and made a team of 3, so their riding buddy did not have to miss out.
- Were dead-last to finish, every day. We were initially very concerned for their safety - until we realised they were just stopping frequently, mid-stage, to high five, do photo-shoots and post it all to facebook!#theOnlyTIMEthatCounts #isHavingAGOODtime 'SPIRIT OF ENDURO2' AWARD
Father-and-Son team Pete & Angus Davis are clear winners of the Spirit of Enduro2 award. With a total race time of 229 minutes, they finished dead-last overall and a full 61 minutes behind the second-slowest team in their category. But, finish they did! More importantly, feedback from the marshalls out on course was that on every stage, Pete was there at every turn to patiently help his son Angus get through to the very end, un-hurt and still smiling.
Amongst all the action, record-breaking-stage-times, podium-battles, impressive tail-whips, epic-crashes, sketchy-overtaking, and endless high-fives - if there were only one story that we want Enduro2 to be known for - this one would undoubtedly be it.#TheBuzzOfAGoodRide #IsBetterWhenShared
A huge thankyou to all riders who had faith in us, overcame various barriers and made the sometimes difficult journey to join us in Les Arcs this year. Bad luck to the 100+ riders who were forced to miss out due to COVID-related travel issues, but don't worry, next year's Les Arcs Enduro2 2021will be even bigger & better - with an epic BBQ, Live music and after-party and even guaranteed* perfect weather too (!?!)Les Arcs Enduro2
returns next year Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th July 2021.
- Entry is 395 Euros per team (Full 3-day Race) including camper access to race paddock & lunchtime catering for all riders.
- 1-Day Race options on Sunday 4th July start from 79 Euros per team.
With entries limited to 150 teams (300 riders), you'll have to be quick off the mark when entries go live at the end of this year.
Sign-up to the Enduro2 Mailing List
or follow the Enduro2 Facebook Page
to be kept up to date.
---HIGH FIVE---www.Enduro2.orgCan't wait till next year for some Alpine Singletrack Action?
Ali is running guided backcountry packages in Les Arcs and the surrounding area through until the end of September 2020. trailAddiction
: You Dream it, We Ride It
Photo Credits: SCALPFOTO and Sebastien Maze