National downhill champion Andrew Mitchell is a proponent of the new enduro-style mountain bike racing and consulted on the design of Sunday's Victoria Enduro at Hartland/Mount Work.

Enduro racing to debut at Hartland

Enduro mountain bike racing is coming to Victoria for the first time on Sunday, July 21

Enduro mountain bike racing is coming to Victoria for the first time on Sunday.

Co-orgainzed by Pro City Racing’s Scott Mitchell, the Victoria Enduro is a 15-kilometre race through the trails of Hartland/Mount Work in Saanich.

“It’s something I’ve been planning for five months,” Mitchell said. “Enduro racing is really taking off all over. It was the first year of Enduro World Series and it’s gained a ton of popularity, especially with a lot of former and current downhillers.”

Enduro is kind of a new style of racing, a blend between cross-country and downhill. What makes it different is that it’s a head-to-head competitive race with elements of an individual time trial.

“We see it as something where cyclists do the race and then come back next year to beat their own time, or to race with buddies, or maybe to beat their buddies. It’s almost in the mindset of a marathon running event, where riders are trying to finish the ride to accomplish it, not to beat the field,” Mitchell said.

The race is broken up into six stages, three transfer stages, which are not timed, and three special stages, which are timed.

Victoria company Race Day Timing is timing the race.

The starting line is to the Hartland mountain biking parking lot. Racers begin with transfer Stage 1, which they complete at their own pace, and should take between 20 to 40 minutes, with a maximum time of 60 minutes.

Once racers reach the first special stage, the race is on, and the riders are being timed until they reach the end of the first special stage. Then it’s back to a slower pace for the second transfer stage, again with a relatively relaxed maximum time limit.

Transfer stages are more cross country, and special stages are more technical, with downhill components, and demand more advanced riding.

The field will have talented riders, with world cup downhill veteran Dean Tennant. Three-time national downhill champion Andrew Mitchell had to pull out however, despite helping organize the race.

Scott is also expecting a strong Vancouver contingent of riders to attend as word has spread to the Mainland.

Enduro racing has already proved popular on the West Coast, as the five-year-old Oregon Super D (downhill) series rebranded itself as the Oregon Enduro Race Series this year and to much popularity.

“With new technology to time Enduros a lot of races are and will eliminate their super downhills and include them as part of the new enduro races,” Scott said. “Oregon Enduro has lots of sponsors and is running five events this summer with an average of 200 racers.”

In the past, Mitchell usually drew about 100 riders for the Hartland Super D races and most of those signed up the weekend of the race. But there was already 50 cyclists registered 10 days out from the Victoria Enduro, signalling a field between 100 to 150.

The Hartland Enduro course is a fairly advanced and will be a healthy challenge for an intermediate rider. Ideal bikes are duel suspension or traditional front-suspension (hard tail) cross-country mountain bikes.

The long-term plan is to make the Victoria Enduro part of a new series under the Island Cup banner with Cumberland and Parksville slated to launch enduro races later this summer.

The prize purse is $700 cash, to be distributed to the top women and men, with additional prizes for the elite riders.

Race time is 11 a.m. More info at islandcupseries.com.

sports@vicnews.com

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