WTB went big last weekend (May 5 & 6) with sponsored athletes on the podiums in both Nor Cal and France! Team WTB’s Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler took first and third, respectively, at the Dirty Sanchez Enduro race, an invitation-only event that was held in an undisclosed California location.
“We’re starting to see a lot of ‘invitational’ enduros over here,” Moeschler explained. “It’s an indication that US promoters are catching on but trying to keep the events small so they can figure out the format and timing logistics.”
Some format options he’s seen include ones the rider pedals to the top and some have shuttles; some have multiple courses or some have a couple that overlap; some start in order and others start as soon as you get to the top of the course; some have five minute descents while others are 35 minutes long.
Whatever the variation, Weir and Moeschler couldn’t be happier about the increased number of their favorite events that means less traveling and better times closer to home. Weir has been traveling to France for the past 10 years to compete in the French Enduro Series. He brought Jason in 2009 & 2010 to compete in Vars and Valloire. This is also where the Team WTB riders met up with Jerome Clementz, who was sponsored on sight! They’ve been inspired by his talent and ever since. Flashback to 2010 French Enduro Racing with Moeschler & Weir...
Meanwhile one guy who can’t get enough of the French Enduro scene is Ben Cruz, who is spending the month of May couch surfing, eating cheese and racing what he is calling “the real deal.” As he should, since Clementz had a hand in organizing the new series called the Bluegrass Enduro Tour, located in a small village called Saint Marie Aux Mines. “Very French,” Cruz laughs and explains the format for the five-stage enduro race. “We took a shuttle to high points then had to pedal to the stages. Stage One started with a 20-minute shuttle that was followed by a 20-minute climb and a 10-minute downhill race—very rad!”
Next, he explained the 30-minute climb to Stage Two for the most technically demanding course he’d ever raced on with “tight switchbacks and super high speed singletrack—also rad!” Stage Three was an hour-and-a-half liaison (or untimed climb) to the start but the 15-minute downhill was worth it. “It’s so amazing they are allowed to just rip through the woods with no trails here and call it a race. In America people would be bitching and moaning about it, but here everyone loves it.”
Stages Four and Five were on the same track with a 15-minute shuttle and 30-minute ride to the start. “It was the best track of the weekend,” he said, adding that Stage Four was a timed race and Stage Five was the kicker—a post race. He clarified that a post race is after all the previous stages and uses the rider’s accumulated time as the seating position for the start. How far off your time is from the leader’s is the interval time between riders. “I was 1 minute 15 seconds off of first,” Ben explained. “He started at 12 and I started at 12:01.15 and the first one down is the winner. It’s a battle and a half.”
Stay tuned for more enduro updates as Team WTB gets ready to take on the Oregon Enduro Series at the end of the month.