Fully Engaged – The New Wave of Stage Enduro / DH Events

Enduro Des Nations 

Date/Location: 23/24 July Sauze D’Oulx Italy

Price: TBC Details: TBC Description

Three enduro riders under the same national jersey who will fight for their country as a team. The E–MTN is quickly becoming the annual and global meeting for all enduro riders. Race formats might change depending on the country but the riders are the same, all looking towards a fun, physical and technical ride that is for them the spirit of mountain biking; American Super D, Italian Superenduro or French Enduro Series riders to name but a few, this will be the big enduro event of the year.

Rider’s view Rowan Sorrel

The inaugural Enduro des Nations took place on the steep grassy slopes of Les Deux Alps, the premise was simple; riders enter in country teams of three riders to pitch themselves head to head over the 10 time–trial gravity enduro stages. The final eleventh stage takes the form of a mass start event amongst all the country teams, with the winning team the ones with the lowest cumulative time between all riders from all runs; so any big crashes or mechanicals in a team can put them out of the running.

Now in its fourth year the event has built momentum and after three years being hosted in France moves over the Italian border to the excellent resort of Sauze D’Oulx. You couldn’t pick a better venue for gravity enduro than Sauze; the trails are excellent there, a good balance between trail and downhill and while it doesn’t have a huge vertical drop it will make for some great racing. The Des Nations event shares the calendar with an open entry solo event so anyone wanting to take on the courses and enjoy the events whilst pitting themselves head to head with the likes of Absalon, Clementz, Douscende and Andre can do so.

You really would struggle to find a better bike event to travel to in the Alps to take part in this summer. The buzz of riding all the trails blind is something unique to these events (you may walk the routes but not practice them, but you’d have to be determined to walk the four to five courses, all of which are 10–20 minutes long on a bike). Combine that with the sheer amount of riding that you can do over two days. On the Saturday the race runs are shorter and more downhill orientated, around 8–15 minutes depending on the route and venue. Then Sunday is more physical, weighted more to enduro with runs nearer 20 minutes. Over 11 runs you can be looking at anything between 2–2 ½ hours of racing time.

France have had a stranglehold on the event from year one with strong teams, last year they took first, second and third placed team, so perhaps this year will see a few British teams or even better an Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English team all in the mix.

French Enduro Cup

Locations/Dates: Les Gets 18/19 June/Val D’Allos 25/26 June/Valloire 30/31 July

Price: €50

Surprisingly little is know of the Tribe–sports events here in UK (although that should now have changed with the invitational Cabo Verde event), but they have been running for seven seasons and this year will be officially known as the ‘French Enduro Cup’ and validated by the French Federation (FFC). Tribe will be running two styles of event: the Enduro series and the All–Mountain series (see below). The main difference being one has lifts to the top and the other does not; the Enduro series are in the Alps so they use lifts whilst the All–mountain series are in medium sized mountains so riders pedal to reach the time trial sections.


The French Enduro Cup timed descents will range from 8 to 20 minutes with ten descents cumulated over the weekend to find the winner – that’s 10,000ft of descending.

This year the French enduro series opens in Les Gets, Fabien Barel head to head with Cannondale’s Jerome Clementz, not one to shy away from such confrontation and winner of the Enduro competition in 2010, as well as the Megavalanche. It should be special.

French All–Mountain series

Locations/Dates: ‘Warm Up’ Lorgues 10th April/Joucas 14/15 May/ Hautes Vosges 4/5 June/Portes Du Mercantour 3/4 Sept

Price: Warm Up €29, Others €35 Description

Based in lower mountain with ascents under your own power the All–Mountain series features 6 to 10 minute timed descents with up to 10 timed runs cumulated for the final result.

Lourges could be a perfect start to the season in the sunny hills between Toulon and Nice. Tribe’s all–mountain series looks set to be the series that might not be as affected by weather as its Enduro and Alpine based team mate. Well worth a look for those not shy of the climbs in cool, but hot, places.

Trans Provence

Date: 24 Sept/6 October

Price: €1295 all-inclusive

“The world’s first and only Gravity Enduro event set to a week–long, point–to–point wilderness itinerary”


A seven day singletrack biased, gravity enduro race across the sunny Mediterranean Alps of south eastern France. The winner is the rider who finishes in Monaco having accumulated the lowest total time from the 25 predominantly singletrack and descent orientated timed ‘Special Stages’ featured along the route.

Rider’s view Rowan Sorrell

This had been organiser’s Ash and Melissa’s pipe dream for a few years prior to its realisation in 2009. Born from a passion of riding in the Mediterranean Pre Alps, they set about conceiving a multi–stage rally format race with a difference, this is one made for Dirt readers; a multi–stage gravity–enduro! There are many seven day stage races around the world, the Trans Wales, Scotland, Rockies, the Cape Epic to name but a few, but this is where the Trans Provence is different, in that the TP, the linking (or liaison) ascending stages are not timed, they can be ridden socially at your own pace, and all of the special stages (the timed stages) are all predominantly downhill with 95% on natural singletrack.

This allows for a winner who is both technically gifted and physically strong and fit, rather than the usual outcome of the fittest rider taking the title on a longer point to point. With no set times to start the special stages riders can choose when they want to start and rest before the descents, timing is controlled by chipcards and beacons at the start and end of each stage with riders collecting the results from the day’s tests in the evening.

Starting at Gap in the Hautes Alps and ending on Larvotto beach in Monte Carlo the route along its 340km’s ascends 10,000m and importantly descends 15,000m thanks to vehicle uplift at the start of each day. There are a whopping 26 special stages along the route; the rider with the lowest overall time from all 26 stages takes the win.

When you enter the Trans Provence you are buying into a logistics package that will help you make the most of your ride, whether you are there to race or to simply enjoy the trails. The team set up and break down the camp every night and you are fed three meals per day, this leaves you the rider to just focus on riding, eating and sleeping.

With entries limited to just 50 riders a year, and those spaces booking out in a matter of days, the popularity of this event is such that should you want to take up the challenge of the Trans Provence in 2012, you need to enter the very day the entries come out. The 2011 event see competitors from 16 different countries take on the route and the inclusion of a five rider pro category to battle it out over the course. Dirt magazine will be there for the Trans Provence this September, to take you through the highs and the lows of the seven days, so watch this space.


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