What is enduro?
Enduro is mountain biking in its purest form - it combines physical climbs and difficult downhills on raw mountain trails and paths. It requires the combination of technical skills as well as endurance.
Enduro competitions resemble a true mountain bike trip - during the day you will ride around four outstanding downhill trails (so-called Special Stages), but you will have to reach them under your own steam. The racing time is measured only on the Special Stages - similar to motorsport rallies.
What is an “on-sight format”?
What sets apart the Enduro MTB Series from other enduro competitions is the on-sight format. It means that you will race Special Stages blind, without their prior knowledge. Any training on the route is strictly forbidden, and only the starting and finishing points of individual Stages are marked on the map. You get to know the track while racing!
Such racing format equalizes the chances for people who can’t afford to arrive earlier and train on the track. On-sight racing is also closer to the original idea of enduro, where the bike mastery is on par with the ability to quickly read the terrain and adjust your riding to the conditions.
How to sign up?
You can register to a race currently open at www.enduromtbseries.pl. After entering the data, you will be redirected to the Przelewy24 payment system. Posting the payment confirms your participation in the event and reserves a spot in the starting group of your choice. You better hurry! The number of entries is limited (usually 200-250 racers participate), and the purchase of a pre-sale package means a lower price.
What are “starting groups” all about?
First of all, you need to decide on your skill, fitness and experience level, so you can choose Pro or Hobby group. Those who choose Pro group will have to complete all Special Stages. Those who are just getting started with MTB, with little experience or physical fitness are welcome to join the Hobby group, that will cover one Stage less. Within the Pro/Hobby groups, registration is made to 20-person sub-groups, with assigned start times on individual Special Stages. So, before registering, it is worth agreeing with friends to which group you are signing up!
The group can be chosen freely, but remember that the first two are "pro groups", reserved for top racers. If you do not see yourself as a candidate for the podium, please choose group 3 or higher.
How much does the entry cost and what do I get for it?
It is worth registering early - then the entry fee is 120 PLN. Within few days before the competition the price rises to 160 PLN. Simply as the organizers we would like to know in advance, how many people we have to prepare for and take appropriate measures and expenses.
In the entry fee you get a number plate and the possibility to race on the marked and secured route, with electronic time measurement and medical assistance. Additionally, you will get gifts from sponsors (e.g. a drink from ..., a pack of nuts from Kresto, Nikwax washing agents, eLube greases), a recovery meal at the finish line, at least one well-stocked feeding station along the route (water, isotonic drinks, fruit, nuts, cakes) and a chance to draw cool prizes :)
What does it look like? The start
The day begins in the race office. If you were able to pick up the number plate and timing chip the evening before (which we recommend), you only have to come to the tech briefing, during which you will learn everything about the course of the competition.
After the briefing, the riders names are read in starting order (as part of their starting groups selected during registration), and set off on the route. In the starter booth you will also receive a start list for signature and a map with Stages' start/finish points and the individual start hours for your group.
What does it look like? Transfers
Departure from the start area is the beginning of the first transfer (access section a.k.a. liason stage). Their suggested course is marked on the map, so you may spend first moments analysing it. The routes are marked in the field (red arrows on a white background), but it's better to know some landmarks so you don’t miss a turn. It's also a good idea to have a local map on your phone/GPS.
On the back of the map you will also find the opening hours of Special Stages. The transfer time is not measured in any way, but you have a limited time window to deal with them. It is not very demanding and people with average fitness should do all transfers at an easy pace. However, it's best to stick with your starting group and... skip the bars on your way ;)
Important note: on the entire route of the competition - including transfer sections - a helmet fastened under the chin is mandatory!
What does it look like? Special Stages
Once you reach the Stage start, you will probably have to wait for few minutes for your turn. Use this time to warm up, put on all protectors and replenish fluids (or just the opposite...). Do not forget to turn off the suspension lockout!
At the start line, wait for the signal from the marshal - the riders start in 30-second intervals. After hearing the much-desired "3... 2... 1... GO!" try to forget about the ticking clock and ride at your own pace. A smooth and faultless ride is usually faster than a sprint finished by overshooting a corner!
Smoothness also allows you to read the route better, which in the on-sight format determines the victory or defeat. On the Stage you probably won’t get lost, but to go faster, look ahead as far as possible. Look out for signs (white arrows on a red background) and other tips for the further course of the track: tire tracks and braking trails, tapes in the depths of the forest, or competitors who preceded you.
If you manage to catch up with one of them, signal your will to overtake with a joyful and polite shout "left / right mine!" (or "I'm going to the left / right!" etc.). In polish it’s “lewa” (left) and “prawa” (right)
If you hear that behind your back, try to allow safe overtaking as soon as possible - eg. by hearing "left free!", turn to the right (!) and leave space on your left. It will cost you maybe a second, but for a faster rider it means a chance to continue fighting for top positions. It will get back to you!
Also, remember to get off the track if you have a mechanical issue - regardless of whether you are repairing it on the spot, or you continuing on foot, leave a clean line for other racers.
After finishing the Stage, all you have to do is to slap high fives and exchange remarks about the most epic sections and saves (or not ...). It is however recommended to stop a few meters further, not to block the finish line for the next competitors.
What does it look like? Decoration and afterparty
You will also have time to share the impressions after the last Stage. It's worth coming back to the competition base and eat a recovery meal, which you will receive if you have your number plate with you. Then throw it (the number plate, not the meal!) into the box, from which we will draw some nice prizes for all participants at the decoration. What happens later, you have to see for yourself! We can only suggest you don’t drive your car to the decoration ;)
How timing works?
To measure time, we use the Sport Ident system, the same as in the Enduro World Series. It uses a timing chip attached to the top tube of your frame. It works without contact - at the start and finish line just pass through the gate.
The racing time, determining your place in the competition, is the sum of all Special Stages. The transfer time between Stages is not measured.
Can I repeat the Stage?
All Stages are ridden only once and it is NOT possible to repeat them, for example in the event of a mechanical or a crash. Risk assessment - both in riding style as well as in equipment - is an inherent part of enduro!
However, there is an exception to this rule: if you have stopped to help another racer who has suffered an accident. In this situation, first aid is obligatory (!) and you will be allowed to restart the Stage if it is possible within its opening hours.
What are tracks and difficulty like?
Character and difficulty of our Special Stages is similar to the most interesting natural mountain trails, although they are usually more twisty. In particular, you need to cope with steep terrain and rocky surfaces.
If you think that a section is beyond your skill level, you can always walk it - the Stages are long and technical, so it happens often and doesn’t mean you would finish in the last place.
Apart from the steep descents, there are also sections testing racers’ fitness - they are in minority, but be prepared for several dozen seconds of uphill or traverse with strong pedalling.
Of course, your endurance also will be put to the test on the transfer sections, although the pace dictated by Stage opening hours is rather moderate. These are mostly gently sloping gravel roads.
The entire route usually consists of 4-5 Stages and, in total, is about 30-40 km long with 1200-1500 m climbing. According to your suggestions, those basic stats will be provided on the website before each race.
What bike should I have?
The regulations only require two working brakes, but of course, the best choice would be an enduro bike with about 160 mm of suspension travel. Equally good would be a lighter bike from the trail category. More and more people are also racing on e-bikes, for which we have a separate category, as well as for hardtails.
We have already seen many times that the type, quality, age and price of the bike, have very little impact on the result (and even less so on the fun of competition!).
Regardless of your bicycle type, we recommend checking the brake pads before and putting on some good, durable tires with aggressive tread, preferably set up tubeless.
What to wear?
We do not interfere with your style, we only require a hardshell helmet, which must always be on your head when riding (properly fastened under the chin), including transfers.
We suggest, however, that it is a fullface helmet. We also strongly recommend knee pads and long gloves - basically all participants have them and... use them on more than one occasion ;) Also a good idea is to have elbow pads and a back protector. Remember that feeling safer, you ride faster!
What should I pack (and how)?
Most riders use a backpack, sometimes a hip pack or... sticking the basic toolset to the bike with a tape.
Regardless of the preferred mode of transport, this toolset should make you self-sufficient throughout the day in the mountains. Tire and chain failures are the most common ones, so at minimum you should pack a spare tube, tire levers, a pump and a chain tool with a spare chain link.
On the route (usually after Stage 2) there is a feeding area, but it is worth having at least 1-2 energy bars or gels, as well as water for two Stages minimum (about 1 liter).
The last category of your luggage content is clothing - remember that in the mountains, the weather can change quickly. A lightweight rain jacket can save the day! It will also be useful to keep warm while waiting for the next Stage start.
What is the level of other racers and what's the mood?
Enduro is a participation sport, aimed at amateurs. You will not race any professionals riding for the living, which means a very relaxed atmosphere. You will ride among dozens of like-minded people, who mostly treat the race as a well-organized trip with a time measurement as a bonus.
From our experience, participation in enduro races is much less "stiff" and stressful than any other mountain biking discipline.
How to prepare?
Due to the above, the first start in enduro race does not require any special preparation. If you have read up to here, you already know everything you need.
On the route, the most useful is a general mountain biking experience and skills transferred from regular trips. Participating in Enduro MTB Series is one of the best ways to grow this experience!
And what to do directly before the race? We recommend picking up the starter pack the evening before the competition, so that you don’t need to rush while fixing the number plate and timing chip minutes before the race. It will save you more time for sleep and a good breakfast, which will translate to a good attitude and humor - this is our key to success! :)