Monday, July 28, 2014

Yellow shorts and backwards goggles

These days, mountain biking is all about Enduro, oh... oops, I mean ENDURO. It's taken me a while to fully appreciate what ENDURO is, but thanks to the internet I've been able to determine that the concept of is to ride mountain bikes whilst wearing your choice of colours shown in the ENDURO World Series logo. Riders are judged on color matching, tonal range, and juxtaposition of bicycle and clothing colour combinations. Bonus points may be awarded for wearing goggles on the back of your head, carrying a water bottle, and duct-taping tools to your bike. Simple really.

Jerome Clementz - EWS champion of ENDURO fashions
I've enjoyed observing the development of the ENDURO scene here in BC, but not felt ready to step up with my own contribution... until now. The tipping point was either getting my entry to Trans Provence accepted, or when a bike industry friend told me: "You can't mock ENDURO, it's putting food on my table". Either way, it's serious business and I'm all about serious when it comes to riding bikes.

Given that I still have a while before launching my attack on the heart of ENDURO in its spiritual home (Euro-ENDURO), I have been able to find some local events in which to establish my dominance of the middle-regions of the results sheet. First was Round 7 of the NSMBA Toonie Races last Thursday. I probably should have gone to some of the previous six, but I was too busy riding my bike. This turned out to be a lot of fun, and I got the hang of the timing system, which any experienced ENDUROist will have ridden past, crashed into, or fallen off their bike trying to operate. I'm not sure why they time the stages, I guess it's something for anyone who forgot their goggles or brought a shirt that clashes with their frame to console themselves with. In truth, it's a pretty amazing system as all the data show up on the race organizer's laptop in real time, allowing the post-race "I knew riding off the trail into that ditch was going to cost me at least two seconds" analysis to begin immediately. The first stage was an old favorite, the second fast and slippery, and the third fast and rough. Overall... a lot of fun. Results-wise, my bike was orange, so I definitely got some points there, and my socks matched my shoes.

Next up on my "race calendar" was the Sunshine Coast round of the BC Enduro Series this weekend. I like the SSC trails, and it's a bit of a fashion backwater so I thought I was in with a chance. The first day went well. I wore the same socks as Thursday (playing it safe) but took a risk on wearing a shirt with a big lightening bolt on it like David Bowie's make-up during his Aladdin Sane period. I couldn't get my goggles to stay on the back of my helmet properly, so gave up on those... it's good to have goals for the remaining season after all. Unfortunately my shirt got dirty on day one so I had to wear a blue one on day two - a disappointing tactical error. My biggest failure however was probably my bike, which was mostly grey and black. It does have some small blue and red parts, but they didn't really co-ordinate with my outfit and I don't think anyone noticed them. Really, not a satisfying performance. Just when I was feeling pretty bleak about my my fashion shortfall I found a new source of ENDURO-points! It turns out that analyzing the course with your bike computer or phone is a big part of Enduroing, so I seized some valuable post-race points by analyzing my stage times. I knew those timers had a purpose. Check out my ENDURO spreadsheet.

Time /s
Fastest Time /s
% Slower
Stage 3: New No Mods
Stage 8: 102
Stage 4: VFR and Addernack
Stage 6: Charlie Brown and Pumpkin Patch
Stage 2: Sniper and Dogtown
Stage 1: Brokebac and 4D
Stage 9: Pressure Drop into Sprokids
Stage 7: Viper
Stage 5: Built to Spill, 103, 2001, Packeko, Janet's Jungle, DNZ

Stay tuned for the next thrilling episode in my relentless pursuit of ENDURO.

Update: Photos have emerged from the Sunshine Coast, courtesy of Scott Robarts photography on Pinkbike.

Day 1: I'm giving myself a 7/10 for ENDURO here, the colour variation and intensity is good in the clothing, though the lack of bike co-ordination and perplexed expression take away from the overall look.

Here's the high point of the weekend... socks visible, plenty of colours (some of which match), you can't see my face, and it looks like I might be about to do something exciting. The black shorts are letting me down here though. I think something in mustard yellow would work well in this setting.


Day 2: Yes, I really let things slip here. The socks are about the only positive in this ensemble, I'm not making any sort of radical facial expression, and I have mud on my face. I promise to do better next time.