While some went to play in the mud at the Méga, the world’s best enduro riders weren’t too far away from L’Alpe d’Huez. Just across the border in the Upper Aosta Valley, Italy, for the fourth round of the Enduro World Series, organized by Superenduro.
We were in La Thuile, a small village of less than 800 souls, just on the other side of the Col du Petit Saint Bernard if you were in Bourg St Maurice, France. Best known for its ski area with views on the Mont Blanc, the resort has been catering to MTBers, during the summer, for a few years now.
Unusual for an Italian enduro, but quite normal for EWS, there was only two days of practice. The weather being indecisive all weekend and with having to race 3 specials per day, all but one with lift access, the choice was simple for most riders Thursday morning to go ride the 6km and 700 meters of D+ to reach the start of Sp2 while the skies were favorable. We had a few flakes over 2400 meters on Thursday afternoon, but nothing that held more than a few hours on the ground. The Sp2 was less physical and less technical than the other stages but it was quite tough after a leg-shrinking transition.
The rest of the stages were on the bike park, starting high up on the mountain and going through some good ol’ alpine loam with their fare share of roots, mud and rocks coming out of nowhere.
Sp1 and 4 were identical, with a 4km transition, but at more than 2200m high with a 10% grade and freezing temps, it hurted like hell. Especially as the stage itself was the longest and most pedally one of the weekend: 7km long with 1000m of D-. In the middle of this stage, it felt like crossing a swamp for over 400m that could easily swallow your shoes if you unfortunately. At the exit of this quagmire, you had to hammer up a 10% grade fireroad, which seemed endless but should not have been more than 200m. It is on these two parts that the race seemed to be lost or won.
Stages 3, 5 and 6 were more DH oriented with a few kick-ass climbs to max out your HR, with a sweet finish on the dual slalom at the end of each day.
To sum it up, four days of EWS with 2 days of practice and 2 days of racing hurt your shoulders and quads so bad. But as the tracks were so awesome with amazing views and food was so yummy, it was probably one of the best enduro races of the year.
I got a solid Top 20 and beat my usual competition which is a good thing but still have a lot of room for improvement, especially on the pedally parts.
Here are the full results:
Here are the datas from each stages:
– Stage 3
– Stage 6
Next Superenduro will be Sauze d’Oulx on September 6 & 7 and the next EWS for me will be in Finale Ligure on October 4 & 5.
Action photos by Matt Wragg and landscape pictures by myself.