A Beginner's Guide to Enduro Racing
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A Beginner’s Guide To Enduro Racing

So you’ve got your bike, you’re comfy cutting laps, you’ve been pondering a challenge and ready to enter your first race, but unsure where to start… Well then my friend, enduro is for you!

Enduro racing is fastly becoming one of the most popular mountain bike disciplines because of its accessibility and social aspects, while still providing the thrill of competition. Naturally, every enduro race is unique depending on the trails chosen for each stage, but all enduros include a mix of uphill and downhill with only the downhill sections being timed. It’s the perfect blend of adrenaline and chill.

But what is it exactly? Read on to learn about the why, what, and how to get started in enduro racing.

And if you already know the drill when it comes to enduro racing, go on then and enter Bike Glendhu’s POC Glenduro race on March 9th.

A beginner's guide to enduro racing at Bike Glendhu

What is Enduro Racing Exactly?

Essentially, enduro racing equates to cutting your favorite laps, but with a timing element thrown into the mix. Like we mentioned, enduro racing is unique as you’re only timed for the downhill sections of the race, giving you the opportunity to take your foot off the accelerator and reset as you climb uphill for the next stage.

Depending on the race, there’ll be a pre-set selection of downhill trails. These are called stages and usually range from 3-6 stages per race. So when you see a 4-stage enduro race advertised (like our upcoming POC Glenduro, for example), that means it includes 4 timed downhill trails and 4 non-timed ascents to the tops of them.

Keep in mind that while the uphill sections of the race aren’t being timed, there is still a time limit to complete them, meaning you can’t stop and grab a coffee between stages. Your uphill time won’t be added to your overall score, but you will need to make it to the next stage within a generous time frame.

Enduro racing is not just a grassroots affair for locals. With its popularity booming, enduro racing is now considered a world-class sport with high-profile racing like the Enduro World Series. So there’s room to progress if you’re feeling like you want to go the distance.

A beginner's guide to enduro racing at Bike Glendhu


Why is Enduro Racing The Bees Knees?

Enduro racing is popular because it reflects the natural style of mountain biking. If you cruise uphill and then speed down trails, you’re already an enduro racer! So while there are technical skills needed for downhill mountain biking, and of course the endurance necessary to handle the uphill too: it’s safe to say that anyone with a bike and some stamina can have a decent bash at an enduro.

A beginner's guide to enduro racing at Bike Glendhu


What Type of Bike Do You Need?

As enduro racing includes technical downhill terrain, it’s best to bring a full-suspension bike, especially if you want to ride competitively. That said, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing your hard-tail or lightweight cross-country bike if you’re feeling that way inclined, but it’ll be a challenging bumpy ride on the way down.

Choose your own adventure, but we do recommend a bike that is designed for downhill mountain terrain.



Mountain Biking Gear & Safety Must-Haves

As enduro races are timed and competitive, there can be an added risk as people tend to push themselves into new comfort zones. Standard protection gear is recommended such as knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet, and goggles. POC has a range of helmets and body armor that are designed for safety as well as comfort, we recommend giving their range a browse!


Some Quick Tips To Nail Your First Enduro:

Choose wisely: Every enduro race is unique and depends largely on the terrain as to how advanced the skill level required is. At Bike Glendhu we host our annual signature enduro race, the POC Glenduro. This race has 4- and 5-stage options and there is no cutoff on the climbs. The 4-stage race is mostly intermediate, predominantly featuring blue trails. The 5-stage race is more technical with some black trails thrown in. Most bike parks that host enduro events will have similar options. Choose a race that challenges you, but won’t push you past your limits.

Trailside touch-ups: Let your inner bike mechanic shine and come prepared with the know-how when it comes trail-side fixes, should anything unexpected happen. Check out our mechanical tips reel to give you an idea of what you need to include in your DIY kit.

Have a bloody good time: That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day! Enduro racing is a great social race as you race downhill and then climb up together. There’s nothing better than team spirit so, come one, come all we say.

Prep for performance: You’ll need to bring a trusty backpack or hippack with supplies to help with your endurance game. Water is the obvious go-to, we’d also recommend some hearty snacks to keep fueling the tank. Don’t forget layers so that you’re weather-ready and some sunscreen to slip, slop, and slap.

Pre-race ride: Once the race routes have been publicized, it would be of benefit to fit in a bit of pre-riding to get a lay of the land before you race it. Doing a few laps of the trails will help you become acquainted with the technical features so that you’ll be able to navigate them safely and efficiently on race day. You know what they say… Practice makes better!

Challenge, but don’t push: If you’re too far out of your comfort zone, then you’re more likely to crash. It’s good to progress, but be mindful of not pushing the boat out too far. You want to send it, as well take it easy, and don’t forget to practice all of that kindness towards yourself if things don’t go to plan! For more tips on how to keep your imposter syndrome to a minimum while racing check out this blog post.

A beginner's guide to enduro racing at Bike Glendhu.


Bike Glendhu’s annual POC Glenduro on Marhc 9 hits up a range of skill levels and is open to all riders! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or it’s your first race, you’ll love this course and the event as a whole. Located in Wanaka, at the foothills of Mount Aspiring National Park: what better location to get stuck in and have a go at your first enduro! Check out POC Glenduro 2024 details and register here.