Experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity over the past 12 months, Gravity Enduro has become the hottest form of mountain bike racing around the globe. With an exciting fusion that sits somewhere between downhill and XC racing, Gravity Enduro provides the perfect competitive platform for All Mountain riders who might otherwise shun away from the lycra and flat-cap crowds. And thanks to the creation of the Enduro World Series, what was initially a niche genre of the sport is now in the mainstream and quickly gaining traction in all corners of the globe, including Australia.
Given the resemblance of the name of our publication and the new race format, we’ve been keenly following the progression of the sport with coverage of events and interviews with talented riders such as local Dan Mac Munn and Josh Carlson that you can read about in Issue #25. To clear some confusion, there are actually many names for Gravity Enduro racing: Super D, Enduro, Endurance Downhill and All Mountain are all labels used by race organisers in Australia, New Zealand, the US and across the world. The origins of the sport are in Europe, where races are often held across multiple days and stages with riders scaling lift-assisted trails and descending for hours on end. Of course, we aren’t quite blessed with the elevated landscape that other parts of the world enjoys, but races such as those in the Alpine Gravity Elevation Series have seen riders enjoy extended downhill courses that usually run for 10-20 minutes in length. Pedalling is required, and so the format best suits bikes between 4-6 inches of travel with fat tyres and dropper posts, which is really what most of us ride. It’s not quite full-on DH, and it’s not flat-out XC – it sits somewhere in between and suits riders who can balance technical ability and fitness. From this perspective, the sport can quite rightly be summarised as “Gravity Endurance”, or “Gravity Enduro” for short.
Highlighting the rapid growth in Gravity Enduro racing in Oz comes this joint press release from Rocky Trail Entertainment and Alpine Gravity who have announced a national series for 2014:
Leading the charge for Gravity Enduro racing to grow and develop in Australia are two of the country’s most successful pioneers so far of the new school of mountain bike racing. Alpine Gravity and Rocky Trail Entertainment have both followed the huge growth in the sport from Europe and North America, and run their own state race series events in Victoria and New South Wales/ACT respectively, for this new style of mountain biking. They have now teamed up to lead the charge in running a professional, exciting, and truly Australian series based on the Enduro World Series, with multiple stage events and a big diversity in courses and locations.
Their vision for this true Aussie series is to incorporate local experience and know-how of both the most exciting trails and the best ways to run events in specific areas. The two companies are working with South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland to unite and summon riders across the country to races that will be part of the most professional and amazing gravity enduro mountain bike series in Australia.
The Australian Gravity Enduro Series will bring diversity, value for money and an experience aimed squarely at the most important aspect of racing, THE RIDERS. This series will give each rider a great experience at each round, focusing on great trails and lots of riding time.
“Established by riders for riders, the main focus of the new Australian Gravity Enduro Series will be on the racers and the key ingredient will be having a lot of fun on your bike”, the organisers said today. The multi stage gravity enduro format was just like riding with mates and thrashing some of the best trails in the country, with a little competitiveness thrown in for good measure, they added. Courses in the series will have a big mix requiring some fitness, technical bike skills and a sense of adventure, providing an equal chance for all types of mountain bikers including cross country riders, weekend trail riders, and downhillers.
Series dates and locations are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.