I was first introduced to the Enduro format of racing at the inaugural Moonshiner's Enduro last October. With those fond memories in mind, I quickly signed up for this year's event as soon as registration was live.
This year, the event was broadened to a mountain-bike-festival of sorts, with an XC race on Saturday, onsite camping, bike demos, and food support from local vendors.
I drove up on Saturday to meet friends for some preriding. One of our buddies, Chris, had been leading much of the new trailbuilding for the event, so he led us through some of the stages to give us a taste of what to expect on Sunday. The existing trails there are phenomenal, and the new ones perfectly matched this level of greatness. In fact, the new trails had a bit more gnar in their steepness and rocky technicality - both of which were welcomed additions.
On the day of the event, we pedaled to the top of the start as a massive group, creating a train of riders several switchbacks long. At the start, organizer Sam Lindblom gave us the pre-race essentials and let us choose our starting positions within each heat. I chose to start near the beginning of the 19+ category, a few positions behind fellow rider Charlie Snyder, who would eventually claim the W for our category.
After the start, the race feels like a big group ride with friends. After each stage, you tend to regroup with fellow racers, tell some tales of harrowing near-misses, then pedal along to the next stage together. It's this format that makes for a great day in the woods while still giving the racer the adrenaline rush of pushing it to the limit in each of six stages. I'm definitely a fan of this approach to racing, and am considering entering in some of the West Virginia Series during this upcoming season.