So you're thinking about trying out your first enduro? We've put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions to help calm your nerves and make race day at a TSCEC event as simple as possible. Click below for the Official TSCEC rulebook.
1. My dad and his friends used to race with computers, roll charts, and a ton of other equipment. Do I need that stuff?
No you don't! All you need to compete in your first enduro is your motorcycle, your riding gear, and a desire to push yourself. The old days of time keeping and speed averages are long gone. No longer can you get penalized for riding too fast in a section. The new form of enduro racing is known as "restart format." In a restart format style enduro, there will be designated sections of trail that vary in length (usually 3-15 miles) that riders are timed through (known as a test section). These are the sections that you want to ride as fast as you can to set the best time. After each test section, riders are given a rest period (known as free time) and ride at a relaxed pace (known as a transfer section) to the next test section. Think of it as a marathon where you are only timed on a 400m dash, a 1200m dash, and a 100m dash throughout the course of the marathon. The fun thing about this style of enduro racing is that it allows riders to rest and talk during free time sections. It's a great way to tell your riding buddies about the cliff you just climbed up!
2. How do I know if I'm on the right trail?
All TSCEC events feature trail that the host club has spent hours and hours putting together. The trail is marked with various colored pieces of ribbon that make it easy to follow even at race pace. Trails also feature various signs along the way to indicate the following things.
W - A trail sign that indicates that you have blown a corner and are headed the wrong way. The best move here is to make a quick 180 degree turn after checking to make sure that the trail is clear. Sometimes riders miss turns. It happens. One rider missing a turn and laying down tracks on the wrong trail usually makes it easy for riders to make the same mistake. Be sure to always look ahead and search for marking tape that indicates you are on the correct trail.
X - A sign that features an X means that there is a dangerous obstacle ahead. This could be a rutted out piece of trail from recent rain, a drop-off, ditch, road, jump, low hanging branch, etc. Sometimes a simple X does the trick and sometimes a rider may encounter multiple danger markers in one location indicating that you really should check your speed and surroundings so that you don't ride off into a hole.
Various Arrows - You are sure to encounter arrows of various colors and directions at every enduro. These arrows help mark upcoming corners so that riders are less likely to blow them. Sometimes the arrows are right on top of the turns and other times they might be thirty yards in front of the turn. It is up to the club and course workers that lay out each section how the arrowing is done, so again, look ahead to minimize the chance of missing a turn.
3. Someone just caught me. Should I race them?
Wrong. If someone has caught you from a previous row, that means that they have already made up an entire minute on you. At this point, they are much faster and the courteous and safest possible move would be to allow them to pass as quickly as possible.
4. I just caught someone. Should I make an aggressive pass?
Wrong. Although races can come down to seconds, the safest and quickest thing to do when you catch a slower rider on the course is to let them know that you are behind them. A simple holler, rev, or scream is usually enough to let the slower rider know that you need to pass. Usually they will move over as quickly as possible to let you continue blazing the trail ahead.
5. Enduro racing is just a slow trail ride isn't it?
The second word in the question above is racing, and that's exactly what happens at TSCEC events. Riders race as fast as they can in various special test sections. These test sections are sometimes linked together with single track trail that does offer riders the chance to slow down, regroup, and enjoy some of the terrain at a more relaxed pace.
6. How much does it cost to get in the gate at a TSCEC event?
It will cost you zero dollars, that's right $0, to get in the gate at a TSCEC event.
7. What should I bring to my first enduro?
We recommend bringing a positive attitude because enduro racing will challenge you. You will have a blast and we promise that over time, you will find that enduro racing makes you a much more talented and diverse rider. Along with a positive mindset, below are a few things that some of our more experienced riders like to bring with them.
A motorcycle that has hand guards
You're going to be racing on single track trail that may feature tight trees, large bushes, cactus, and other elements. Having a bike with hand guards ensures that your hands will stay safe throughout the duration of the race.
Heavy Duty tubes and/or Bib Mousses
The most frustrating thing out on the trail is a flat tire. Heavy duty tubes with sealant in them are a great way to help minimize the chance of a flat. If you want to eliminate the chance of a flat completely, look into investing in a set of bib mousses for your tires. These foam inserts work great and give you the confidence to ride over anything you might encounter on the trail.
While it may be cool to ride without a drink system to show how great of shape you are in, we highly recommend wearing a drink system at our events. You never know when your bike could break down and leave you stranded miles away from camp. We're also pretty sure that you're going to get fatigued throughout the course of an event and what better way to fight fatigue than with some H2O.
Not the one your grandmother wore at Disney Land in 1993! Various companies make tool packs that fit around the waist and allow riders to carry essential tools to encounter most problems that could occur on the trail. A pair of pliers, a few allen wrenches, a small t-handle, and an axle bolt tool can get you out of many situations.
At TSCEC events, there are usually two gas stops. If you are a short course rider that is competing in the C class, one gas can is plenty. For you long course guys in the A and B classes, bring two cans just to be safe. Usually the gas stops are close to the camping area but if they are further away, the hosting club will haul your cans to the gas stop for you. We encourage riders to put together a ziploc bag with an energy bar and some gatorade to attach to your can. You never know if your pit crew might get lost.
8. What class should I ride?
If it's your first enduro and you would consider yourself a beginner or novice, we recommend that you try out the C division and then work your way up. There are numerous classes within the C division depending on your age and displacement of your motorcycle. The following is a quick breakdown of each category.
These are the elite riders of the series. Most of them have been racing for a long time and have a great amount of knowledge when it comes to enduro racing. Ask them questions as they are all friendly and happy to help out a rider. If you ride the pro class in any local series, this is also the class that you belong in. Just because it might be your first enduro this would still be the class that we recommend competing in.
These guys are expert level riders that ride the same course as the AA riders. In some cases, an up and coming A rider may outrun some of the AA riders but that is a rare occurrence. If you ride expert in a local series or consider yourself a highly skilled intermediate rider, this is the division that we recommend you start with.
This division is still considered part of the long course (AA and A division) but sometimes a club may divert the B division around a section of trail that is designated "A only." The B division is a great place to start if you are an experienced novice rider or would consider yourself an intermediate level rider. Many times, someone new to enduro racing will tryout the B division just so that they can ride a longer course than the C division.
In most cases, riders new to the sport of enduro racing start in this division. The course is one loop shorter than what the long course divisions race on and it allows riders to perfect their enduro skills before making the jump to the long course. It's safe to say that every past TSCEC overall champion started here and it is a great place to start experiencing enduro racing for yourself!