A Superenduro race works just like a car rally: you start from town, pedal up some hill, then ride a timed downhill(-ish) stage, pedal back up, ride another stage and so on. Your final racing time is the sum of all downhill stages, plus any eventual delay you might have accumulated on the uphills. Simple, clever and FUN!
The field in Finale was stacked with over 350 racers from all over Europe and even the US, like the Specialized MTB Product Managers crew who showed up in full force.
This was the start of the Superenduro in Finale. The beach? Right behind the square!
After a day of pre-riding the courses and tasting the local specialties, it was time to race: the first stage was a night time "prologue", a 50-second lung busting sprint through the old town of Finale, complete with WRC-style start from the stage in the main square.
Specialized's Joe Buckley overestimated the traction limits of his tyres on the italian stone pavement on the last corner
While his colleague Eric Shuda surprised everyone by winning the prologue on his SRAM 2X10 equipped Stumpjumper with 29-inch wheels!
After yet another carb-laden pasta and pizza dinner on sunday morning it was time to race! A big day on the bike was to be had, with 4 special stages over a 40km (30 miles) loop with 1400m of climbing (about 5000'). The special stages were a great mix of the terrain Finale offers, from fast flowing singletrack to tight, technical and rocky bits, all with a fair bit of pedalling in between!
SRAM's Simon in race mode. Or at least trying.
Equipment choice was crucial: too heavy, and the uphills and pedalling bits would kill you. Too light, and the rocks would eat you alive. A light, SRAM 2X10 equipped 150mm travel bike was the choice for us, with big meaty tyres and strong wheels.
SRAM's BlackBox manager Jon Cancellier full gas on the last special stage. 34th overall for him, not bad!
The race went super smooth for our whole crew, with zero mechanicals or flats, and only a few falls or close calls! In the end it was a super fun, long day on the bike with friends, with the only difference that once at the top of the hills the clock started ticking and there was a race going on!
If you want to check out the Superenduro series go to: www.superenduromtb.com
All pictures courtesy of Yoyo Marienfeld and Finale Ligure Bike Resort