Big Mountain Enduro Bike Race Comes to Purgatory Resort

Mountain bike enthusiasts, including professionals, will brave the high-speed trails of Purgatory Resort, Durango, Colorado during the Big Mountain Enduro on Saturday August 28 and Sunday August 29. (Christian Ridings/Purgatory Resort)

When it comes to ATV racing, the Enduro style is rapidly gaining popularity.

“Post-COVID is more relevant than ever,” said former professional mountain bike racer Chris Boice of Albuquerque, who is now a sponsor of the Big Mountain Enduro races, one of which will be held at Purgatory Resort. Saturday August 28 and Sunday. , August 29.

Always a runner who loves the thrill of descending as fast as possible, Boice now competes in events for fun.

“As a runner, it feels like home,” he said. “It’s liberating. For me, the adrenaline side went a long time ago. I raced professionally for 16 years and now racing for fun again feels like coming home. The community is a big part of it. When I’m not cycling, I feel like I’m out of shape.

At the two-day event in Durango, Colorado, riders will be transported up the mountain via chairlift on day one and then timed as they descend, doing so on several different trails throughout the day.

On day two of the backcountry ride, riders will use their own pedal power to ascend the mountain before heading out for the timed descent.

“There’s definitely an endurance aspect to it,” Boice said. “Durango is special. They have one of the best world class constituencies. It will be the best event of the year.

Hannah Russert, 26, of Albuquerque is somewhat of a newcomer to enduro racing, but values ​​it over all other types of cycling.

“You really never know what you’re going to get,” she said. “You have to be ready for long or fast downhill stages.”

Hannah Russert will race the next Big Mountain Enduro. The event will take place on Saturday August 28 and Sunday August 29 at the Purgatory Resort. (Courtesy of Hannah Russert)

A heptathlete at the University of Minnesota, Russert said she took up mountain biking there with her boyfriend.

“Once we got to New Mexico, we got into a lot more intense riding, and we joined a group of friends, and they got us in the race,” she said. . “Since then, we have been traveling for different mountain bike races. It’s a new hobby that we really got into and it’s become almost like a second job.

Russert attacked her craft the same way she did while preparing for her multi-event competitions in college.

“Right now we’re actually coached by Elevate,” she said. “We do weights two days a week, weightlifting, squats and deadlifts and upper body work, and we usually do bike workouts focused on sprint bursts and different climbing workouts. and now we will have an intense climbing day, so we can prepare for many big stages.

Although many athletes prepare for the events with similar diets, the idea is to have fun, race director Tony Wilhelms said.

A spin-off of sorts from the European Enduro motocross race, Wilhelms said the format is quite similar.

“You can hang out, hang out with your buddies and do the transitions, the transitions to get to the start of stage one,” he said. “There are multiple stages and the racing is done in those downhill stages, usually pedaling, but not as much as cross-country or traditional racing.”

The chill aspect of it all is just as important, if not more important, than the racing aspect, Wilhelms said.

“In Enduro you relax and when you get to the top of the mountain it’s time to go,” he said. “There’s a lot less stress, you’re hanging out with your friends and just hanging out at the start before you get going. There’s a lot of riding, hanging out and racing on the way down.”

And while there’s money involved, the overall experience is the payoff, Russert said.

“You definitely get that adrenaline rush,” she said. “Some of the trails, the features, they’re intimidating. I usually have to get off the bike and watch them before I just send it down the mountain. But I developed my courage a little more. I have quite a few scars to remember these ordeals and certain falls. Sometimes you just put on a little extra padding and keep trying until you get it.

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