Typically enduro style events consist of bombing down the sides of mountains and riding the ski lift up to the next start gate. Indiana has a pretty significant shortage of the aforementioned components but to create a ‘small scale’ enduro the only place that I know of that would be up to ‘snuff is Brown County State Park. The trails of BCSP are the real deal, coveted by first time riders and writers for national publications alike. Cross country races, Super- D time trials, casual ‘ride-eat-drink fests’, and the midwest women’s skills clinics are some of the events hosted at BCSP each year. And now a three race enduro series, beginning within the state park and subsequent races in the surrounding trail systems of the Columbus Youth Camp and Valley Branch Retreat.
I was very excited to be doing a different style of racing and even more ecstatic that a group of hometown friends had decided to join in. The basis of The Panting Deer enduro format was the alternating of test sections and transfer sections. At a test section you take off in heats of 2-3 riders at a specified time and sprint (primarily downhill) to the end of the test section: faster time, lower score. The transfer section is just a means for getting to the next test section. You have plenty of time to ‘report’ to the end of the transfer section, aka the start line for your next test section. Time on transfer sections does not count for anything, unless you are ‘late’ reporting to your heat’s appointed start time on the next test section. I’m not going to explain the details but the scoring is like golf, there is a ‘par’ score and the score closest to that wins! What this actually translated to: racing 6 bad ass downhill sections evenly broken up by casual group riding and socializing. It was so much fun and a race format that I would recommend to anyone, new or old to bike racing.
Aside from battling some stormy conditions during the most technical of the test sections (grrr) our whole group had a fabulous day of ‘casual racing’ complete with AMAZING food from Noodles and Company! As a first run event we expected it to be small and have some hiccups, but the organizers and volunteers impressed us with their thorough planning, in the moment flexibility, and openness to suggestions for the two upcoming enduros. At the end of the day I walked away with the women’s first place medal and a monstrous feeling of disbelief that I had beaten a woman who does 24 hour solo races and is rumored to live in BCSP itself. It was short-lived however, as the next day’s reworked and no longer rain-soaked results showed that I had come in second place… by 1 point. Alas, the magic of the day trumped my fleeting thoughts of sadness and I am left only with anticipation for the next bout on August 17th.