For the first time in eleven seasons Superenduro has cancelled a Round due to weather conditions. This – at least from the perspective of the competition – means that the battle has only been postponed. However, what has really not been missed is the opportunity to discover the huge potential of this amazing region, definitely endorsed by the enthusiasm of hundreds of riders that attended the event
After Saturday’s Open Practice, riders’ feedback about the Special Stages was unanimous: amazing trails in a truly unique region. With two Special Stages more than 10 minute-long, across beech trees, chestnut woods or Mediterranean scrub and with a town stage landing straight into Piazza S. Nicolò, the old town of Pietra Ligure, the first Round of Superenduro was going to be an epic race with a fiery final.
But bad weather managed to turn off the excitement of riders and organizers alike: rain, snow and, worst of all, bitter temperatures, that caused serious concerns in the rescue crew and forced the organizing committee to take the tough decision and cancel the race.
The town, in collaboration with the Municipality of Pietra Ligure, several associations, Pietra Ligure Outdoor, Visit Pietra Ligure, Sea Stone Riviera and Finale Outdoor Resort had really made their best efforts to put together a top-notch race, with a very organized and colourful paddock area next to the sea and, primarily, superb trails, proper demonstration of the variety this region can offer, just perfect for mountain-bike enduro.
From day one, the first Round of Superenduro, also valid as EWS Qualifier, pulled off amazing figures in terms of participation. 405 riders from 16 different countries were raring to set off and battle it out against the perfect backdrop of Pietra Ligure and Val Maremola. Unfortunately, on this occasion the weather has not played ball.
What the bad weather did not manage to ruin, however, has been the way the majority of the athletes welcomed the new rules for Open Practice, with all new challenges that a change like that entails.
On Friday the paddocks were still a work in progress, already bustling, though, with mechanics helping riders prep their bikes, aware that there wasn’t a lot of time to figure out the best set-up in view of race day. And on Saturday the variety of ways riders were dealing with the new format of Open Practice became clear.
There were those who kept practising, relentlessly, trying to find the right feeling with trail and bike, thus saving energy, while other riders just focussed on some passages, sectioning several times to find the quickest lines. But for all, time was simply not enough to memorize or learn the details of all Special Stages and passages.
To sum up, we are sure that the new rules will offer an increasingly exciting spectacle, at the same time topping up the fun for those in the saddle.
Being able to organize or attend an event in a region as beautiful and varied as Pietra Ligure really makes for a unique opportunity that will be seized again; that’s why this is only a ‘goodbye until next time!’
When enduro began, quite a few years ago, the opinion was that it was going to be a complete mountain-bike discipline and, for this reason, very exciting. As a matter of fact, it is not only about riders’ physical capacity: self-sufficiency is a critical part of it, too. This has always been one of the most distinguishing ingredients of the sport.
Today in Pietra Ligure this side of the sport clearly emerged, some riders were caught totally unprepared and got themselves into trouble while dealing with cold at altitude.
Since the early hours of the morning, it was clear that it was going to be a tough day, and even if nobody was really expecting so much snow, it was quite obvious that low temperatures would have been a factor to take into account.
Many riders, however, showed up at the start line with unsuitable clothing, with no backpack, in shorts and someone even in short sleeves.
Now, if light gear is great for nimble riding and helps while pedalling the transfer stages, on the other hand it is critical to consider what you are putting yourself into, especially in a region that offers more than 1,000m of altitude difference between sea level and the top of the mountains.
To date, rules do not impose a specific type of gear and maybe this is something we should start thinking about, in Italy as somewhere else. It is true, in any case, that common sense should always come first.