By Kevin Rouse
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the Enduro World Series comes news of the impending California Enduro Series, slated to kick off early next year in—you guessed it—the Golden State.
Announced Wednesday, the series is set to feature four events in 2013, the dates and locations of which will be revealed in January.
Spearheaded by former professional downhill racer Evan Turpen, the series only serves to reinforce the momentum that is steadily picking up behind the enduro format in the United States.
Long a staple form of racing in Europe, and defined by races like the Mavic Trans-Provence, more and more enduro events are steadily gaining traction in the U.S.
And with events such as the Oregon Enduro Series and the Big Mountain Enduro Series (featuring events in Colorado and Utah) both celebrating hugely successful inaugural years in 2012, all evidence points towards a strong potential for a vibrant enduro scene solidifying in the U.S. in the coming years.
Turpen, executive director of the new series in California, was responsible for organizing the well received inaugural Bell Super Enduro this past year—part of the fast-growing Santa Cruz Mountain Bike Festival, and has seen, firsthand, the reaction first-time racers had to the format.
“People kept saying how it was the most fun they’d had racing—ever. [Enduro racing] is obviously something that has a bright future,” Turpen relates.
However, with the Super Enduro featuring a forest-service mandated cap of 50 riders, yet well over 150 entrants, Turpen was forced to turn most riders away.
Pair that with Turpen’s experience racing at this year’s Mavic Trans Provence and you get the impetus for his decision to form the California Enduro Series.
“Trans-Provence really opened my eyes to how rad the enduro format can be,” says Turpen.
For Turpen, the event served as a welcome contrast to most events currently being put on in America. Impressed with “the stuff they’re willing to send riders down” Turpen hopes to model the California courses “more along the lines of what they’re doing in Europe—something where you’re actually going to think about putting on kneepads.”
By Turpen’s admission, the courses will feature “great trails that are rideable and challenging for different people in different ways.” But until the announcement early next month, where these courses will be and what type of terrain they’ll end up featuring is anyone’s guess.
Just know that, according to Turpen, they’re “pretty rad locations.”