As someone who’s been racing enduro for the past few years, the Tweedlove races have always been the highlight of my race calendar, with each event boasting a superb course, fantastic atmosphere, and impeccable organisation.
Which is why I feel compelled to write this letter.
On Wednesday afternoon, just over a week before Transcenduro, one of the biggest races on the UK enduro circuit, it was announced that you would be offering racers an uplift service for practice day, to “save them legs”.
Were this service were to be offered to all racers, as part of the £65 race entry that they’d already paid, this would be fantastic news. However, it transpired that this was not the case, with entrants being asked to shell out another £20 for half a day’s uplift, with a limited number of tickets going on sale within a matter of hours.
Needless to say, the tickets sold out almost straight away, and while more were made available, there are certain to be many riders who either won’t manage to get hold of an uplift ticket, or who decide that an extra £20 is just too much to pay on top of an already expensive race entry.
Personally, I won’t be buying an uplift ticket out of principal. Were it being included in everyone’s race entry, I’d be over the moon to be able to save some energy for race day, whilst also managing to practice all of the stages thoroughly. For big races, such as the Tweedlove, practicing the whole course the day before racing it can leave you feeling pretty fatigued for race day, but surely that’s part of enduro? Should those who have the form to put in a good race after practice, not be rewarded accordingly?
Sadly, this divisive rule change that’s been introduced at the eleventh hour, means that riders who can’t afford, or are unable to uplift, will be racing against riders who’ve not only done around 50% less climbing under their own steam, but have also been able to practice certain stages multiple times.
Unsurprisingly, there has been quite a backlash on social media, with many entrants expressing annoyance at the revelations, to which you responded with the following comment:
“The spirit of enduro has always been about a variety of different events and providing the best racing and riding for everyone. We have wanted to incorporate uplift for a really long time and have the chance to do so this year. Many of the EWS rounds include chair lift or vehicle uplift but not all, they are all different and they are all valid.”
Yes, certain rounds of the EWS include uplift, but this is available to all riders, and not added, at extra cost, a week before the race. It’s great that the Tweed Valley is in a position to incorporate uplift into races to emulate some of the big events overseas, but isn’t that what the ‘Transcend Epic’ race is? It’s also fantastic that the programme is inclusive, and reaches out to riders of all abilities, but again, aren’t these people catered to with the ‘Transcenduro Boost’ and ‘Enjoyro’ events?
The “spirit of enduro” is an awesome thing, but this is most certainly not in keeping with it.
Girl with a Singletrack Mind