Monday, April 15, 2013

This is what you wanted. This is what you asked for.

Congratulations, mountain bike world, you got your wish. I give you: Enduro.

#SuperEnduro2013 - PRO1 Sestri Levante - Highlights from Superenduro TV on Vimeo.

The reason this video is getting passed around the internet right now is that there's a clip at 1:25 in the video where some Frenchie has to limp down the hill death gripping what's left of his handlebar about three inches from his stem, with the broken end of his carbon bar hanging by his brake and shifter lines like his hopes and dreams for a good result. I'm not an expert on the pro field in SuperEnduro events, but I'm willing to bet that 70% of your handlebar and 50% of your brakes is good enough for 0% of the result you were hoping for.

You can laugh at him. It's okay.

Mountain bike nerds the world over are mounting their internet offense, using this video as the final, penultimate proof that carbon has no place in a handlebar, or perhaps they are defending the properties of carbon and reminding us that we have no idea what happened earlier in Frenchie leDeathgrip's run. Mechanics everywhere are pointing to the break, right at his lever clamps, and cautioning the riders of the world to observe proper torque spec or buy one of those Bontrager 4mm torque tools, and yelling the battlecry of mechanics and warranty departments everywhere: "INSTALLION ERROR!!!"

But all of these people are missing the greater theme in the video. The great truth staring at us, waiting to be seen. It's like an optical illusion. You stare at the small details, lost in the image, seeing the trees instead of the forest, until you refocus your eyes, and the whole canvas becomes clear, and you wonder how you missed it in the first place:

That video sucked.

And Enduro sucks. No, not the events. I mean, maybe the events suck, but I don't know from experience. I've never done an Enduro event, and I'm sure they're super fun like everyone says. That's what I keep hearing, anyway. I'll check one out soon enough, and I'm sure I'll have a blast. But that's not the point. The point is, Enduro will never be a premier event. Ever. It will never happen. It will always be a weird sideshow, because we already have the best premier event ever in the history of sport, and all other gravity disciplines are sort of like Diet Downhill or Downhill Lite compared to the real deal. All the other events died off, because there's only one that can stand the test of time. Downhill is the real deal.

Enduro is the mid life crisis Miata-purchase of mountain biking. Downhill was everything you asked it to be; it was faithful in your requests. Badass speed? Check. Gnarly death courses? Check. Kovarik? Check. The simplest, purest format imaginable? Check. Live, free broadcasting over the web showing almost the whole track and (almost) the whole field? Check. Downhill brought you this:

It's so good, it transcends our senses. Truly, this is perfection in Form.

The courses were like death at speed, the bikes looked like fighter jets, and the riders were like gods. Downhill was everything you could want, but you weren't satisfied, were you? What more could you have asked for? What need did you seek to fulfill?

Apparently you wanted to see Euro's talk funny and wear massive backpacks as they teetered and dabbed their way down an awkward, overgrown, blind gravel/rock IMBA switchback disaster of a trail, all set to a weird Euro synth harmonica bullshit soundtrack. Throw in some awkward man thigh-exposing short-shorts and a race field rife with full faces and sunglasses, and you have a sport that can help mountain biking take huge leaps and bounds backwards, to the tune of decades.

Thank you mountain bike world for giving us Enduro. "Oh, but the events are fun." Cool.

Allow me to explain this better:

Federal agents tasked with busting counterfeiting rings don't actually study counterfeit bills. In their training, they study the real thing: they study real money, and during their training they never see a fake bill. After months of training with real currency, studying the physical bills under magnifying glasses and blown up on slide projectors for the whole class to see. They handle countless real bills, from each era and generation as the currencies have changed over time. They watch the bills being made, study the processes, and slowly they become more than experts. The bills become almost a part of them, and they know the currency by feel, by sight, even by smell. 

"Touch, tilt, look at, look through" are the steps one uses in even a brief inspection of a dollar bill, and even a brief inspection can reveal great discoveries about the money in question. The federal counterfeiting agents study the real thing until it is engrained in their mind, knowing every distinct feature, the bend of the crisp, fresh cotton, intimately familiar with the texture and colors and the intricacies that make the bill what it is. After months of training with real money, they can spot a fake immediately. They don't need to study fake currency to identify it, they know what the real thing is, and the fake just cannot measure up.

What I'm trying to say is that I've watched downhill for ten years and compared to that this new Enduro fad is horseshit.


DCamp said...

Miatas are super fun.

Watching that enduro video was not.

PRKT said...

DC is having his midlife crisis.

Acadian said...

If that dude was French, he still would have podiumed - even with half a handlebar.

Angry Italians can't control their gripping powar!

downhilla4life said...

this should be your next pb article

ripdogg1 said...

I saw you at the CCMTB enduro last year. You won.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Enduro sucks compared to DH...because anxiously awaiting your one 4 minute run for the day while you stand around for hours is so much more fun than racing and riding your bike all day long. Paul Lacava will be anxiously awaiting to destroy you shall you enter the enduro arena...

Art said...

Lol who is Paul Lacava.. My point exactly, enduro is exactly what Chaz has said above, something for people who's balls are beginning to shrivel up to do on the weekend while drinking beer and still calling it a type of gravity race, yeah I'm sure it's fun, to each his own, it just blows my mind that people think its going to take over dh.. Unless we all grow vaginas and start playing with barbies I don't think it's going to happen...