Winners are made in winter - pre-season is fundamental to a good season, that's nothing new. After the first year of the Enduro World Series, you can literally watch the enduro community grow. As a good enduro rider, you can now make a living from your sport and pepper the winter with a number of training sessions. In addition to the pure athletic and basic training, the driving technique plays a decisive role. With Petrik Brückner, we accompanied the currently fastest German enduro pilot to his first training camp in Finale Ligure.
Finale Ligure is no longer an unknown spot on the enduro map. A few years ago, the Superenduro series laid the foundation for the discipline and shaped it in a trend-setting way. But what makes Finale so special are the many technically demanding trails and the mostly good weather.
“It's just an enduro mecca and the conditions are perfect to prepare for the new season. The focus of the first training camp was mainly on the new bike. I first had to get to know the Slide and put it through its paces. Finale is the perfect place for that.”
At the beginning of February we set out towards the Mediterranean. Although we had a very mild winter and you could get on your bike at any time, we were eager to escape from everyday life.
However, the weather was not kind to us. The Swiss mountains were covered with snow meters high and even when we crossed the Italian border, the sun we had hoped for did not appear. However, this did not detract from the atmosphere. After all, we had prepared our clothing for rainy days, just in case. After almost ten hours in the car we reached our accommodation. Directly in finals should the Residence Adelaide be our base camp and starting point for extensive tours. However, the first trip was to the beach.
The goal for the training camp was simply to cycle as much as possible. For Petrik it was also a matter of finding the right set-up. Thanks to the new bike sponsor Radon, he is riding a carbon enduro for the first time in his career.
The winter training should pay off. The first ride took us up Bric Gettina, a very popular mountain that's a bit inland and has tons of flowy trails. Already on the first uphill, Petrik pulled away. Almost 800 vertical meters in a row took their toll, at least for me. Arriving at the trailhead, Petrik put his chain right side out. It's remarkable to be able to ride demanding trails with full concentration and pressure on the pedals after such a long climb. But that is exactly what makes a good enduro rider.
With the first trail in our legs, we finally dared to tackle the routes of the Enduro World Series (EWS), which are among the absolute crème de la crème of the European enduro network. As the best German, Petrik was able to take 33rd place here last year and was only a minute away from the top 10. He now knows the trails pretty well and was able to show us one or the other exciting line. Above all, the large stone field, which received a legendary reputation last year, left room for variations. While Petrik just let his bike run and jumped right in, the rest of our group initially looked for lines that were a little easier to ride.
The sense of community is one of the nicest aspects of Enduro. “It's still the coolest thing to do a big loop with your friends. The transfers are mostly hilarious, but as soon as it goes on the trail, it's full throttle." And that's exactly how it should be in the following days. The tours became longer and we sat in the saddle for almost four hours every day. It was not uncommon for Petrik to climb another whopping 500 meters in altitude afterwards.
"It's fascinating to see how he's developed. You know him from before, from our early days, and now he earns his living by cycling and living his dream. I don't know if I could motivate myself to ride my bike for four to five hours every day to do my sessions", comments Petrik's training partner Frank Hedwig from Ilmenau on the development of the Thuringian.
Towards the end of our training camp, the sun finally dared to break through the clouds. Time to take pictures and enjoy the variety. We drove to Varigotti to do the trails here rock. The view of the Mediterranean contributed to our mood. We ended the day with a cool beer on the beach and a delicious Italian pizza.
However, the sun couldn't really share this mood with us. Already after a day said goodbye again. In the pouring rain we drove to the top of Bric Gettina. 1300 vertical meters in one go just sounded too tempting. The trail begins with a washed-out forest path and becomes more technical from curve to curve, but it doesn't lose its flow. Everywhere there are small kickers where you can pull off and get a lot of air under your wheels. Even if our pants and shoes were soaked to the last square millimeter after a few minutes, we had a lot of fun.
We used the last day on the Mediterranean to explore. As part of the camp, we had repeatedly seen new entrances to trails that were unknown to us. We wanted to take a closer look at these at the end - Enduro. In Varigotti we were rewarded for our adventurous spirit and found a very fast, flowing trail.
“That is exactly what Enduro is all about. You explore new areas and new trails on your bike and enjoy the time with your friends. That is the essence of mountain biking.”