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The discipline of Enduro has sparked like wildfire; it is The New Black, it is the new “it” niche of the mountain bike industry and race scene.  While it is nothing new, the progress of the riders, courses, and bikes are a complete departure from what once was.  What was once seen as a great way to have a competitive race while riding with your friends, has morphed into something more akin to a rally race, where the timed sections are “checkers or wreckers”, and the liaison stages are a game of “how fast can I go without jeopardizing my energy levels and equipment?” It isn’t the most spectator-friendly format of race, but when it is viewable, it is quite a spectacular display of talent, skill, and race-craft.  Here at Crankworx Rotorua, the finish of Stage 7 was at the bottom of the DH course (the whole stage raced a modified version of the DH track).  The show the crowd was given was anything but disappointing.  Only 4 riders hit this 50′ jump at the bottom, three of them top WC race dudes (Sam, Mitch, Wyn), and the other was a local Queenstown guy named Jimmy Pollard.  Sam Blenkinsop went the biggest of the group though, and the crowd let him know they approved.  Though, I doubt most people realized how insane of a move it really was…In the end, I was impressed to see that the riders still seemed to be having fun despite riding 60kms, out on the trails for 7+ hours.  Interestingly, smiles and grimaces look quite similar…

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