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enduro advice


Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
This year I've been trying a few different races that are new to me. I've had excellent advice on track racing and time trialling from everyone at TCC. My next new adventure is an Enduro.

I know these events are quite popular around the Tokyo area. I've never done one before, so I'm looking for advice. Any advice much appreciated.

The race is this Tuesday (14th). 4 hours on a 2km car circuit. Each lap is half uphill, half downhill.

We'll ride individually and then pass the baton (a time chip) in the pits. Up to 3 riders are allowed but we'll have 2.

I've been told 2 or 3 laps each is best. Time is lost in the pits but if we do too long each turn, we'll burn out!

I expect it's going to be hot so I was thinking of taking a cool box with lots of bottles. We can fuel up while waiting in the pits. I think a tent would be a good idea too.

I'm a bit sronger than my partner as he has been focussing on the Fuji hill climb running event this year. Although I have a bit of jet lag and put on a few kilos back in the UK these last two weeks. Real Ale = Real Danger!

Anyway, any advice is good advice!





Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
Hope this helps...

Hey Andy,
We, TCC, did our first "Enduro" race about 6 years ago - 2006 Tokyo Enduro, and we had about 4 teams going. We basically had no idea what we were doing, and decided to do 3 laps (of the 5km course) each, and then change over.
The following year, we decided to do more laps per rider, and we found that even though a lot of us felt slower, or did in fact slow down, we actually had higher rankings than the year before - It was becoming increasingly clear that a LOT of time was being lost at each rider change-over.
All of this (gradual) knowledge came to the fore during the 2010 Tokyo Bay Enduro - We had 2 teams of only 3 riders each. And we went out for 1hr:20min each. Basically two change-overs during the race. As long as the guys in your team can handle the brutal pace right off the bat (and I'm sure they can), you shouldn't lose touch with the lead group. The teams that generally do the best are two-man teams who do 2 full hours at a time.
In the end, we came 5th & 8th, out of about 200 teams. That was one of our best combined results as a group, so far. If you can hand-pick your team, with minimal change-overs, you've got a really good chance.
Oh, and one more VERY important thing: Try to get to the front of the start-line, even if it means lining up 20~30 minutes before the race.


Maximum Pace
Sep 1, 2007
As Travis says, the key is to stay in a fast (preferably lead) group for as long as possible.

If you're looking to achieve the highest possible position (as opposed to just have fun taking turns racing round the track), send out the fastest/most experienced guy first, and make his job is to get in and stay in the lead group for as long as possible. If he's got the gas, maybe even attack and get ahead of the group before the changeover, then the 2nd guy out will have a chance to latch on. If on the other hand he drops off the back, he should pull over right away and give rider #2 a chance to get onto the lead group or at least a chasing group.

If you look at the results from enduros that combine team and solo riders, the top few positions are always occupied by the solo riders, even in the 6 hour enduros. This isn't just because one strong guy > one strong guy + slightly weaker guy, but also because the soloists don't lose time on the changeovers.

Case in point, the only solo enduro I did was a 4 hour race at Motegi where I finished 5th; 1st to 4th were all solo riders, and I think the top team was 6th or 7th. The point being that, although I was fit then, I wasn't THAT strong--my big advantage was not having a team, paradoxical as that seems.


Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
To echo Travis, you'll never make up the time lost doing changes - so do one change only. Warm up, but get rider no. 1 to the start line early so you're towards the front of the peloton when the race starts (I learnt this one the hard way two years ago!).
For the first riders stint, stick around P6 to P10, but watch for breakaways. You don't want to get stuck in the following group if the peloton splits, which they do usually. On the other hand, you don't want to be pulling the pack. Remember that some of the teams have multiple riders out on track and you don't owe them anything - let them do as much work as possible. Watch out in the first few laps especially for crashes.
I'd aim to have rider no. 1 out for about 2.5 hours. Then do your change over to rider no. 2. The shorter stint will allow him to sprint to get back near the front. Also, as the teams change over the pack may break up. But until this happens you get a good tow, so stay out. Make sure both riders have food and (especially at present) drink for the duration.
Have a plan to change over. Rider no. 1 should give rider no. 2 a few laps' notice. Be ready in the pits. Know which leg the chip is velcro'd around. If you've got anyone with you as support, have them change the chip over. Be careful in the pits as you can get DQ'ed for going too fast or recklessly.
Know the finishing arrangements. Most enduros I've raced finish on the lap leading up to the final time (i.e. as soon as the final whistle blows you get the time of your last lap). But at others (e.g. the Renault six-wheel which Naomi and I won in February), if you can get across the line before the whistle, the time for that lap will count too. Know this so you don't slow down too early!

Have fun and good luck.



Sep 2, 2009
All good technical advice.

Perhaps another thing, would be to make sure you prepare yourself mentally; when I did the Y's Road Enduro last year, the thing that really killed me was actually the monotonous nature of going round and round and round the same track, seeing the same things again and again.

Might just be me and my short attention span, but have a think about it!


Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009

As others have pointed out, the way to win these events is to do as few change over’s as possible. Each change over adds minutes to the overall time depending on the course you can waste up to 3-6 minutes changing over as some have pit lanes where you have to slow right down.

Basically the strongest rider goes out first – when I say strongest I’m not just talking power, they need to have bloody good bike handling skills. Normally someone with exceptional Criterium Race skills is a good bet as they need to navigate through 200 plus riders that are made up of fun riders, kids, Mamachari and other people that are going to be a hazard. (if it is an open race)

They are also going to need to deal with the constant ebb and flow of a fast peloton on a short technical course. That rider is going to need to be in the lead group and makes use of the drafting like any other road race. If the lead group starts to fall apart leaving only 2-3 riders then it’s safe to basically do a changeover, or stick out there with the lead rider for as long as possible – that’s the gamble as well so that rider needs to be constantly checking average lap times – if they start to drop then they need to come in and have a fresh pair of legs come do the work.

2nd rider must be a solo TT specialist - able to go out and rack up plenty of km on their own. This is essential as you will no longer be able to tell who is who and where in the ranking they are – the 2nd rider needs to go out and maintain a high pace close to the original riders pace – impossible as they will no longer be able to draft and peloton as it would have all broken up at this point.

What will happen though is groups will form of riders that are of equal ability – the rider needs to be able to find a group that can work at their pace – if not they have to drop them and keep going. Eventually riders of the same ability will latch on as you pass groups or the rider will fatigue to the point where they naturally find a group.

3rd rider is a spare man in the event of a mechanical or crash.

Anymore than 2 people change over’s and you aren't in a shot for podium.

I did the 2010 King of Endurance Solo and actually beat the 1st place team - for the simple fact that I never had to do a changeover.


Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
Thanks for all the great advice!

We really enjoyed the race and I highly recommend it - great if you want to do some beach bumming and a bit of bike racing next Obon.

The circuit was maybe unique in that it was a climb and descent. Suited perhaps to pure hillclimbers although a few teams seemed to be going well in full aero-bike / aero kit set up.

The changeovers where also quick. A time chip in a mini purse type thing. I'd ride into the pit with it between my teeth. Andrew would grab it and stuff it in his jersey pocket while riding a way.

We opted for 2 x 1 h stints each. Each lap is basically an interval. I was hitting 180HR at the top of the climb each lap so the last 15 ~ 20 mins were hard. I think 40 minute efforts would be best.

Anyway, we came 7th. If we were both on form, I'd fancy top 3.

My report:


And Andrew's report:


If anyone is interested in joining up next year, let me know.


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