In addition to its French alpine birthplace, enduro racing is rolling hot and healthy across the entire European continent. Italy’s Super Enduro caters to large annual crowds of passionate racers, while events like the Trans Nomad enduro in Spain let athletes bond with one another as they sample stages over several days. The Slo Enduro adds its own flavor to the mix, with six “big league” events to complement their eight “4Fun” races. Have you ever heard someone say they “just race for fun?” That’s precisely the point.
Now in its 8th season, the team at Slo Enduro has broadened its annual series into a smattering of events across Slovenia, Croatia, and northeastern Italy. Series coordinator, Matej Okorn, says that attendance is growing every year, and part of that success is due to the “4Fun” series that allows athletes to step into the enduro format with less pressure to perform, and less demanding tracks to endure. On the flip side, the more aggressive “big league” events provide top level competition and challenging courses like those in Cerkno Bike Park, where one of the series’ events will be an EWS qualifier for 2020. Having ridden trails all across Slovenia, I can say that it’s one of the most worthwhile places to take an MTB race-cation in Europe.
To better illustrate the fun that awaits at Slo Enduro events we asked several athletes what they think of the scene and tracks, and they had some encouraging words to share.
What is your favorite thing about racing Slo Enduro?
For many years I used to race XCO. There, the contestants were much more competitive, serious. In enduro, however, it is increasingly relaxed, which I really like. Getting to know new singletracks, just the right level of competitiveness, and great company are my favorite aspects of racing at Slo Enduro.Tina Perše
The absolute best thing about racing Slo Enduro is that you spend a nice weekend with good friends. I really like the competition, but it is so great to see that no one is just focused on themselves. If you need help or something else, everyone is so kind as to help you – that’s really nice and something I appreciate. It feels like it is a big family. In addition, it is great to have so many different racing spots every year and that we have the opportunity to race in different countries (Slovenia, Italy, Croatia).Yana Dobnig
Which event on the calendar do you like most and why?
I think my favorite, besides my local Black Hole enduro, would be Slo Enduro race in Ajdovscina. Guys there are breathing for enduro and they always come up with new tracks, special vibe, and with people cheering beside the race tape. It’s also a cool place to train in winter!Vid Peršak
In the current calendar, I am looking forward to Enduro Cerkno the most, because it has always been nice and hard for me, however, my big favorite is always going to be Enduro Groznjan because of the place and the unique event center where it is held.Veronika Cseh
It’s hard to decide which race is the best, but for some years now, Enduro Kamplc (Ajdovčina), Grožnjan with neighboring Croatians, and of course Black Hole Enduro in Jamnica/Petzen, are among the best events. Black Hole Enduro Jamnica/Petzen is not on the calendar in 2020, because there will be an EWS race. My favorite is Grožnjan because the trails there are really colorful, flowy and curved, as well as the atmosphere in the middle of October is great there. Usually, we get together a few friends and spend an extended weekend from Friday to Sunday. This is usually the last race of the season, so the atmosphere is more relaxed, but if the weather is good this is the perfect end to the season.Grega Nagode
If you race other series/events, how do they compare to the level of competition and course selection at Slo Enduro?
Last year we tried some Bohemian (Czech Enduro series) races and I can tell you that races were harder for me both technically and mentally. So I think Slo Enduro races are a bit easier sometimes.Veronika Cseh
I am taking part in some EWS races, but I think the Slo Enduro events are pretty well organized. The course selection is mostly great, sometimes it could be more technical, but in general, it is great. For sure there are fewer competitors, but the level of competition is still high. The only thing I personally find a bit sad is that the amount of female competitors is not that high. In general, I think everyone takes the Slo Enduro series pretty seriously and appreciates every organization and event.Yana Dobnig
The trails in the Slo Enduro series are generally shorter, [with] 3-6 minutes per stage, more flat, flowy, and curved. In my opinion, it is great that they are easier because it also allows beginners to start competing for enduro races. In the end, the fastest will be the winner, [whether] the stage is 3 or 20 minutes long.Grega Nagode
I think Slo Enduro races are an awesome preparation for big international races like the EWS. The scene is definitely growing and it’s always so hard to beat fast local guys. The good thing is that it’s an open series so anybody can sign in which means more international fast riders, especially from Austria, are high on your heels with the speed!Vid Peršak
Do you prefer super steep and technical, or fast and flowy tracks?
Usually, I prefer technical tracks, especially when you have to find the right line and be completely concentrated. I like flowy trails as well, but when there are too many turns they are not my favorite. I am not a fan of real flow trails, maybe it is because I am not that good and fast on those trails, but I think for racing it is best to have a mixture both kinds of trails.Yana Dobnig
I love flowy tracks because you can go fast, but I´m not that fast, so at races I prefer steeper more technical parts because I think there I can be fast too and catch up my time.Matthias Lenz
That’s a hard question. To be honest I am a big fan of fast tracks, huge jumps, and a good flow. But, considering that we ride enduro bikes I prefer an old school technical and super steep stuff for racing. Personally, I think this kind of track makes a difference between good and okay riders.Vid Peršak
Do you have friends who race enduro? Who got you hooked on racing?
Of course, I have friends who race enduro, and now I know a lot of super nice people from Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, etc. This is another reason why I love this sport. My boyfriend got me hooked on this sport, or it was simply that he made a little fully bike for me? After that I started to enjoy going down with this little bike more and more and then I finally got a real enduro bike. He’s been to quite a few enduro races before, and then I went to Trieste (my first enduro race) with him and after that, I was infected. These days I’m trying to encourage more and more people into this sport because it’s a super-nice lifestyle.Veronika Cseh
For many years, I had the urge to try enduro. My friends encouraged me, but my family was a little worried. Last year I finally decided, bought a bike, and went to the first race. I am quite competitive and there was no doubt about further races. I really enjoy enduro, so the decision was right.Tina Perše
Mostly all of my bike friends are racing Slo Enduro too, and especially my best friend Cri Maierhofer who ecouraged me to do this sport in 2015. From the beginning (first race at Groznjan 2016) on I love it. I hope I can do it for the next many years!Matthias Lenz
It’s been a few years since I took my first Slo Enduro race. I think it was 2014, but my memory is faded. For my first race, I was inspired by a friend who had already competed. They say that you do not forget the first one, but I really do not remember. Probably too much beer after the race? After that first race, I have finished all Slo Enduro races until now and won the title of Superrider for the 5th consecutive year. I also inspired a couple of friends and some still ride today. With most of the competitors, we know [each other] and cycle many times together even out of season, when there are no races. Everyone is a local somewhere and is happy to show their trails.Grega Nagode
I do have a lot of friends from racing and this is one thing that is valued more than any trophy at the end of the race. It’s kind of a back page story, friends from biking brought me into racing (Slo Enduro) and now I am the one bringing in the new guys. I am stoked to see that our Slo Enduro family is growing and I will be always thankful for people organizing the series!Vid Peršak
Check out the 2020 Slo Enduro calendar for more info on their 14 exciting events.