Stromlo Superflow - Gravity Enduro for All
Round three of the Fox Superflow series took place at Stromlo this weekend past. Superflow is the name that Rocky Trail Entertainment has given to their gravity enduro series, and the Stromlo event was a great example of their take on this evolving discipline.
Gravity enduro events revolve around timed descents and unlike downhill, you usually need to pedal up the hills under your own steam. As the climbs are not timed, they offer an opportunity to ride with mates at a casual and sociable pace. It’s a formula that’s proving successful around the globe but the finer details vary greatly between events.
In some cases the sport closely resembles full-on downhill; full face helmets are mandatory and the courses are steep and gnarly. In years past, some Rocky Trail gravity enduro events have been the equivalent of DH racing on regular trail bikes. While this appeals to some, it doesn’t reach out to a broad audience. With the move to the new ‘Superflow’ format, the courses have been toned down a little and it’s definitely a more relaxed take on gravity enduro racing.
We headed down to check out the trails on the Saturday and my wife came along for a pedal too. She has done plenty of marathon events over the years but never gravity enduro; the idea of racing the clock downhill has always seemed too scary. With plenty of other Rocky Trail racers scoping things out, we got a good feel for both the timed race sections and the riders in attendance. By the days end, my better half was ready to have a crack at Superflow racing. There’s no ego out on track; those taking part are regular mountain bikers and the trails are not intimidating at all.
The Superflow event took in four trails with riders pedalling around Stromlo over a three hour period. Most tackled the route with mates and rode the tracks in any order they pleased. Stage lengths ranged from around two up to ten minutes, and while there were jumps, drops and optional lines, there was nothing that would be out of place on a typical XC track.
Three of the four timed stages finished at the main event centre with the longest stage being the Fox trail; it started right at the top of Stromlo and took in Skyline and the Luge on the way back down. The Camelbak stage offered some rockier riding from Stromlo summit, with Pork Barrel and Double Dissolution and the Shimano stage followed the lower portion of the DH trail; while this included plenty of optional lines, the entire stage could be completed without your tyres leaving terra firma. With a few short uphills and a fire road sprint to the finish, the Jet Black trail had the most pedalling but it also had some tricky turns down Little Seymour and some beautiful flowing sections too. While none of the trails were intimidating, there was still plenty to think about for the faster riders, with some stages offering a myriad of line choices and opportunities to step up the challenge.
Results wise we saw a really strong showing from the Canberra locals, with many divisions taken out or heavily featuring ACT based riders — a little local knowledge goes a long way with such a broad range of trails used for the event. John Myssonski annihilated the Super Masters while Nicolas Coget and Daniel Segeri had a close tussle for the top spot in the Masters category, with Nicolas coming out on top. James Collins, another Canberra local took out the Veteran men’s and Claire Whiteman edged out Cara Paton for the top placing’s in the Elite Women’s race. ACT local Anthony Elliott paid the price for showing Blake Sutcliffe all the good lines; Blake edged Anthony out by a single second in the Elite Men’s category.
Aside from the fast paced riders and category winners, the Superflow event at Stromlo was a great example of gravity enduro racing for the masses. It’s an event that any regular mountain biker can feel comfortable at. You don’t need the VO2 max of Nino Schurter or the bike handling skills of Greg Minaar to take part. You don’t need a special bike, a full face or body armour. Most importantly, it’s very social and totally free from attitude that’s often associated with gravity racing.
If you’re curious, click here for details for round four of the Fox Superflow.