E.I.S - Enduro India Series. Possible In The Foreseeable Future?



As with most Mountain Biking races in India, the locals are the first to spin the wheel of change. With growing interest in the field of Enduro Racing, there will be a time when enduro races will be popping up everywhere across the country.


With that being said, there is an idea starting to pop up in the minds of some riders and trailblazers alike. An Idea that keeps them awake at night with the prospect of truly helping the sport from the ground up whilst leaving those same riders and trailblazers daydreaming through conference calls and Mid-Term Assignments. This can be used to a great extent to develop the sport going forward. This Idea could potentially bring much-needed progress and access to the sport country-wide or it could crash and lose all steam faster than Recco Wilson at the Les Gets DH World Cup! The Idea? A unified Enduro Race Series in India.


Let's quickly look at what a Unified Enduro Race Series would entail.

  1. Races will be held by local trail associations or similar, with a set of basic guidelines to be followed.

  2. Race times will be made into points and they will be added together from prior and future events to make a larger leaderboard and increase participation.

  3. Large and small-scale partners will get their chance to be seen by many more people.

  4. Greater reserve cash pool and allocation of funds per event.

  5. Fairly consistent rider turn-out numbers.


The Nitty Gritty

The concept of a unified race series may initially sound insane considering the lack of any formal enduro racing and to you, I say, Snap out of it Jimmy! can't you just enjoy the hypothetical presented in front of you without getting so uptight! and, Yes, you are right! Such an undertaking without a basic foundation could be self-inflicted damage waiting to boomerang and knock you in the back of the head when you least expect it. Here's the funny thing...the basic foundation EXISTS!

Well, what do I mean by that? Coming back to the first thing I wrote at the top of the post "As with most Mountain Biking races in India, the locals are the first to spin the wheel of change" this is a rather odd, yet true statement. XC and DH, both of which are recognized by the CFI (Cycling Federation of India, a body under the UCI {Union Cycliste Internationale}) didn't just pop up one day and become as widespread as it is today. Local Race Organizers (LROs) who will be willing to undertake the task of hosting Enduros will show up as the interest for such a race grows in their locale.

Now, how would such an interest come up from nowhere? There are 2 approaches; in places with low mountain bike activity like Hyderabad, a model of Inward Growth is required wherein public interest is stoked by seeing some of the best riders in the country race on their home turf whilst in a location like Shilong or Pune, which already has a growing mountain bike scene, an Outward Growth model is followed as amateur riders try to imitate the local pros and start to participate in events not only in their locality but also in other distant areas.

How Does the Enduro India Series Work?

To begin with, the primary objective of racing is to compete and win. Many participate in races for the experience, but those who race to win are whom this is primarily aimed at.

Each race will be Hosted by an LRO and will fly the banner of the Organization alongside the banner of the E.I.S. The LRO will be required to pay a license fee to the E.I.S in return for access to funds for the race which could include physical infrastructure like start tents, timing systems, etc. These funds can be used by the LRO to host the event and the profits earned by the race will be split by the LRO and E.I.S.

As with anything marketing, the brand value is the real selling point, irrespective of the product. this applies to the race series as well. The E.I.S could build a brand value large enough that automatically boosts turnout at any race with its' seal of approval. That does mean races will undergo scrutiny for approval but once it's been given, rest assured that the event is in good hands.

I can feel it too...this tingling sensation that you're feeling as you read the mess of words lying in front of you. You're itching to race to the comments and type at 250+ words per minute. Your whole body has turned red hot as you can't wait any longer. The cat sitting beside you gets up and sprints away with full knowledge of what is to come. You can't hold it in any longer, the finger scrolls to the bottom of the page and you frantically type out in the comments


"But PJ! Why would any rider be compelled to race in all the races per season? You are just a lunatic with no sense of realism in you!"

Well Jimmy, this is exactly what we will discuss next!


Who would stick till the end?

Perhaps this was the first thing you thought of as you read the title. It's a valid concern to have, especially when money is on the line, but that's exactly what it is! MONEY! Most riders can't afford to travel all year long in hopes to get a metal disk around their neck and a paper that is as useful as a Mcdonald's Receipt. Riders require money to afford travel, maintenance, training, and all basic living expenses that come with such a lifestyle.

All races will have a cash prize and points awarded at the end. This is the same model as every other race series out there, rightfully so! If it ain't broken, why change it?

Sticking with the prior proposal, the points will carry forward from race to race until they are tallied at the very end. With budgets being tight and injuries being an occupational hazard of the sport, Each rider will be required to race a minimum of 75% of the races held that year to qualify for the Annual Grand Prize. This way, riders will stay motivated year-long to travel and race in at least 75% of the races being held.



Plans for Cashflow, Who will fund?

This has been what kept me up all night for the greater part of a month, "who would fund this?"

I would be lying if I claimed to have a solid plan for this, I don't.

This is an aspect that would need to be discussed further with a whole host of other athletes to really figure out what can be done. For now, I leave this as a lingering question.



Conclusion

To say I have a fool-proof plan is to be too idealistic, however, we have a blueprint in front of us, a community to back us up, and a lot of people looking at their screens hoping to pursue the ultimate dream of racing at the world stage but lacking the race infrastructure to achieve it. It's been too long of a wait for Enduro in India, I guess it's time we lit the match!


Feel free to discuss this in the comments below!


Till the next time,

PJ OUT!

Tschuss!


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