Professional mountain biker Macky Franklin celebrates after he won the Pro/ Open Men’s category at the 2015 Enduro Cup mountain bike race. [Photo courtesy of Sean Ryan]

Mountain bikers will have an opportunity to ride with professionals on Friday, May 6, in a free clinic offered by organizers of the Enduro Cup race that takes place in Moab the following day.

“Enduro” is short for “endurance downhill,” because it’s a race that times only the descents – not the pedaling in between the various drops in elevation.

Cross-country mountain bike racers are on the clock the entire time, while in downhill races, which usually involves a chairlift or shuttle, riders are timed only for the one downhill run – which is usually two to four minutes, said Macky Franklin, a winner in last year’s SCOTT Enduro Cup Presented by Vittoria. Franklin won the Pro/ Open Men category.

This year’s SCOTT Enduro race will take place at the Klondike Bluffs area, with four timed stages descending a total of about 3,000 vertical feet. Participants will compete in either the open and expert categories of 29 miles, or the amateur and junior divisions that cover 25 miles.

Enduro is popular in Europe, where the sport originated. Enduro founder Ali Goulet introduced Enduro to the United States about 10 years ago, eventually partnering with Salt Lake City-based Mountain Sports International to create the four-race Enduro Cup series.

In Moab’s race, the total descent time will amount to 19 to 25 minutes, for both the pro and expert riders, said Sara Valerious, a public relations manager with Mountain Sports International.

“We’ll add together all the descent times to define the final time,” Valerious said. “Riders will be on the course for about three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half hours.”

“If you’re new to Enduro, the SCOTT series is definitely one I recommend,” Franklin said. “It’s a nice introduction to Enduro, and it’s put on by a great group of people.”

Franklin is a 28-year-old professional mountain biker from Taos, New Mexico. He and his girlfriend Syd Schulz spend much of their time on the road riding professionally at different events. Franklin’s sponsors are Jamis Bikes and Vittoria Tires.

Franklin and Schulz have been in Moab for the past two weeks practicing, getting accustomed to the area’s slickrock in advance of the May 7 race.

“One of the things about this location, is it’s an iconic spot for mountain bikers,” Franklin said. “It’s well-known in the biking community. It’s the kind of terrain not found elsewhere in the United States. It’s a good excuse to come back.

“It’s a real mix of dirt, sand, slickrock, jumps, drops and plenty of turns.”

People who register online for the free clinic on Friday will have an opportunity to check out a portion of the race route, and practice skills with Macky,” Valerious said.

Both men- and women-specific clinics will take place at the same time, Valerious said.

The minimum age to participate in the race is 13, with a cap of about 200 riders. There are five different ride categories for both men and women: Pro/ Open, Vet Expert, Expert, Amateur, and Junior, for those under 18. Participants in the Pro/ Open division compete for first, second, third, fourth and fifth place cash prizes.

Amateur, expert and junior division riders will compete for first, second and third place prizes – SCOTT handlebars, Vittoria tires and a SCOTT digital shock pump.

People who would like to watch the event are welcome to come to the southern parking lot of the Klondike Bluffs trail system, where there will be an award ceremony after the race. Spectators can also bring their bikes to ride on the Klondike Bluffs 4 x 4 Trail, Valerious said.

Mountain bike race combines fast descents with leisurely rides

What: SCOTT Enduro Cup Presented by Vittoria

When: Saturday, May 7

Where: Klondike Bluffs area, off U.S. Highway 191 north of Moab

Cost: $105


For more information, or to register for the race or the free clinic, go to Race registration fees include an event T-shirt, lunch and libations after the race.