The transition from Enduro MTB to Gravel cycling is like swapping your hiking boots for running shoes. It's a shift that demands adaptation, but it's also an exhilarating exploration into new terrains. This is my story, a tale of change, challenge, and the sheer joy of discovery.
The moment that made me consider this shift was a question that hit me after a thrilling 4-minute downhill ride, "Did I want to undergo another lengthy, strenuous uphill ride just for another quick thrill?" The answer guided me towards longer routes, less resistance, and, as I would discover, a completely different kind of freedom.
My First Gravel Rides: An Enduro Rider in Disguise
I started my gravel riding journey as an undercover enduro rider. The Troy Lee Designs helmet with a visor, the loose t-shirt, and enduro pants were my trademarks. However, as I began embracing longer routes, the nuances of gravel cycling gradually seeped in. The visor became a hindrance, replaced by a road helmet. The t-shirt that caused friction gave way to snug jerseys, and the need for comfort and aerodynamics introduced me to cycling bib shorts.
Finding Paradise on the Gravel Routes
With Gravel, you aren't restricted to specific trails; the world becomes your playground. Still, nothing beats the gravel routes in my local area, especially in the Empordà region of Girona, considered my many the gravel mecca, at least in Europe. These trails have now become my gravel paradise.
A New Kind of Strength
The most rewarding part of this transition? The surge in fitness. The endurance required for long gravel routes has made me stronger, both physically and mentally. I'm not "designed" for endurance but 100Km+ rides, which were not on my radar just 4 years ago, are more and more common.
Community and Culture in Gravel and Enduro
In terms of community, there are similar variations in both enduro and gravel. However, I noticed a touch more 'style consciousness' in the gravel community, perhaps owing to the nature of the discipline itself.
But in the end it's yourself and those you surround yourself with who determine the culture of your cycling experience.
A Piece of Advice
Would I recommend making the switch? In jest, I'd say no - we have enough gravel riders already ;-). But in truth, there's no looking back for me. The thrill of fast, flat tracks and the rhythm of group rides have woven themselves into my cycling DNA.
I changed the flow of flowing descents to the flow of fast flat and smooth riding.
As for the future, my heart is set on fast gravel. There's something undeniably satisfying about speeding along flat tracks, especially when you're part of a group sharing the workload and the adrenaline.
How do Enduro and Gravel compare in terms of physical demand?
Both are physically demanding, but in different ways. Enduro is about short bursts of intense activity, whereas gravel is about endurance and stamina.
Can one cycling discipline replace the other?
It depends on what you're seeking. For me, the transition from Enduro to Gravel offered new challenges, scenery, and a different kind of thrill. I love to own a single bike but both disciplines are compatible if you wish.
What should I keep in mind when transitioning from Enduro to Gravel?
Expect a period of adaptation, from gear changes to a shift in mentality. It's a different kind of ride, so patience and openness are key.
Ah! and do it on your own terms.
The journey from Enduro to Gravel has been a transformative one for me. It's not just about changing your bike or gear; it's about embracing a new mindset and seeing the world from a different perspective. And while there's a part of me that'll always relish the steep, challenging descents of Enduro, the call of the open, long gravel routes is an allure I can't resist.
From Enduro to Gravel, a journey of change, discovery, and newfound strength. It's been an incredible ride, and I can't wait to see where the gravel roads take me next.
Learn about road bike to gravel bike conversion