Sarah Rawley, communications & PR manager of the Big Mountain Enduro, has been working in the cycling industry for the past six years. This will be her third year with Big Mountain Enduro. We were lucky enough to chat with her about the adrenaline-pumping enduro event.
The Clymb: How many locations are there for the BME?
Sarah Rawley: The 2014 Big Mountain Enduro includes four stops: Snowmass, Durango, Keystone and Moab. These four events will be included in the Overall BME Series rankings.
The Crested Butte Ultra Enduro, the first 5‑day backcountry enduro stage race in North America, is a stand alone event that will draw races to Crested Butte, which has more miles of singletrack than any other location in the U.S. Crested Butte was chosen for this reason, where riders have endless opportunities to climb up to 12,400′ for epic descents day in and day out. Crested Butte holds the longest running bike festival in the country, and legend has it, mountain biking was born here.
The Clymb: How were they chosen?
SR: Each event was chosen for terrain that challenges the rider with both fitness and skill. We wanted to provide a diverse offering of everything from high-alpine backcountry descents that take substantial pedaling to access the start of a stage, to lift-access riding at our partner resorts. We wanted to ensure the Big Mountain Enduro Series has equal days of backcountry and lift-accessed riding, but first and foremost, we sought the biggest descents in the Rocky Mountains and then partnered with resorts, cities, and towns who provide a destination location.
The Clymb: Are there any prizes or trophies?
SR: Big Mountain Enduro is excited to announce a $45K pro purse for the 2014 season, a 50 percent increase from 2013, and one of the largest in the industry. Podium prizes are recognized 5‑deep in each category, and medals are awarded 3‑deep in Amateur categories. Amateurs are vying for product packages from series’ sponsors, individually valued up to $1000.
The Clymb: If I register, what kind of riding, and for how long, should I expect from Snowmass, Durango, Moab, Keystone, and Crested Butte?
SR: Snowmass, Durango and Keystone all include two days of racing. Each day, you can expect to be on your bike three to five hours total including un-timed liaison stages. Snowmass will include a mix of lift-accessed and backcountry riding; Durango will include two days in the backcountry; Keystone offers two days of lift-accessed riding and is considered the burliest of our events; and Moab is a single day event racing down the iconic Whole Enchilada. The Crested Butte Ultra Enduro will average 20–25 miles per day with 4,000–5,000 feet of climbing/descending. You can expect to be on your bike four to six hours per day with minimal shuttling involved. The final day will take place at Evolution Bike Park. In the spirit of enduro, we will release exact course details the week leading up to each event.
The Clymb: What do you think is the most exciting part of BME?
SR: The most exciting part of Big Mountain Enduro is how each event is different from the next, and we will continue to evolve course layouts in the same locations, as well as change up venues each year. Enduro is based on racing trails, often sight unseen, and being able to react quickly and smartly. Enduro is meant to keep you on your toes, and not be able to predict what will happen. The same goes for each venue suiting different strengths of racers. You never know who is going to be on top of the podium from one weekend to the next.
The Clymb: Is it a yearlong process to prepare for the event? What are some of the steps taken?
SR: Planning, organizing and executing events can be more than a yearlong process to begin with. The permits and relationships that are the basis of each event take several months, if not a few years, to develop with land management agencies, resorts, cities, and towns. The first steps include applying for and obtaining permits and initiating dialog for formal agreements. This process entails many meetings and emails, and working together to find an environmentally and socially sustainable course that will also be exciting, challenging and the correct profile for enduro racing.
Once permits and agreements are established, we can start diving into details for on-site execution including scheduling, event headquarters, catering/entertainment, timing/operations, prizing, t‑shirts/merchandise…the list goes on and on. Behind the scenes, is always the ongoing process of sponsorship relations. At Big Mountain Enduro, we partner with leaders in the industry to bring our participants the best in support and product. We wrap up all of the details and information into the marketing of the series through social media, website and email newsletters that cycle year round. Customer service and emails are a part of the daily job, always making sure participants have all the information they need to show up and have a fun, successful race.
The Clymb: How do you register? Can the Average-Joe register or do you need to be a pro-rider?
Sarah Rawley: Participants can register by visiting www.bigmountainenduro.com/register to access all registration links and information. You go through a simple process with imATHLETE to put your event(s) in the cart, apply multi-event discounts, and checkout. We have categories for all ages and abilities from the seasoned pro to the amateur rider, looking to see what enduro is all about.