In the world of enduro, with pilots trained in hard terrain and breakers, there is a competition that means hell. The Erzberg Rodeo is surely the most difficult and strenuous one-day event for those who like enduro competition. Every year (except this one, which has been suspended for reasons of force majeure) a large group of brave men gather in Austrian lands ready to defy the most hostile terrain conditions you can imagine.
This hard enduro race is normally held in late May or early June depending on the competition calendar for the current year. The place? An old open-pit mine that was used for the extraction of iron ore.
During 4 days a series of eliminatory tests are carried out, beginning with 1500 entries, to finish on the last day, in the final, with 500 participants. The route is only 35 km and the participants have to complete it in less than 4 hours. It seems easy, right?
Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Last year (edition number 25 of 2019) only 16 pilots finished in the stipulated maximum time. And they end up between 20 or 30 at the most. In addition, the atmospheric conditions of the day always add difficulties to an already very selective terrain.
In 2019, Laia Sanz debuted in this test with the intention of being the first woman to finish within the stipulated 4 hours. Unfortunately this was not the case, but she has promised to return as soon as the circuit resumes. She said the physical effort was the key to his fatigue. Hearing Laia say this, the 18-time trial and enduro champion, and one of the riders with the greatest resistance to fatigue, gives us an idea of what awaits those who decide to face this challenge.
Sections to be faced in the Erzberg Rodeo have legendary names: Three Kings, Machine, Carl’s Dinner or Dynamite. A succession of rocks, roots, mud, steep slopes. If you add to all that the weather of that day… it can be an unforgettable experience.
The most punishing section is Carl’s Dinner: rocks and more rocks of all possible sizes. A real torture for the machine and the pilot’s back. Dynamite also brings its own: rocky, steep and slippery slope, but it is the most attractive. Visually speaking, of course.
The first winner of the Erzberg Rodeo was Alfie Cox from South Africa with a KTM. In the last disputed edition (2019) the winner was Graham Jarvis from England with a Husqvarna.
Maybe you are thinking about signing up sometime. If you want to see what awaits you, watch this video, you will like it… or not.