My name is Simon and I practice the motorsport Enduro, which is an off-road long-distance discipline in motorcycle racing. The races usually extend over several days, over long distances every day, and through rugged mountain terrain with as many obstacles as possible. Obstacles are usually mountains with rocks, muddy slopes, over and through rivers, gorges, tribes and dense forests.
Enduro is designed so that the riders are pressed to the max and tested on all parameters; driving technique, endurance, strength, discipline and planning - this means that only a certain percentage of them crosses the finish line on the last day and complete the race. It is ridden on motorcycles that are similar to motocross machines - but are designed to be better suited for technical driving rather than momentum. They have lower gearing, heavy suspension and tires that grips onto rocks and slippery roots in rain or scorching sun.
The element of adventure, to be pushed far out of my comfort zone and get to test my limits, combined with the very special feeling you get from almost melting together with a powerful motorcycle at both high and low speeds, while moving through stunningly beautiful and brutal landscapes far from residential, is something that caught my interest from the start. It is ultimately a test of your willpower, whether you manage to clench your jaw even when you are wet, cold and your body is drained from energy after days and hours of hardship.
Even though it is an individual sport, where you compete alone against the other riders, you often help if you meet another rider who needs it or are helped if you yourself meet a challenge that seems insurmountable - so there is a lot of sense of community as well. For most riders it provides friendships across national borders. It is a sport that allows you to see parts of the world and landscapes that you would otherwise never see. For my part, I have had the pleasure of racing in e.g. Mexico, Morocco, Lesotho, South Africa, Turkey, Romania and several other countries with beautiful mountains.
The key to completing a race lies in good preparation. You must be in good physical shape, have many hours of training in the saddle before, and eat and drink right before and during the race. One's motorcycle must be top trimmed and set up to the challenges with as few sources of error as possible.
The same applies to the clothing you wear when driving, which in total weighs approx. 10 kg and you have to wear it for up to 10 hours in a day. In the beginning, I always wore a synthetic undershirt, but it had the effect that I was very chilled on high-speed stretches. A friend who participated in Arctic expeditions one day recommended me to try on a wool undershirt - and since I got the opportunity to run races with a merino T-shirt from LOOW, I have not looked back! The light weight, the super comfortable feeling against the skin (whether you are dry or wet), the sweat-transporting properties, and the fact that it keeps me warm or tempered when needed makes it the perfect T-shirt for my extreme sport. It also turned out to be incredibly durable and lasts for training and running for several years, which is a big plus. What is even better, it does not absorb odors from sweat, as cotton does - it makes it fresh for several days and can easily be rinsed, aerated and used again.
Right now I have the pleasure of competing in the World Championships in Hard Enduro in Serbia for the first time. There will be one race day over man-made obstacles and then three race days in the mountains of approx. 100 km. every. The weather forecast promises mixed weather with both sun and rain, low and high temperatures, so I am happy to have my merino T-shirt from LOOW in the gear bag. The whole world elite is here, and even if a hobby rider like me does not pick up any medals, I'm certain we'll all probably have a great week of running.