Interview with Lars Enöckl
Lars, you won Red Bull Sea to Sky in 2016. Looking back it was your first victory at a major Hard Enduro race. Do you remember the emotions when you crossed the finish line?
The emotions right when it happens are much stronger than afterwards. There are few riders who win races and to be one of them with a win at Red Bull Sea to Sky was way cool, I enjoyed it big time! I’ve been working very hard for this moment. It’s amazing what efforts you need to put into this sport to come even close to the top riders and the chance to actually win a race. I’m also very grateful for the support of my sponsors who believed in me for a long time and taking the win in Kemer showed the sponsors that it was worthwhile!
What makes Red Bull Sea to Sky special for you?
It’s simply a perfect event. For me – not being a professional racer who needs to service his bike himself – the format of having three different races spread over three days is great – because it also leaves enough time to work on the bike and still be able to relax at the beach and regenerate for the next day. That’s why – especially as a regular rider – you can enjoy the race and not get stressed out. So the tagline „the most enjoyable Extreme Enduro race“ is actually true!
What do you think about the main event – the Mountain Race?
I like all of the three races but the Mountain Race certainly is the highlight! The higher you get the more difficult it gets and the Mountain Race is designed in a way that every rider can set his own goals and get there. If you’re an ambitioned beginner who has trained hard you will most likely reach the Bronze Finish and take away a medal. But if you’re an experienced rider with good technical skills and well trained you might also make it to the top of the Tahtali and take away a Gold medal. It might take you twice the time as the top riders but still you can make it and that’s certainly a great feeling for anyone to reach the Red Bull finish arch. It’s a totally different atmosphere if more than just 5 riders finish a race. This is where the Mountain Race does an outstanding job. The track is „ridable“ and not „pushable“. I like it much better if you can just ride the bike and not think about having enough helping hands along the track.
All top guns will be present in 2017 – how do you prepare for the race?
Not really different than last year or all other races: I train as much and as good as I can. Coming back to the place where I won last year will give me an extra kick for sure . Other than that I’m really looking forward to the race and a week at the Turkish Riviera!
Last year it was obvious that you were in an excellent shape at Red Bull Sea to Sky. Not being a professional racer: How do you get into such an excellent physical form?
In my youth I was a professional skier and learned how to train professionally. I always loved doing all kinds of sports ranging from mountain biking to skiing and I still do most of that. This for me is a very solid basis especially in regards to the endurance that is required for Extreme Enduro. Last year I broke my finger a couple of weeks before the race so I couldn’t really ride or work that much but could concentrate on the endurance.
Looking at the Mountain Race: What will be your strategy this year considering all top riders will be present?
I’ve had the opportunity to train with Letti quite a bit and learned a lot from him so I’d say I rather play it like the old hands. Billy Bolt is playing a lottery but I like it safe and continuous like I do it most of the time. I go really fast in the sections I know I’m fast and in the other sections I give my best without overpacing.
What would you recommend for ambitioned amateurs when they come to Red Bull Sea to Sky – what do they need to be aware of? How should they prepare?
I can only recommend to train hard, but enjoy the ride and make up your mind to go and race one of the big races in Extreme Enduro like Erzbergrodeo or Red Bull Sea to Sky. The atmosphere at those races is really cool and familial – you compete on the track but Extreme Enduro is like a big family.