Designing the Red Bull Sea to Sky Tracks

Kemer (Turkey) – September 26, 2107

Red Bull Sea to Sky is “the most enjoyable Extreme Enduro race” – not only because it’s located at the Turkish Riviera in a beautiful landscape. The tracks of the Forest Race and Mountain Race are hard but ridable – all situated in an incredible terrain between the sea level at the beach and 2.365m at the Mountain Race finish on top of the Tahtali Mountain. We’ve been talking to the guys who are responsible for the tracks.

Martin Freinademetz – XVENTURE boss and the brain behind Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania), Red Bull Minas Riders (Brazil) and Red Bull Sea to Sky:

On the very day after Red Bull Sea to Sky has ended in a given year we start to analyze: Was was good, what was bad, what can we learn from the past event and what can we do to improve it. Also we think about what new areas we might want to integrate, what new stuff do we know already from previous scouting trips and how that new stuff could be matched with tracks we’ve done before. Certainly we’re trying to come up with as much new sections as possible because as a rider racing Red Bull Sea to Sky or any other race you don’t want to ride the same stuff year after year. On the other side you simply can’t find 100km of tracks that are 100% new. So we’re effectively trying to find the best compromise.

Scouting new tracks is primarily done by the Kemer Enduro Club and they are doing an outstanding job throughout the year. Once they have the ideas in place we get together, ride the tracks and do the final adjustments. We’re combining the local knowledge of the Kemer Enduro Club with XVENTURE’s expertise in creating events at the highest international standards.

You also need to make sure that at the Mountain Race you gradually increase the difficulty from start to finish: You don’t want to have a section early in the race that’s too much for the Bronze level riders, an uphill that they won’t make or which would take them too long. This is where the experience we’ve gathered at XVENTURE comes into the game – to make sure that the entire track makes sense in all aspects and to combine the sections scouted to create a track that most if not all riders will enjoy and challenge them at the same time.

Ali from the Kemer Enduro Club has been part of the team since the beginning of Red Bull Sea to Sky and he’s primarily responsible for scouting the Mountain Race track. Ali did a lot of hiking and hunting in the mountains around Kemer since his childhood and he gained enough experience to find a good balance in combining new and old tracks while making sure that the timing is right. In this region there are many old trails that the farmers used with their goats – if you know them and put a lot of efforts into cleaning the old trails from bushes and branches they make up for very cool tracks. Also a lot of the tracks we created in the past years have become hiking trails for the tourists.

We also design the tracks in a way that the riders can actually ride them – so you don’t need helpers and thus your skills and endurance will make the difference. Endurance because the technical sections are not overly difficult but we have a lot and some are quite long.

Mike Skinner heads the track management on the side of XVENTURE here at Red Bull Sea to Sky 2017 and brings a lot of experience to the game:

When we arrive here most of the work has already been done by the Kemer Enduro Club. The team here – especially Ali and Ismail – does a really good job, they do a lot of work before we come out to Kemer. The main thing we’re doing here is to get on the bikes, check the tracks and make sure we don’t find anything that could cause issues – either if it’s too hard or too dangerous. So we’re doing some quality control you could say but every year the team here is getting better. At the same time the international standards are getting higher each and every year. The riders simply expect very high standards from Red Bull Sea to Sky, Red Bull Romaniacs or any other race.

While riding the tracks I sometimes also get to find new sections myself, one of which is a section shortly before the finish of the Mountain Race. It’s widely marked so riders can pick many lines – which should also be attractive for the spectators. It will take the pro riders about 5-6 minutes to get that section done. The others might need 10 or even 20 minutes. The section called „Alcatraz“ will most likely be the toughest section this year. The Mountain Race might not be technically super difficult – we don’t want the riders to push all the time or need help – but adding all the sections up it will be really physical.

Graham Jarvis tackling the uphill at the top of the Tahtali Mountain