Since 1995, the world’s best hard enduro riders have gathered in Austria for the annual . Unfortunately, the global pandemic forced organizers to cancel the event in 2020 and 2021, but that hasn’t stopped the Erzberg Rodeo fervor. KTM still released its limited 300 EXC TPI Erzbergrodeo edition earlier this year, and now, long-time sponsor Red Bull wants to show us the most notorious section of the Iron Giant.
To give the viewers a proper tour of the difficult and diverse terrain found at the event, the brand enlisted the help of Red Bull rider and 2019 World Enduro Super Series (WESS) champion Manuel Lettenbichler. With a third-place finish in 2018 and a second-place follow-up in 2019, Lettenbichler knows what it takes to put it on the podium at one of the most challenging off-road races in the world. That hard-earned knowledge comes through when the decorated rider dives into the five distinct sections that set the famous hard enduro race apart.
After the carnage of the starting gate, those that survive are immediately introduced to Wasserleitung. The steep incline and loose terrain quickly separate the pros from the amateurs, but it's just the first stage in a series of increasingly difficult tests. After surmounting the Wasserleitung, rider trudge through Ludwig’s Land, a root-riddled, mud-caked sector that usually sends contestants reaching for the pull straps.
If the mud pits don’t end your day, the boulder-strewn mountainside affectionately known as Carl’s Dinner just might eat you up. Lettenbichler jokes that, “it’s really sketchy to walk here,” which doesn’t bode well for navigating a 240-pound dirt bike through the treacherous rock fields. Lettenbichler actually forefeited the 2019 Erzbergrodeo lead to Graham Jarvis at Carl’s Dinner, so aspiring hard enduro riders should heed his warnings about the notorious section.
Next, Lettenbichler moves on to Green Hell, a recently introduced stage that he believes was “too hard” for hard enduro. Finally, the rider ends on a high note with an easy blast up the face of George Avenue. The steep incline seems formidable to most armchair riders, but Lettenbichler makes it look like a molehill. We may have missed the Erzbergrodeo the past two years due to the COVID-19 crisis, but after examining the Iron Giant’s legendary features, we can’t wait for it to be back in 2022.