enduro mountain bike book

If I told you how much work goes into making one of our yearbooks, you’d never believe me. Mainly because we only ever seem to share photos of badminton, bike rides and cake eating during the weeks when our production crew gets together to put words and photos to paper.

We have a lot of fun creating these things and, without wanting to sound cheesy, we cherish the time spent as a team at the design office in Wales. Tea is gulped, food guzzled, image choice debated, loose ends tied up, music listened to, ideas shared, tangents embarked upon… et cetera. We love a good tangent, but I won’t go on about that.

Our latest baby, The World Stage 3, which chronics the entire 2019 Enduro World Series season, is launching on Monday 9 Dec 2019. We can’t wait. As with any of our books, all the fun stuff mentioned above is a small part of the process — months of work goes into each yearbook.

Our photographers, Sven Martin, Boris Beyer and Sebastian Schieck, get out there and relentlessly follow the EWS series around the world to destinations as far-reaching as Rotorua, New Zealand, Zermatt, Switzerland, and Northstar, USA. They put in the hard work gathering some of the images that will seal the year’s racing into the history book (this book).

Then, our reporters get their writing heads on and put together the detailed race-by-race roundups as well as the side features that delve into the how and why of enduro mountain bike racing. All of this needs to be commissioned, gathered up, edited, proofed and proofed again (and we still miss plenty of glaring mistakes, damn it).

The design needs a refresh every year, building on the lessons learned with each book launch. Colours are tweaked, fonts refined, layout rejigged to make something progressively more pleasing to the eye.

Images must be selected from tens of thousands supplied by Sven, Boris and Sebastian. Attempting to tell all the biggest and most interesting stories of the year while choosing the most exciting and beautiful photos can become a conundrum: Action over story? Big name or unknown shredder? Do you need the winner of each round depicted, even if they have a shot in every other race too (because they won everything — bravo Isabeau Courdurier)? You’d think so, but space is limited. There are roughly 200 image spaces in the entire book. Around 20 per event. That’s a surprisingly small space in which to tell every key detail.

Liaising with brands, printers, banks, accountants, distributors, media outlets and the public is the behind-the-scenes work that makes these things financially and logistically feasible (just about). Keeping on top of websites, social media, marketing, customer support, events, merch store and coming up with new ideas to keep the wagon rolling is all extra work.

Am I saying it is a tough job? Certainly not, but someone has to do it, and thankfully that is us.

All of this to eventually congratulate ourselves on having finished another book. The World Stage 3 is, it is probably fair to say, a thing of beauty. We can’t wait for you to see it.

Here are some photos of the highly tense, stressful and deadly serious production week.

Thanks for joining me on this tangent. World Stage 3, out Monday.

— James