The past few weeks have been full - full of racing, full of driving, full of riding and full of fun. We have already raced the first three stops of the Big Mountain Enduro and have driven over 1000 miles. We’ve tubed down the Animas, boogie boarded on the Arkansas, ridden in numerous bike parks, pump tracks, and skate parks, soaked in some very cold rivers and drunk a fair bit of Santa Fe Brewing beer. Summer is the best!
Our first stop was Snowmass for the first round of Big Mountain Enduro (BME). It was a big weekend for us: it was our first US race as a team, we had our new team kits (thanks Primal), we had just gotten Sean’s Sprinter van wrapper and we had just received our custom team pop-up tent (thanks Cadence Promotions). On top of that, I had a great weekend and finished in the top-five in four of the seven stages and seventh overall, missing the podium by less than 10 seconds after an hour of racing. Syd and Sean both had decent weekends as well, a few insignificant crashes but they finished the weekend strong.
The next day we headed to Durango for round two of the BME. Durango is one of my favorite venues. The courses are long and hard and truly backcountry. You have to carry your own food, water and repair equipment and a bad crash would result in a long rescue so it feels like a true enduro race to me. Unlike Snowmass, we arrived with enough time to pre-ride all of the courses so when the race rolled around, Syd and I were ready to go. Unfortunately Sean had crashed pre-riding in Snowmass and decided to sit out the weekend to give his back some time to heal.
Given the more pedaly nature of the courses, I chose to ride my Pivot Mach 429 Carbon (29" wheels with 100mm rear suspension, 130mm front) instead of my Mach 6 Carbon and it was the perfect bike: light, snappy and fast-rolling. The race went well for me, I won two of the four stages (the second and fourth) and finished fifth overall (my first BME podium appearance). I also learned a valuable lesson: always do your pre-race bolt check or risk having a chain-guide bolt back out on you causing you to lose two minutes fixing it. Oops. Syd also had a good weekend, finishing eighth in the pro women.
We then had a weekend off between the Durango and Keystone rounds, so after a quick visit with Osprey packs in Cortez, Colorado, we headed to Salida. We spent the week recovering, eating, celebrating the 4th of July and exploring the riding in the Salida area (if you’re ever there, make sure to check out the section of the Rainbow Trail west of the Bear Creek trailhead off of CR101). It was a great week and we headed to Keystone refreshed and ready for more racing.
It would be hard to find two more different courses than the Big Mountain Enduros in Durango and Keystone. Durango had a ton of pedaling (both during and between stages), had no lift access and required you to carry everything you needed to make it through the whole day. Keystone, on the other hand, had very little pedaling, all of the runs were lift access (with the exception of one 10-minute pedal transition) and all of the stages finished at the bottom of the mountain so you could refuel and fix any mechanical issues.
For the most part, things went smoothly for Syd and I. We each had a few small mechanicals, but nothing too bad and we both finished 12th overall in the biggest Pro fields so far. Unfortunately Sean had more significant mechanicals on two of the stages, which ruined his overall time for the weekend but he still managed to beat a few people who didn’t have any mechanicals.
Now we’re in Winter Park preparing for the only Enduro World Series race on US soil this year. It’s going to be great to compete against the best of the best again and see how I stack up after another few months of training. Wish us luck!