July 27-29th was the long awaited 2nd annual Enduro Stage Race at Winter Park, CO. Last year this race was the first of its kind in the USA and was met with an outstanding response. Because of its huge success last year, this year it was even bigger. Large companies such as Specialized, Shimano and SRAM and some super pros all showed up for a killer time at the first annual Colorado Freeride Festival (previously called Crankworx Colorado) at Trestle Bike Park.
If you don’t know what an “Enduro” bike race is, let me explain. It’s a new form of racing that is aimed at combing all skills of mountain biking into one event to try and find the overall best rider. This event was comprised of 5 totally different “stages,” aka races and the overall winner was determined by the racer’s combined time on all 5 stages. Also, each racer had to use one bike and was only allowed to change tires and wheels. Stages 1 and 2 were on Friday, 3 and 4 on Saturday, and 5 was on Sunday. Stage 1 started off as a 7-9 minute chainless downhill race. Stages 2-4 were similar in format but used very different tracks and ranged from 7-12 minutes. Some were faster and more aggressive, while others had an uphill or two and required more pedaling than the others. Stage 5 was a much longer and the racers had a 20 minute pedal from the chairlift up to the start of the race. This stage ranged from 20-40 minutes and definitely favored the strong pedallers.
|Eric Landis with his broken hand all wrapped up like Grandma.|
Roots riders in attendance were myself (Peter Knepper), Eric Landis, and Noah Sears. While we had a low showing of racers, tons of friends and family were there to ride and hang out. Unfortunately, I was the only racer to finish the event. Eric broke his hand in the chainless stage 1 race when he washed out in a berm and Noah had some bike problems practicing for stage 4 that prevented him from racing stage 4 or 5. While disappointed, Eric handled his injury very well because he has had an amazing streak of solid racing for a few years now with no major injuries and great results. He felt it was just his time and luckily he doesn’t have to have surgery and should be racing again in 8 weeks. Noah was really bummed about his bike, but handled it like a champ also and went to work with is camera for the remainder of the event. On Sunday, he borrowed a Transition TR250 from Sara Landis to ride just for fun and was blown away at how fun that bike was.
|Me and my magical Bandit, super tired after stage 5.|
While Noah and Eric didn’t have the race they were hoping for, Stage 1 was the best race of my life. I’m not the strongest pedaller so chainless races suit me very well. Ever since I built up my Transition Bandit, I have felt like one with it and this stage was no exception. I ended up in 5th place sandwiched between Ross Schnell and Lars Sternberg…. OMG. With a finish like this, I felt I could almost retire now (even though I won’t). However, as the stages continued and I became more and more fatigued, and the stages became longer and more pedally, I went from 5th – 16th – 17th - 23rd – 36th in the pro class. I know I need more training, and I’ll be doing everything I can to get it.
|Me off the finish line jump. Brakes were on fire after crossing that finish line.|
In short, the event was awesome, and Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park is an awesome place to ride. If you haven’t done an enduro or ridden winter park, get after it. You won’t regret either one. However, if you’re going to ride WP, get there early because daily afternoon thunderstorms can close the mountain early!
All results from the event can be found here.
Post by: Peter Knepper (Grassroots Team Rider)