With the Nuggets of Gnar Northstar has to offer, it was an amazing location for the second round of the California Enduro Series' inaugural Golden Tour. Over 300 racers would navigate the network of brown powder trails crowning a winner after the two days of five or six stages (depending on their category). It was a challenging race for sure, with several categories having multiple DNF's due to mechanicals, injuries, or riders simply reaching their physical limits.
There were so many racers at the morning riders meeting we couldn't get a shot with everyone in it.
Eric Whitaker, Northstar's Competition Services Manager, addresses the racers, giving them details about rules and what to expect for the weekend. He was an amazing partner through the weeks leading up to the event. He and his team pulled off a flawless victory. We can't thank him and his team enough for making the Northstar round of the Golden Tour a huge success.
Once the meeting was wrapped up and riders headed toward the mid-mountain station, they were greeted by the all of the dedicated sponsors that helped pull the weekend off.
Clif Bar provided nutritious snacks for racers the whole weekend.
The fine folks at SRAM not only sponsor the Guide Brake giveaway but they also provided neutral tech support for the weekend.
VP Components was well represented with a booth, a couple of reps, and a few sponsored racers including Erik Saunders who raced the Expert category. In addition to the two prototype products below, they were showcasing the new version of the Harrier, used by athletes such as Sam Reynolds and CES photo team Called to Creation. Their products are always cutting edge.
We spotted a Prototype VP Components grip set. We couldn't get any info out of them, but if production happens on this model, expect to hear more about it in the very near future.
The grips weren't the only proto-product floating around from the component giant. These trail pedals were spotted on Ryan Gardner's bike. VP Components' Erik Saunders commented they were the new version of the current VX Trail pedal. No other specs were given.
Michael David Winery was a proud sponsor, providing a bottle of wine to the top podium winners.
Kamikaze Bike Games representatives were on hand to promote the final round of the Golden Tour, coming up in just two weeks at Mammoth Mountain.
An aerial shot of Junior Expert racer, Blaise Janssen, in one of the berms on stage 1.
Paul Serra wrapped up the weekend and likely the series overall with a 1st place finish in the Junior Expert category.
The Junior Expert category is so underrated. From left to right - Nick Gallizioli, Blaise Janssen and Paul Serra are all in the hunt for the overall. Nick currently leads the series, but with Serra taking the win this weekend, the final weekend in Mammoth in just two weeks will decide who takes the series top step.
Essence Barton in the loose berms on stage 1. She would finish 3rd on the weekend after two dry, dusty days of racing.
Amy Morrison, hair blowing in the wind with of the speed of her efforts, sailed to a 2nd place finish on the weekend.
Kathy Pruitt looked brilliant on every stage - finishing on the top step for the weekend.
Blake Wray lines up in the gate on stage 4, day 2.
Enduro Jesus--Marshall Eames--gives us a look back on the climb up to the top of the mountain on day 2. He's obviously having fun.
Curtis Keene poses for a quick shot before dropping in on stage 3.
Once he dropped in, Keene would put the power down on stage 3 after the V-Rock. I think I read somewhere, sticking your tongue out adds watts.
Marco Osborne, pinned on stage 5, making the chunky sections look like smooth pavement. Osborne would finish 2nd Overall.
Speaking of second place, many of you may recall that we reported in our day one recap that Tim Krentz was in second place after day 1 of the two-day Golden Tour event. Well, mechanicals do happen, and as the photo shows, he would flat and spray sealant everywhere on the rock garden on stage 5, causing him to DNF. We're not saying that had everything to do with how things panned out in the Pro Men's category, but it certainly played a role.
To add to the fun and excitement, TRP Brakes once again sponsored the Brake Zone. The TRP Brake Zone rewards the fastest male and female rider through the zone. The hottest speed of the day was a blazing fast 40.5mph clocked by Evan Geankoplis, who took 3rd in Pro Men.
After the racing action had wrapped up for the day, the festivities wrapped up on the main stage.
Evan Geankoplis chatting it up with a beer in his hand after two days of racing and a 3rd place finish he sits in 1st place in points for the Pro Category.
Derek Teel throws a quick bike shelf.
The Santa Cruz team was hanging out post race; Scott Chapin is always a stand out at any event. He brings so much fun and energy wherever he goes.
Giveaways were flying off the shelf.
Another FOX fork was given away in a raffle. FOX donates a fork to be raffled at each race in the California Enduro Series. This guy was stoked!
SRAM donated a set of Ultimate Guide Brakes for their usual raffle. We've heard that brakes are over-rated but that couldn't be further from the truth on a mountain as technical as Northstar. The truth is the play a key roll in remaining smooth to the finish line. The new guides will certainly help in achieving that goal.
KOM and QOM winners take home $100 for each male and female rider in each category. Pro KOM: Curtis Keene, Pro QOM: Amy Morrison, Expert KOM: Matt Guntert, Expert QOM: Lili Heim, Sport KOM: Mike Tomlinson, Sport QOM: Merel Witteveen, Beginner KOM: Tyler Roberts, Beginner QOM: Rachel Seymour
TRP Brake Zone Winners: Kathy Pruitt - Pro Women (37.8mph), Evan Geankoplis - Pro Men (40.5mph). Essence Barton was just 0.1mph behind Kathy at 37.7mph.
The Junior Expert Category has been close all season. 1st: Paul Serra - 43:12, 2nd: Nick Gallizioli - 43:49, 3rd: Max Sedlak - 44:40, 4th: Nicolas Bean - 44:52, 5th: Jake Yackle - 45:27
The fast ladies of the Women's Pro Podium. 1st: Kathy Pruitt - 46:47, 2nd: Amy Morrison - 47:22, 3rd: Essence Barton - 47:51, 4th: Ariana Altier - 50:10, 5th: Rachel Throop - 50:58
The Men's Pro Podium was well decorated, with riders from the EWS level, down to Local Pro Riders. 1st: Curtis Keene - 40:09, 2nd: Marco Osborne - 40:20, 3rd: Evan Geankoplis - 40:44, 4th: Derek Teel - 41:25, 5th: Evan Turpen - 41:49
There were certainly a lot of great moments to be remembered, but this by far was our favorite!
Corey Sullivan said he had a rough stage 6 so he decided to steeze it out on the final jump of the day, going into the TRP Brake Zone he threw a Suicide No-Hander. The Lone Heckler gave Sullivan a 10 and so did we!!
The final stop of the 2016 California Enduro Series and the 2016 Golden Tour takes us to Mammoth Mountain for the Kamikaze Bike Games
in less than three weeks. The Kamikaze Bike Games is four days of fun: Enduro, Pro GRT Downhill, Slope Style, Cross Country, the legendary Kamikaze Downhill, and more. It's the best four days on two wheels! Register for the Enduro and other events at Kamikaze Bike Games