What do you do when the racing season has just drawn to a close and you have a new short travel weapon to test against an EWS proven thoroughbred? You pick a handful of your riders, including World Cup XC and EWS veterans, to compete against a few locals on their home trails of Hurricane, Utah. Just to keep things interesting, you bring along some RC rock crawlers and watch the sparks fly.
It was mid-fall and southwestern Utah seemed a little on the cool side. A weekend of bikes, beers, and buds was about to go off. Also in attendance were a few friends from Axial RC Racing with a fleet of RC rock crawlers. The format was simple: seven bike stages on two bikes and two RC stages. Given the differences of the Cannondale Habit and Jekyll, the terrain was varied. The race was like the love child of an enduro and an XC epic. Points were awarded for the following: bike stage wins, rock crawler stage wins, and life style.
The group camped out in two Yurts on the edge of Hurricane Mesa overlooking the Rampage site. Nights were chilly with whipping winds, but roaring campfires, beers, and a touch of brown liquor kept spirits high and the conversation lively. A plan was laid out, wagers were made, and the crew started in on speculating what tomorrow would bring.
Day one saw three bike stages and one RC stage. There wasn’t much in elevation loss, which played into the hands of the locals and XC specialists. It was there that the Habit shined and a cool head and keen sense of direction prevailed. There were many wrong turns that day and trash talking quickly commenced. When the first three stages wrapped up, the group excitedly headed back to camp, grabbed their rock crawlers, and got to stage one of the RC segments. Weir and Cruz, being the RC fanatics that they are, had the upper hand of the first crawl. They hadn’t had enough of the crawlers and a post dinner cross mesa crawl went off into the darkness of the night.
Dawn cracked a bit differently on the start of day two. If there is one thing that will bolt you upright faster than a rooster crowing first thing in the morning, it’s Ben Cruz shooting target practice at 7AM with a .223 rifle. Major lifestyle points were awarded. Day two’s stages were the toughest. RC crawler stage 2 went off without a hitch and the competition got wild on the following bike stage. The enduro specialists were hitting their stride and, by the last stage, Marco Osborne had shown the locals a thing or two on their own trails. Ben Cruz dropped in and yelled, “Now we’re riding bikes!
” as he hurtled past on the rocky descent to the valley floor.
In the end, Marco Osborn would take the win. Handily claiming enough stage wins to fend off Cruz and Weir’s amassment of lifestyle points. In the end, you might ask what was achieved by all this? The answer is simple: when you get your friends and a few strangers together, throw in some bikes and an RC car or two, fun is to be had. No matter what the trails are like. Any day on a bike is a good day.
Special thanks to Matt Ohran from Cannondale for putting this together and Rodney & John from Axial
for the RC car demo course.Words and images
: Matt DelormeVideo: