Photo Epic: Big Mountain Enduro Hits The Crested Butte Ultra Enduro

Sep 9, 2014
by Devon Balet  


CRESTED BUTTE ULTRA ENDURO
FIVE DAYS OF AN ENDURO BATTLE



Day one of the Crested Butte Ultra Enduro sent racers to over 12,000 ft elevation during two timed stages.

There is no harder working crew then the Big Mountain Enduro crew.
  There is no harder working crew than the Big Mountain Enduro crew.

Local buses were put into service to shuttle racers for three days to the start of the day and bringing them home after a long day on the bike.
  Local buses were put into service to shuttle racers for three days to the start of each day and bring them home after a long day in the saddle.

Crystal Peak trail took racers up to the start of the first timed stage of the week and it was no easy task.
  Crystal Peak trail took racers up to the start of the first timed stage of the week and it was no easy task.

The final push to the top of Star Pass and the start of the first stage of racing was a dozy.
  The final push to the top of Star Pass and the start of the first stage of racing was a doozy.

Preston Bagley starts the week of racing as the only Junior Male racer. All week long he had great performance which would have earned him sixth place in the Am 19-39 Mens race.
  Preston Bagley starts the week of racing as the only Junior Male racer. All week long he had great performances which would have earned him sixth place in the Am 19-39 Men's race.

Racing in Crested Butte can make you feel small very small.
  Racing in Crested Butte can make you feel small, very small.

Colin Pickett puts in some pedal strokes on a flat section of Trail 400.
  Colin Pickett puts in some pedal strokes on a flat section of Trail 400.

Will Olson smashes through one of many stream crossings on the open stage of five days of racing.
  Will Olson smashes through one of many stream crossings on the open stage of five days of racing.

Sarah Rawley finds the smooth line through the rough on the lower section of trail 400.
  Sarah Rawley finds the smooth line through the rough on the lower section of Trail 400.

A group of Pro Men including Joey Schusler and Chris Johnston finish out the first half of the climb up to Teo Ridge Trail and the second stage of day one.
  A group of Pro Men including Joey Schusler and Chris Johnston finish out the first half of the climb up to the Teo Ridge Trail and the second stage of day one.

Mike West is always a pleasure to watch riding. He has a very distinct style which is usual very fast
  Mike West is always a pleasure to watch riding. He has a very distinct style which is usual very fast!

After the first day of racing Marco Osborne started five days of racing in the lead.
  After the first day of racing, Marco Osborne found himself in the lead.

Ross Schnell flies on his way to a second place finish on the first day of racing.
  Ross Schnell flies on his way to a second place finish on the first day of racing.

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski gets loose on the lower section of Trail 400. JHK finished the day in 7th.
  Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski gets loose on the lower section of Trail 400. JHK finished the day in 7th.



Day two of the Crested Butte Ultra Enduro sent racers out for 33 gruelling miles with 6,729 feet of descending and 5,699 feet of climbing. Opening the day with a climb UP the Deadman's switchbacks to Cement Mountain Trail. Racers descended Cement Mountain Trail to Roaring Judy Trail for the first timed stage of the day. After a 17 mile transfer racers lined up for the second timed stage, Doctor's Park Trail. This Crested Butte classic trail is one of the best trails in the area if not the state. After nearly 30 minutes of timed racing the final standings for the day were extremely tight. On the Pro Men's side young gun Marco Osborne continues to hold off the field with a 10 second lead over Ross Schnell in second. Kathy Pruitt held onto her first place position in the Pro Women's category over Heather Irmiger.

If you aren t hiking you aren t mountain biking That seems to be the case if you are riding in Crested Butte. Kristen Naber hikes it out to the start of Roaring Judy Trail.
  If you aren't hiking, you aren't mountain biking! That seems to be the case if you are riding in Crested Butte. Kristen Naber hikes it out to the start of Roaring Judy Trail.

Jennifer Crew was all smiles dropping into Roaring Judy trail the first stage of day two.
  Jennifer Crew was all smiles dropping into Roaring Judy trail, the first stage of day two.

Tim Poppe of Crested Butte keeps it low and fast on the opening of stage one of day two.
  Tim Poppe of Crested Butte keeps it low and fast on the opening of stage one on day two.

Taylor Lindeen blurs through the start of stage one of day two. Lindeen held a commanding lead in the Am Men 19-39 race.
  Taylor Lindeen blurs through the start of stage one of day two. Lindeen held a commanding lead in the Am Men 19-39 race.

Fairly new to the enduro scene Derek Bissette has shown his has the skills and speed to be a top ten contender.
  Fairly new to the enduro scene, Derek Bissette has shown that he has the skills and speed to be a top ten contender.

How do you stay at the front of the pack day in and day out You put in pedal strokes anywhere and everywhere possible. Ross Schnell on his way to another second place finish.
  How do you stay at the front of the pack day in and day out? You put in pedal strokes anywhere and everywhere possible. Ross Schnell on his way to another second place finish.

After nearly ten years of photographing Joey Schusler I have never gotten a photo like this one. Mechanicals are not a common thing for this shredder.
  After nearly ten years of photographing Joey Schusler, I have never gotten a photo like this one. Mechanicals are not a common thing for this shredder.

Crested Butte local Matthew Steinwand shows the best way to cross Spring Creek before the last climb up to Doctors Park trail.
  Crested Butte local, Matthew Steinwand shows the best way to cross Spring Creek before the last climb up to Doctor's Park trail.

No stranger to Colorado singletrack Ross Schnell flies into one of the fastest and roughest sections of Doctors Park. Schnell finished the day in second ten seconds behind Marco Osborne.
  No stranger to Colorado singletrack, Ross Schnell flies into one of the fastest and roughest sections of Doctor's Park. Schnell finished the day in second, ten seconds behind Marco Osborne.

Nate Hills taking the high line up and over a boulder.
  Nate Hills taking the high line up and over a boulder.

Alex Petitdemange keeps it loose through the rocky section of Doctors Park. Petitdemange had a great week of racing holding a consistent top ten finish.
  Alex Petitdemange keeps it loose through the rocky section of Doctor's Park. Petitdemange had a great week of racing holding a consistent top ten finish.

Heather Irmiger just squeezed by Kathy Pruitt to take the win on day two by less than two tenth of a second.
  Heather Irmiger just squeezed by Kathy Pruitt to take the win on day two by less than two tenths of a second.

Mountain Flyer Magazine founder Brian Riepe keeps it smooth through the rough of Doctors Park. Riepe finished top on the day in the Masters Men race.
  Mountain Flyer Magazine founder Brian Riepe keeps it smooth through the rough of Doctor's Park. Riepe finished top on the day in the Master's Men race.

Marco Osborne continuing to prove he has what it takes to win. After two days of racing he holds onto his overall lead over Ross Schnell in second.
  Marco Osborne continuing to prove he has what it takes to win. After two days of racing he holds onto his overall lead over Ross Schnell in second.

Macky Franklin smashes through the single creek crossing on Doctors Park Trail.
  Macky Franklin smashes through the single creek crossing on Doctor's Park Trail.



After yesterday's rain, today's race was altered slightly. The extremely steep, rooty and rocky trail Waterfall was taken out, making today two stages instead of three. Riders were sent up to the top of Double Top, an extremely beautiful trail making its way over to the start of the day's first stage, Trail 409.5. The previous day's rain made for some slick and sloppy conditions. After making their way down the first special stage, racers then made their way up Trail 409 to the Cave's Trail decent. Cave's Trail being the shortest of all the timed stages, but possibly the steepest. The trail finishes with endless tight switchbacks, testing rider's cornering abilities. At the end of the day Jerome Clementz led the Pro Men by over 10 seconds and Kathy Pruitt continues her dominance of the Pro Women's race.

Photographer Eddie Clark prepares his bike for another day of abuse while out on course.
  Photographer Eddie Clark prepares his bike for another day of abuse while out on course.

The third and final shuttle day brought some ominous weather.
  The third and final shuttle day brought some ominous weather.

Todd Park enjoying the early morning pedal transfer on day three along Double Top Trail above Cement Creek.
  Todd Park enjoying the early morning pedal transfer on day three along Double Top Trail above Cement Creek.

General consensus of the pedal transfer that started day three THIS IS AMAZING
  General consensus of the pedal transfer that started day three; THIS IS AMAZING!

Two Am women racers make their way to the start of the first stage on day three with Gothic Mountain breaking free from the clouds in the background.
  Two Am women racers make their way to the start of the first stage on day three with Gothic Mountain breaking free from the clouds in the background.

The opening of Trail 409.5 was like many other high alpine trails in Crested Butte wide open and fast
  The opening of Trail 409.5 was like many other high alpine trails in Crested Butte; wide open and fast!

The steep and muddy trail known as Trail 409.5
  The steep and muddy trail known as Trail 409.5

Ben Cruz was entertaining to watch race all week and on most stages he was blasting tunes as he was ripping the trail.
  Ben Cruz was entertaining to watch race all week, and on most stages he was blasting tunes as he was ripping the trail.

Trail 409.5 put Kathy in her comfort zone with high speeds and steep muddy trail.
  Trail 409.5 put Kathy in her comfort zone with high speeds and steep, muddy trail.

Mike West aka Old Man West looks nothing like an old man on the bike.
  Mike West, aka Old Man West looks nothing like an old man on the bike.

Yet another amazing view with a fast switchback. Caves Trail made for a perfect enduro course.
  Yet another amazing view with a fast switchback. Cave's Trail made for a perfect enduro course.

Nothing like a high speed switchbacking trail on the edge of cliff
  Nothing like a high speed switchbacking trail on the edge of cliff!

Caves Trail is something special.
  Cave's Trail is something special.

There is no denying Kathy Pruitt has some downhill skills. After three full days of racing Pruitt continues to hold onto her overall lead in the Pro Women s race.
  There is no denying Kathy Pruitt has some downhill skills. After three full days of racing, Pruitt continues to hold onto her overall lead in the Pro Women's race.

No stranger to the BME or racing Sarah Rawley makes quick of a tight turn on Caves Trail on day three.
  No stranger to the BME or racing, Sarah Rawley makes quick of a tight turn on Cave's Trail on day three.

After an altered race course for the day due to rain Jerome Clementz takes the first win of the week by nearly ten seconds over the overall leader Marco Osborne.
  After an altered race course for the day due to rain, Jerome Clementz takes his first win of the week by nearly ten seconds over the overall leader Marco Osborne.



Day four of the Big Mountain Enduro, Crested Butte Ultra saw racers take on a single timed stage. After racers climbed/hiked nearly 3,000 feet up to the base of the Athracite Range for the start of the Green Lake Trail. The trail starts out super rocky then gets steep! After a brief section of dirt road racers dropped into the second section of the trail, a very physically demanding trail. The rolling flat left racers gassed and gasping for air. The tight switchbacks near the end allowed the top cornering riders to shine. After over 12 minutes of timed racing Jerome Clementz once again brought the fastest time, just three seconds off was Marco Osborne in second and Ross Schnell in third. For the Pro Women Kathy Pruitt continues to prove her dominance on the trail finishing 12 seconds faster the Heather Irmiger in second and Sarah Rawley in third.

The top of Green Lake Trail has no shortage of great views.
  The top of Green Lake Trail has no shortage of great views.

An unknown racer blurs into the dark forest of Green Lake Trail.
  An unknown racer blurs into the dark forest of Green Lake Trail.

Colin Pickett of Crested Butte shows good form into a steep off camber turn on day four. Pickett was a mere second off of second place on the day.
  Colin Pickett of Crested Butte shows good form into a steep off camber turn on day four. Pickett was a mere second off of second place on the day.

Theo Fellgett of Great Britain takes the high line through the rough on day four.
  Theo Fellgett of Great Britain takes the high line through the rough on day four.

Mid way down Green Lake Trail on day four racers had an all out spring on a short section of road. Jake Meyer breaths deep as he drops off the road back onto singletrack.
  Mid way down Green Lake Trail on day four, racers had an all out sprint on a short section of road. Jake Meyer breaths deep as he drops off the road back onto singletrack.

Kathy Pruitt opens it up on the fire road section of Green Lake Trail. Pruitt led the Pro Women from day one all the way to the end.
  Kathy Pruitt opens it up on the fire road section of Green Lake Trail. Pruitt led the Pro Women from day one all the way to the end.

Crested Butte local Janae Pritchett makes the fast right turn back onto single track after flying down the wide open fire road section on Green Lake Trail.
  Crested Butte local Janae Pritchett makes the fast right turn back onto single track after flying down the wide open fire road section on Green Lake Trail.

Ross Schnell making quick of yet another TIGHT switchback on Green Lake Trail.
  Ross Schnell making quick of yet another TIGHT switchback on Green Lake Trail.

Mr. Smooth displaying what he does best.
  Mr. Smooth displaying what he does best.

After the final back country day Marco Osborne was sure to put on fresh rubber for the final day of racing on Evolution Bike Park.
  After the final back country day, Marco Osborne was sure to put on fresh rubber for the final day of racing at Evolution Bike Park.



The fifth and final day of the Crested Butte Ultra Enduro sent racers to Elevation Bike Park on Mount Crested Butte. Each of the three stages brought very unique trails. Stage one on Luge was a anaerobic nightmare. Stage two went down Avery, the park's downhill track. The third and final stage sent racers down the brand new trail Captain Jack. Recently opened, Captain Jack has tons of steep and over camber roots through loamy dirt with one major rock garden.

This is truly big mountain enduro racing here in Crested Butte
  This is truly big mountain enduro racing here in Crested Butte!

Kristen Naber of team Pin It Girls was seemingly floating into the start of stage one of day five.
  Kristen Naber of team Pin It Girls was seemingly floating into the start of stage one of day five.

Todd Park flies through one of the opening berms on the Luge Trail.
  Todd Park flies through one of the opening berms on the Luge Trail.

Greg McNally sponsored by the best Mom. Greg was one of the few Canadians to make the trek to Colorado for the Ultra Enduro.
  Greg McNally sponsored by the best, Mom. Greg was one of the few Canadians to make the trek to Colorado for the Ultra Enduro.

Melissa Thomas gets low on Luge Trail the first stage of day five at Evolution Bike Park.
  Melissa Thomas gets low on Luge Trail, the first stage of day five at Evolution Bike Park.

An unknown racer floats into the opening of Avery Trail.
  An unknown racer floats into the opening of Avery Trail.

Zach White gets back way back through the opening rock garden on Avery Trail. White finished the day on top of the Vet Men race.
  Zach White gets back, way back through the opening rock garden on Avery Trail. White finished the day on top of the Vet Men race.

Young gun Cody Kelley smashes through another rock garden on Avery Trail. He finished the day in an honorable 12th place.
  Young gun Cody Kelley smashes through another rock garden on Avery Trail. He finished the day in an honourable 12th place.

There is no denying Joey Schusler is a downhiller at heart. Schusler finished second on stage two on the final day of racing.
  There is no denying Joey Schusler is a downhiller at heart. Schusler finished second on stage two on the final day of racing.

Ulmer Naish does his best jump squash on Avery Trail the second of three stages on Evolution Bike park.
  Ulmer Naish does his best jump squash on Avery Trail, the second of three stages on Evolution Bike park.

Marco Osborne blurring his way to the overall win after five days of hard racing.
  Marco Osborne blurring his way to the overall win after five days of hard racing.

Hats off to this man Timothy Moore. Timothy raced all week long on a Reeb hardtail.
  Hats off to this man, Timothy Moore. Timothy raced all week long, on a Reeb hardtail.

Shortly after this frame Taylor Lindeen had a nasty crash in the rocks. He got up on his own power and finished out the stage securing his overall win for the week in Am 19-39 Mens race.
  Shortly after this frame, Taylor Lindeen had a nasty crash in the rocks. He got up on his own power and finished out the stage, securing his overall win for the week in Am 19-39 Men's race.

After four days of racing in the backcountry Heather Irmiger took on the final day full speed ahead. She continued a great week of racing finishing second overall.
  After four days of racing in the backcountry, Heather Irmiger took on the final day full speed ahead. She continued a great week of racing finishing second overall.

Janae Pritchett keeps it smooth and fast through the lower section of the brand new trail Captain Jacks.
  Janae Pritchett keeps it smooth and fast through the lower section of the brand new trail Captain Jacks.

Josh Carlson skills shined on the final day of racing at Evolution Bike Park. He took the win on the day by less than two tenths of a second over Marco Osborne.
  Josh Carlson's skills shined on the final day of racing at Evolution Bike Park. He took the win on the day by less than two tenths of a second over Marco Osborne.

Marco Osborne knew that all he had to do on the final day of racing was to keep it smooth and upright and he did just that He took the win for the week by less than 30 seconds.
  Marco Osborne knew that all he had to do on the final day of racing was to keep it smooth and upright and he did just that! He took the win for the week by less than 30 seconds.

1 Kathy Pruitt not pictured 2 Heather Irmiger 3 Janae Pritchett 4 Lauren Kuennen 5 Melissa Thomas
  1 Kathy Pruitt (not pictured), 2 Heather Irmiger, 3 Janae Pritchett, 4 Lauren Kuennen, 5 Melissa Thomas

1 Marco Osborn 2 Ross Schnell 3 Jerome Clementz 4 Mike West 5 Nate Hills
  1 Marco Osborn, 2 Ross Schnell, 3 Jerome Clementz, 4 Mike West, 5 Nate Hills

Photos and words by Devon Balet
Full results here.


49 Comments

  • + 23
 I think the big news is that young gun, Marco Osborne (who happens to be a Marin County kid that lives at sea level), just handed it to a bunch of Colorado boys in a 5 day Enduro race at altitude, on their turf.
  • - 4
flag b1k35c13nt15t (Sep 9, 2014 at 8:19) (Below Threshold)
 They don't time the climbs right?
  • + 15
 Climbs aren't timed, but those were long, physical descents that rewarded some hard pedaling and sprinting. Hats off to Marco.
  • + 1
 Kudo's to that! Elevation is elevation... you have it or you don't.
  • + 1
 I'm obviously talking to non-pedalers...
  • + 16
 Jerome is back. I get the feeling he is just warming up and getting his fitness back up and the cobwebs knocked off. Next season of the EWS will probably be called "The Return of the King."
  • + 7
 Nah man.... Gravey
  • + 1
 Yeah, but where is his right hand in that podium shot? Marco looks like he just got goosed! ;-)
  • + 13
 Glad to see Clementz back!
  • + 10
 Great coverage and pictures. It would be really cool, to get more pictures of the peoples ride´s in these race articles, and I don´t mean only the pros, just to get a quick idea of the bike situation.
  • + 4
 +1 I would love to see the rides of the regular Joes out there.
  • + 2
 I just posted a gallery of Day 2 on downhillcolorado.com. Joes and pros in there. Days 3, 4 and 5 still to come.
  • + 1
 thanks man il check it out!, can´t get in
  • + 4
 Such a kick-ass race, the BME crew did an awesome job organizing and the stages and climbs were fun as hell. Go Theo! Great photos, they do beautiful CB justice.
  • + 7
 Epic pictures
  • + 2
 word - amazing job, catches the spirit of mountain biking perfectly!
  • + 1
 Saw the tent for this when I was passing trough CB from practice for Western. Wish I could have done it, but had other races in Granby that weekend. But congrats to everyone who raced! Great place and weather, for the most part, for a race!!!!! And hope you got to enjoy a bit of Whatevertown, USA!
  • + 1
 Great shots Devon! Great job showing the magnitude of those mountains. Every time I'm there I just look around and I'm blown away at the vastness of the terrain. CB may be my favorite place in the world (so far, but I've been a lot of places...).
  • + 5
 that was my daughter! Kathy asked her to stand up there for her.
  • + 2
 Such a fun race. Thanks Devon for being there to cover it and share with Pinkbike.

-- winner of the old guy's (40+) race
  • + 1
 This was such a great event, very well put on by the BME crew. Special thanks to Devon, for following us up to all the trails for these awesome shots! Great write-up! Smile
  • + 1
 Surprised Marco Osborne is using just a plain old XT crankset. Seems like he would easily be able to get his hands on XTR or something else more expensive (better)
  • + 3
 One day I will be old enough and rich enough to Enduro....
  • + 1
 Went to CO this summer and Crested Butte was my favorite. Nice and Green....Even had some tacky dirt.
  • + 3
 Amazing!
  • + 3
 love it
  • + 1
 Wow! This looks amazing!
  • + 1
 Very Nice,Very Nice......... Dream !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 thanks !! Now i wanna go ride in crested butte
  • + 1
 Title made me laugh, sweet photos. Looks epic
  • + 3
 Photo Enduro: Enduro Enduro hits Enduro Enduro Enduro Enduro.

Enduro

Big Grin
  • + 1
 Nice pics! epic race for sure.
  • + 1
 Anybody knows which bike Will Olsen is riding? Looks like a slack 29er.
  • + 1
 Aaaaand.... I'm going back to CB asap.
  • + 1
 Its just mountain biking. That's all.
  • + 2
 Great job Taylor!!!!
  • + 1
 Cannondale representing.
  • + 1
 So beautiful race !
  • - 2
 absolutely beautiful venue, sorry had to scroll through photos without reading, where is this place?
  • + 2
 Colorado
  • - 3
 Am I confused? The winner for the pro womens looks like a little girl
  • + 1
 at first i thought the same thing but the text under the picture says the winner is not pictured so i think its the daughter or something
  • + 3
 The Subscription of the photo is: 1 Kathy Pruitt (not pictured), ...
I think she missed it and the little girl was standing on the podium instead of her
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