Round two brought Benduro home to Garden Valley, California. With a course in the Rock Creek OHV portion of the Georgetown District of the El Dorado National Forest, a pre-party at Squally's on the River, and a private after-party at the Bender homestead. This race upped the rowdy factor by tenfold compared to Bootleg Canyon, with a terrible transfer requiring hike-a-bike for many riders and backcountry conditions requiring safety to be of the utmost importance.
Rock Creek OHV (Off Highway Vehicles) boasts over 110 miles of multi-use trails, most open to mountain biking, with just a handful reserved for hikers. Spanning a watershed of creek bottomed canyons, the area ranges from 2000 to 4500 feet in elevation, with panoramic views from ridge tops to cold creeks to cool off in at the bottom of adrenaline pumping trails. The predominant user group for Rock Creek OHV has been dirt bikers, but we've received a warm welcome with sharing the area and loads of on trail courtesy.
Not surprisingly this first year of the El Dorado Benduro saw few competitors, 29 registrations to be exact. With local pros, Robyn Embrey and Tim Krentz blowing off race day at the last minute, four additional no shows brought the start list down to just 23 riders, 6 being in the Electric Open category. Although a couple wrong turns were reported, and racer Paul Wilson claimed the “burly” award by reporting the worst crash, every rider finished. A DNF in this zone would have resulted in a search and rescue party looking for missing racers.
Ashton Smith, Chris Williams, Paul Wilson, and Lorin Whitaker all had competed at Bootleg Canyon back in March and have their eyes on the prize of Overall Series Champion, with the prize of a Fox Transfer seat post. First place winners of every category took home a set of Magura brakes. Second place received an iExtreme phone case and Dakine kit, and third a Guayaki gourd gift pack. Every podium winner got a Woobamboo toothbrush, the official tooth cleaning device of Bender and LBC. Expert Men:
1st Zach Woodward, 2nd Matt Guntert, 3rd Ashton Smith Open Women:
1st Judith Kline, 2nd Emily Nagengast, 3rd Kirstie Douglass. FULL RESULTS
The Electric Open category was made possible because the course ran trails already open to dirt bikers. Eco Bike Adventures entered six riders with Rob Welch taking first with nearly a 6-minute lead ahead of second place. The Electric Open Category required special timing, from the start of stage one to the finish of stage two. Not surprisingly the Eco Bikers covered this section of course in less than half the time of the expert men. If you'd like to check out an Eco Bike for yourself we highly recommend attending the Lost Sierra Electric Bike Festival August 27th
or booking a demo or tour at the ranch in Calpine, CA.
The private after-party featured pulled pork tacos with a taste of local sponsor Define Wine's 2013 Exotic Rose, and a live show from Oregon's finest rock band Greenstone. The music was so loud we were surprised the sheriff didn't show up, but that is one of the benefits of living in the woods.
We'd like to thank our series sponsors Magura, Guayaki, All Mountain Cyclery, Fox Shox, ClifBar, Dakine and Woobamboo for truly making Benduro possible. We'd also like to recognize our west coast local sponsors for adding to the greatness of the El Dorado round: Define Wines, Terraplane Bikes, Dakine, Shine Riders Co., KeneticMTB, and TruckerCo.For professional photos by Pat Branch from the race to the podium please check out the gallery at PBMedia.
Next stop is Zion Benduro November 19 - 20 in Virgin, Utah
, hope to see you all at Red Bull Rampage too!