Timing is everything they say. And in the case of the Oregon Endure Series (OES), that's definitely the case. OES got started in 2012 by Devon Lyons after talking with a number of pro riders like Mark Weir, Ross Schnell, and Richie Schley. The timing was just right: the OES was able to ride the groundswell of the rising demand for enduro racing in the USA , and with four years under their belt now, the overall stoke factor remains consistently high: the prizes are good, the event sponsors are solid, raffles are tip top, and there's a heavy emphasis on maintaining a strong fun factor.
Heading into the 2015 season's first race in Bend, OR everything looked stellar: rain the previous week had given way to blue bird conditions for the week leading up to the race, and riders from across the USA were converging on Bend to race, including a field of 40 pro men with Kyle Warner, Curtis Keen, and Adam Craig all in the mix, as well as 7 pro women, and full fields of expert, sport, beginner, and junior racers—263 racers in all. Bend is situated in a high desert climate, though, so the rain soaked trails of the prior week quickly gave way to dust as riders trained on the stages the week heading into the event.
When asked about the somewhat loose trail conditions, Curtis Keene just grinned and said, "Everything's running super fast out here. Sure, it's a little dusty, but it's so fast!
The only potential downsides heading into the weekend were a forecast of unseasonably high temps for race day (95 degrees F/35 degrees C
) mixed with a few prescribed forest fire burns nearby. Heat is one thing—racing in the heat sucks; but the fires could potentially effect air quality. The wind played nicely, though, keeping the smoke well away from the venue, although the heat was just as blistering hot as had been forecast. After a quick pre-race meeting, riders started to head out to stage one to begin racing. That's when things went a bit awry: the night before the race, a chain reaction of failed computers and networking issues began, forcing a delayed start to stage one. The snowball effect of that initial computer crash and networking error created a delay in the OES' ability to move the timing system used on stage one to the fifth and final stage and have it set up before the first pro racers started descending. The net effect of that error forced the OES organization to nullify the fifth and final stage for all racers, which is a shame as that final stage might have shook up some of the final standings. More importantly, it also created a massive delay in establishing accurate timing for some of the stages, and forced some podium corrections—most importantly in the pro men's field—moving Kirt Voreis from the top step down to seventh overall, and moving Alex McGuiness (aka "Krunkshox
) up from fourth to first. The results are all now accurate, though, having been painstakingly rebuilt by hand (thank God for dedicated OES staffers and Thump coffee as a sponsor
The delays definitely upset some of the racers, but overall most competitors took the errors with a grain of salt and remained pretty stoked on the event—after all, no one could have predicted the computer failures that created the fiasco, and OES went the extra mile to ensure accurate results, even if it took them 24 hours of grinding to get it done. Full results from the Bend, Oregon OES here