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Race Report: 2021 Montana Enduro Series Round 3 - Rendezvous Enduro

Sep 7, 2021
by The Montana Enduro Series  


The Rendezvous Enduro marked round three of the 2021 Montana Enduro Series. Taking full advantage of the terrain at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the penultimate race of the 2021 MES campaign treated racers to four stages of racing on a bluebird day in September.

With the Tram currently undergoing maintenance operations, riders began their day on the Bridger Gondola. While the gondola did erase some of the pedaling riders still had to complete nearly 1,500' (460m) of climbing that started at 9,100' (2,772m) above sea level after disembarking.


Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The transfer to the top of Stage 1 had breathtaking views of the Jackson Valley and Grand Teton National Park. Expert Male Chris Clifford taking the pack to task on his way to the start of the day.

Stage 1 started a few feet (1/3 of a few m) below the summit of Rendezvous Mountain and proceeded down the ridgeline before dropping into Cody Bowl. That descent into Cody Bowl served up quite the adventure, with scree fields, rock drops, and high speed meadows. As if the elevation wasn't enough, two punchy climbs kept heart rates pumping. Stage one was planned as a part of the 2019 race, but was cut the morning of the 2019 race day because the snow drifts that accumulated during the night made the trail impassible on race day. But redemption was had in 2021; the only drifts this year on Stage 1 were the kind happening on two wheels. The trail descended through the high alpine meadows and across two cliff bands before depositing riders just below the climb to Stage 2.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Pro Male Brendan Hogg early on Stage 1.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The meadows were fast and Expert Male Doug Clark took full advantage.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Pro Male Charlie Nicholson nearing the top of the first climb.
Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Melina Glock was all smiles on the first of the two Stage 1 climbs.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Marshall Bailey sporting the puffy jacket above one of the cliff band traverses on Stage 1. The summit was a pleasant 35 F (1 C).

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Sport Male winner Chris Morrison crossing the finish of Stage 1.
Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The final corner of Stage 1 was deceivingly difficult, with more than a dozen riders going down in the same spot. Expert Male Brian Spere was one of the corner's victims.

Stage 2, with its start nestled at 9,800' (2,990 m) above sea level, saw riders starting in the alpine rock again but quickly changed as the stage followed the Cirque Trail and dropped into the white bark pine forests. The tight trees and short runs between ribbons of trees led to a short section of double track before giving way to a trail perched below one of the Teton Range's countless cliff bands. The fast, exposed line rewarded the courageous, but eventually treated everyone the same with the scree climb. It wasn't long, but it robbed any of the gravity-fed speed that had been amassed below the cliff. The punchy climb on Stage 2 only saw 3-4 riders clean the climb. Everyone else dismounted and ran their bikes, at over 9,000' feet (2,740 m) above sea level, to the top of the climb before descending to the finish of Stage 2.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Calvin Wight composed coming off the rocks and into the trees.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Racing between the patches of trees, Expert Male Andrew Howe on the gas on Stage 2.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Collin Grimm carrying speed below the cliffs on Stage 2.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Chris Canfield, on his way to second place in Masters Male, below the cliffs with the top of the Tram and start of Stage 1 high above.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male David Sproule taking his bike for a jog up the Stage 2 climb.
Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Jacob Buck beginning the descent again on Stage 2.

Stage 3 too riders down Wildflower Trail, which was a switchback laden adventure through rock buttresses, tight trees, and rock gardens that comprise the floor of the mid-mountain forest. Rocks and roots were abundant, but so were the wildflowers that give rise to the trails namesake. Also present on Stage 3 were some of the Jackson locals: a black bear caused a 10 minute course hold on Stage 3.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Local ripper and Masters Male winner Doug Lowham making his way into the meat of Stage 3.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Joshua Brown on Stage 3, dressed up as his favorite Ninja Turtle. We're still unclear which of the four he was representing, but based on the red bike and red corduroy cutoffs, we're guessing Raphael.

Stage 4 was Dirty Hairy. This new trail at the bike park tested the skill, nerves, and physical ability of riders. The first turn informed riders what was about to happen to them: A staked-off, 90-degree turn made on a grassy, 45-degree slope that required absolute trust in the engineers' work designing the side knobs of tires. That turn led to a short run on a 150' (50 m) of relatively smooth trail, which was the last chance to take a breath before committing to the next 0.8 miles (1.3 km) of chaos.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Second place Pro Male Scott Mooney getting every bit of traction out of his tires dropping into Stage 4.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The first corner on Stage 4 was steep. Fourth place Pro Male Gage Meredith proving that foot out, flat out.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Chad Strand getting full-heckle, trail tool encouragement from some of the JHMR Trail Crew responsible for Dirty Hairy's construction. Chad finished third in Master's Male.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Marshall Bailey on the good line high on Dirty Hairy.
Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Noah Adams demonstrating the result of being just a little off your line on Dirty Hairy. He earned 5 stars for somehow not falling down and laughing after the mishap.

The upper half of Dirty Hairy was more akin to a series of rollers covered in moon dust and loose rock that weaved through much bigger, fixed rocks and trees. If the technicality of the trail wasn't enough, the true challenge came from the fact that Dirty Hairy was changing constantly throughout the weekend. It genuinely felt like no two runs down the trail were the same. The combination of loose rock and moon dust meant that the best line from the morning may have disappeared by the afternoon. Smooth and controlled was fast, and riders eventually finished Stage 4 mid-way down the bike park.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Dylan Larson on his way to seventh place in Expert Male.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Melina Glock's climbing smiles from Stage 1 was a prologue to her composure on Stage 4 and the top of the Pro Women's podium.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Third place Pro Woman Kalen Griffin in the steep moon dust.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Male Connor Nolan shaving seconds on the over line instead of the around line.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Expert Woman's winner Jessica Freeze...
Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
...and Pro Woman's second place Rachel Long in the Aspens in the lower half of Stage 4.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Magnus Lowham channeling the enthusiasm of the spectators and turning it into the top spot on the Junior Male podium.

Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Melina Glock took home the top spot in Pro Women along with Rachel Long, and Kalen Griffin rounding out the top three.
Montana Enduro Series The Rendezvous Enduro Round 3 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Malachi Artice at the top with Scott Mooney in second and Nate King third.

2021 Rendezvous Enduro Official Results

The Montana Enduro Series will wrap up the 2021 races in Helena, Montana, with one of the longest-running enduro races in North America, the Helenduro. Check out www.montanaenduro.com for more info!

Check out the full photo album right here on Pinkbike!


9 Comments

  • 3 0
 Looks like it was a great event! When are we going to know if us waitlisters have a shot at the Helenduro?
  • 2 0
 At big sky and this race they’ve opened up more spots the week before so I’d think you’ve got a pretty good chance.
  • 4 0
 Rachel and Malachi, total power couple right there. Great job guys!
  • 3 0
 Gorgeous terrain!!!
  • 1 0
 Beautiful terrain. More photos less video please!
  • 1 0
 Sometimes I miss living in Montana.
  • 1 0
 The MES crew kill ti like always.

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