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Race Report: California Enduro 2021 Season Finale - Ashland Mountain Challenge

Oct 6, 2021
by California Enduro Series  
Cory Sullivan, Ashland Mountain Challenge Pro Men Champ.

Words: California Enduro Series presented by Specialized

The California Enduro Series wrapped its 2021 season with the ever-outstanding Ashland Mountain Challenge on Saturday, October 2 in Ashland, Oregon.

The sold-out race, presented by Ashland Mountain Adventures (AMA), was also an Enduro World Series (EWS) Gold Qualifier.

Mother Nature put on her best smile for this year’s event, delivering perfect weather and prime conditions from peak to creek for 317 exuberant racers.

Riders started arriving in Ashland early in the week to get a feel for the terrain and enjoy the quaint southern Oregon town located just over the California border.

By Thursday and Friday, AMA was bustling with racers getting last-minute repairs, race day details, and practice shuttles to the top of Mount Ashland.

Amy Morrison, Ashland Mountain Challenge Pro Women Champ defended her 2020 title.

Come race day, the stoke was sky-high as riders of all categories made their way to their respective stage starts.

Beginner and Sport riders – who would race their stages in numerical order – converged in Lithia Park for a mellow 5-mile pedal transfer to Stage 1.

Meanwhile, Pro and Expert riders made their way to the top of Mt A via a lift from family/friend or the AMA shuttle for their mostly-downhill transfer to the top of Stage 3; they would race their stages in this order: 3, 4, 5, 1, 2.

Immediately after completing stages 2 and 5, racers were required to check in at the CES timing tent to have stage times downloaded from their chips.

Stage 1 took place on Ashland’s renowned high-speed Hitt Road on the west side of the watershed and featured plenty of water bars, rocks, and “S” turns to keep riders on their game.

From the bottom of Stage 1, riders made the relatively quick pedal to the top of Stage 2 which ran on BTI, an old-school Ashland classic. This short but oh-so-sweet stage boasted big grippy berms to rally and tight techy corners to sprint out of.


This race recap brought to you by The Dogs of Enduro.

High up the mountain, on the east side of the watershed, Stage 3 linked up Lower Bull Gap’s downhill section with both the upper and lower sections of Missing Link. Plenty of rocks, roots, tight corners, sweeping berms, and luscious loam kept riders on their game and in their glory.

This sweet run was designated as the FOX Queen Stage in which the racer from each category with the fastest time received bonus points toward the overall ranking.

From the bottom of Stage 3, riders railed on down to the top of spicy Stage 4, which took place on Marty’s. This track delivered some techy, steep sketch – sheer fun for some, intimidating for others and thrilling for all.

A quick pedal transfer brought riders to the top of Stage 5 which took place on Lizard and Jabberwocky. This stage was all about pumping and flow, keeping it upright on fast, dry corners and making the most out of rollers, tables, and banked berms.

An awards ceremony celebrated the day’s podium winners; however, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the usual post-race revelry could not take place.

Instead, AMA provided each racer with a meal voucher for their choice of either Falafel Republic or Burrito Republic plus a drink voucher for Gil's … another chance to chill in this lovely town at the end of a fun race season!

View results and podium shots for all categories here.

Fabulous views from Mt. Ashland, just over the California border in Ashland, Oregon.

Scoping out lines on practice day.

Getting a feel for the terrain which ranged from primitive rocky bits ...

... to impeccably crafted turns.

Charge it ...

... carve it ...

... and all out huck it. But whatever you do, do it FAST.

Meanwhile, over at Ashland Mountain Adventures, folks queued up for packet pick up.

Racers received meal and bevo vouchers as well as custom AMC koozies.

On race day, many riders caught a lift to their Mt. A stages on the Ashland Mountain Adventures shuttle.

Other racers loaded their bikes into truck beds to get to those east side stages.

Treating race steeds with the greatest of care!

Cody Kelley, Pro Men 2nd place.

Evan Geankoplis, Pro Men 3rd place.

Nathan Riddle, Pro Men 4th place.

Todd Renwick, Pro Men 5th place.

Porsha Murdock, Pro Women 2nd place.

Essence Florie, Pro Women 3rd place.

Diniana Piekutowski, Pro Women 4th place.

Heidi Kanayan, Pro Women 5th place.

Jake Snow, Junior Pro Champ.

Jacob Dore, Master Pro Champ.

Although there was no post-race celebration due to COVID, riders connected briefly near the CES timing tent throughout the day.

This year's unique wood "medals" with camo lanyards were pretty sweet.

Hella Mello on a hella fab day on the bike.

Pro Men Top Five
1st - Cory Sullivan
2nd - Cody Kelley
3rd - Evan Geankoplis
4th - Nathan Riddle
5th - Todd Renwick

Pro Women Top Five
1st - Amy Morrison
2nd - Porsha Murdock
3rd - Essence Florie
4th - Diniana Piekutowski
5 - Heidi Kanayan

2021 Series Champs
A shout of congratulations to this season’s series champions Evan Geankoplis and reigning champ Amy Morrison!

Joining Geankoplis in the top five Pro Men overall are Jake Keller in 2nd, Todd Renwick in 3rd, Cody Kelley in 4th, and Erik Szayna in 5th.

Accompanying Morrison in the top five Pro Women overall are Essence Florie in 2nd, Heidi Kanayan in 3rd, Erin McCaleb in 4th, and Porsha Murdock in 5th.

View series overall individual results for all categories here.

2021 Team Champs
Congrats as well to Scotts Valley Cycle Sport for taking first place in the team competition. MTB Experience took 2nd, MTB NorCal 3rd, Mike's Bikes 4th, and Encina/Clayton Bikes 5th. Thank you all for racing!

View all team results here.

2021 FOX Stage Wins
In addition to the FOX Queen Stage that added bonus points to the series overall standings to the winner of the stage in each category, FOX awarded a Transfer dropper post to both the amateur male and amateur female racer with the most stage wins at the end of the season.

Marty Crosley (Expert Men 50+) won for amateur male with 12 stage wins out of the 19 stages that made up the four races of the 2021 CES season for his category, while Keira McCaleb (Beginner Women) won for amateur female with 8 out of 17. View all 2021 FOX Stage Wins here.

CES is a for riders, by riders non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting world-class enduro events that everyone from amateur to pro can enjoy, at a geographically diverse range of venues. Full CES schedule at californiaenduroseries.com.

CES is made possible by the generous sponsorship of industry and community businesses.

The series is grateful for the continued support of title sponsor Specialized, official suspension sponsor FOX, Race Face, SANS, WTB, Voler, Cranked Naturals, Michael David Winery, User Testing, Galfer USA, Adventure Sports Journal, Intense, Zodiac Lights and GÜP.

If you’d like to get involved and be part of CES’ exciting 2022 season, send an email to sponsorship@californiaenduro.com.

Learn more at californiaenduroseries.com.

Words by Michele Lamelin / Photos by Bixxel

Huge thanks to CES title sponsor Specialized for donating a brand new mountain bike to be raffled off this season in support of the series. Funds raised will go toward replacing CES' stolen trailer and its contents. ENTER TO WIN either a 2021 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert or Stumpjumper EVO Expert; the winning ticket will be pulled at the end of the CES 2021 season on October 31, 2021. Tickets are $5 each, or five for $20 and twelve for $40. You need not be present to win, and the bike can be shipped anywhere.

Author Info:
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  • 6 0
 nothing but props to the race organizers - thanks Steve and crew. After Northstar got yanked out from under us - glad to finish in a perfect setting like Ashland.. def a mtb community.
  • 4 0
 man every CES race was sold out in minutes this year Frown
  • 5 1
 dont use that as an excuse not to race, always check their facebook, people are always selling their entries. trust me, been racing this series since 2015
  • 4 1
 @airsoftesneeto: Limiting entries is weak. Races were WAY BIGGER in the heyday of MTB. Not sure why we got to a point where 200-300 people is considered a BIG event. 10-15 people in a class? Not enough.
  • 3 0
 @airsoftesneeto: I race the so cal enduro series since they always have room for me haha
  • 5 0
 @marxrydz: I hope you know how much work is put into these races, Steve and Megan who run CES do not do this as a full time job and the money they make from the races goes right back into the very same races they put on. Not to mention all the others who are working in the background to make it happen.

Races in the past were not enduro races. Enduro races are a huge logistical nightmare with multiple clocks running at the same time. Its not a mass start with one start and finish, that is much easier to do.

so many other things have to be taken into consideration too...

anyways i dont say any of this to make you mad or pissed off, just sharing in case you didnt know some of the details that goes into putting on this race series. Shred on friend
  • 3 0
 @marxrydz: Most of the limited entries for the Ashland race are due to the shuttle aspect. Only so many vans to go around. Not to mention, this race tears up the DG trails in Ashland, an extra 100 or so people would be frowned upon by locals and trail stewards. There's a fine line and the AMC crew walks it well.
  • 1 0
 Had no idea Mike's Bikes had an Enduro team. Is it as competitive as their Crit team?
  • 3 0
 Go MARTY!!!!!
  • 2 0
 yeah Cory!!!
  • 1 0
 CoCo back on top!

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