Race Report: Richie Rude & Lia Westermann take Wins at Winter Park Big Mountain Enduro

Aug 15, 2021
by BigMtn Enduro  

Words and photos by Eddie Clark

The Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro Series presented by Maxxis returned to Winter Park, Colorado for the third stop of the series. With more agreeable weather compared to last years snow storm, racers took on four stages for the one day stop. Stages one and four were a throwback to the early days of EWS racing from 2013 with runs down No Quarter, Trestle DH, Lower Boulevard and Bears Arms. To start the day, racers had a pedal transition of almost 1,000 feet of vert before dropping in on Long Trail to No Quarter. The remainder of the stages would be accessed via lifts or the Gondola.

The views weren't so bad for the transition climb to stage one.

Junior racer Henry Rapinz would open his winning account with the fastest time on stage one and then again on stage three to take the overall for the Juniors category.

Mike West has plenty of experience on the tracks of Winter Park, and rode to second overall in the Masters.
Even more familiar with the mountain, local ace mountain bike racer Petr Hanak racked up another win in the Masters class.

Jacob Snow had the U21 race on lockdown with wins on stages 2, 3 and 4.

Ainsley Haggart from Durango Devo kept the speed up all day to place 8th in the Pro Women.
Laura Danley breaking into the top ten in Pro Women at P9.

Leah Vanderlinden put her experience from riding at Trestle Bike Park to use to claim 4th overall for the Pro Women.

Jake Ingram bringing some consistent speed to find his way into the top ten again with an 8th overall.

Kasper Wooley just got edged out by one of the best to slot into 4th overall for Yeti.
Richie Rude dominating again with wins on three of the four stages.

Porsha Murdock Kept it fast and consistent to take 3rd in the Pro Womens race.

Just a few weeks ago Lia Westermann won the U23 Downhill USA National Championships and took third in the Pro Womens Enduro here at Winter Park, which served as a great confidence booster for her winning ride this weekend.

Kera Linn continues to build on her season with another solid day of racing to claim a well earned second place in the Pro Women's field.

It was great seeing Stefanie McDaniel make a solid comeback with fourth in the Pro Women after missing the last few months due to an injury while training this spring.

Despite looking fast, Mitch Ropelato wasn't having one of his better days which came to an early end with a busted rear wheel towards the bottom of stage 3.
Kate Lawrence was also looking fast early on, but an unfortunate crash on Stage 4's Trestle DH trail left her finishing far off the pace we're accustomed to seeing her at.

Lia Westermann taking the win on stage 4 in addition to stages 1 and 3.

Jubal Davis with a 7th overall.
Quinn Reece had a good day to get himself on the podium with a 5th overall.

Richie Rude looking fast as ever.

A turquoise legend, it was so great to see Jared Graves back between the tape and pushing the pace with a 3rd overall.

Cody Kelley giving 'er a good yank and keeping Richie on his toes all day to take the second step on the podium.

Nik Nesteroff is another one to watch as he continues to build his experience and make his way up in the rankings with his 6th place finish.

Enduro dogs rule!

Full Results Here.


  • 17 1
 Richie's lack of cowboy hat is disappointing
  • 11 2
 Maybe next race they could put there head on a bat and spin around 20 times before they climb a measly 1,000 feet. Not saying that race doesn’t sound super fun. However, seems like XC trying to close at least a little bit of the gap to enduro, but enduro keeps moving towards single-crown, DH stage racing.
  • 6 0
 Agree. I hate to sound salty af but enduro is just becoming downhill lite, really don’t get all the lift served, wasn’t the original intent to see who could battle the uphill grinds and being out there without mechanics or help and still set times on downhill runs, I dont know, I’m just old and yelling at clouds, I’ll stop now.
  • 2 0
 well they went the opposite on the next one at Purg and killed most people w/ the 24 mile, 2,600 vert transfer just for one single stage.
  • 1 0
 @rideitall-bmx-dh-road-unicycle: that's definitely the other extreme!

I don't have anything against a bike park "enduro" and a whole bunch of laps at a park is arguable true to the idea of enduro being the race format that best resembles the way most of us ride parks.
Should just make them do more stages.

Still, the 1,000 feet was just silly. They should have just made a rule that you couldn't run a downhill bike and defined that some sort of way. But I do understand the practical difficulty with such a rule. Thus the 1,000 foot climb.

My main point was that as the EWS and other national-level enduros have moved more and more towards a fully-supported downhill stage race, it seems like there is yet again a lack of a race format that resembles how most of us ride.

Will be cool to see what pops up to fill the void after the pandemic subsides.
  • 5 0
 Cody get that sleeve!
  • 2 0
 I've been starting to see dual crown forks on some enduro bikes at races. None here but elsewhere. Is that a viable option or is it just not worth it?
  • 3 1
 Some of the downhill sections used for this enduro were used a few weeks ago for a US National DH race. The trail called Trestle DH can definitely justify some dual crowns.
  • 2 0
 Its really dependent on the course. Both how pedally the stages are but just as importantly, how difficult are the transfers. Most enduro races the transfers are likely too long/hard to justify a DH rig. There was an ESC race a couple weeks ago where the guy won on a DH bike but thats because the transfers were completely laughable and almost non-existent for any real amount of climbing; more like a DH stage race masquerading as an enduro race.
  • 1 0
 @wilsonians: that makes sense. if it helps ive got one with a lockout on it.
  • 2 0
 I used a dual-crown at Enduro National Champs at WP a few weeks ago. I felt like it was the best choice for me. I think the main reason you don't see any represented here is the dominance of Fox and RS sponsored riders in the pro fields (and that they don't have "enduro" dual-crown forks). For instance, you only see one fork from anyone else in the photo set above. If the preferred US enduro format continues to be bike-park heavy, I think you'll see more people using dual-crowns in the future.

I mean, a downhill bike got 9th.
  • 9 0
 @NoahColorado: For sure, and I agree if you see more bike park races, specifically those that use more lift 'transfers' then you will. WP didn't have that much climbing if I remember (3 lifts, around 1k climbing?) so it could totally make sense to use one. Maybe its old school of me but I don't think enduro races should use that many lifts in a race. 1 maybe 2 makes sense depending on # of stages but put people on pedal transfers for most of it, thats the 'endurance' part of enduro.
  • 4 10
flag spankthewan (Aug 16, 2021 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 @wilsonians: To each their own, but I feel the "endurance" aspect is more than accounted for in the multiple timed stages. I don't want to watch, and I wouldn't want to race a format that required >2000ft of climbing in a day. It's more dangerous to have exhausted riders plowing down DH trails, and it sucks a lot of fun out of enduro.
  • 1 0
 If a 120 lbs rider can justify a 38mm single crown, im sure the 180-200lbs rider could easily use a dual crown for how rowdy the tracks are.
  • 17 15
 Bike park enduros....yawn....
  • 3 3
 4 Yeti Riders and one ex-Yeti rider on the men's podium. They sure have an eye for talent.
  • 2 0
 No one else was there!
  • 2 0
 Let's go Laura
  • 6 7
 DQ for the rider not wearing a helmet in the first photo in 3... 2... 1...
  • 4 2
 Call from their insurance company in 3... 2.... 1... Also if you can't climb 1,000 feet while wearing a full face maybe enduro isn't for you.
  • 4 0
 @Rigidjunkie: When I ride my local gravity trails with a full face and have to climb 1000-2000ft, I take my helmet off. While racing I don't, because almost all races have very strict rules around wearing helmets at all times. Most state that if you are caught with your helmet off on transfer you will be DQ'ed immediately.
  • 3 0
 @rbarbier12: I've seen these waived (for transfers) once at a local race in extreme heat.
  • 5 0
 The helmet nannying is out of control

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