The Squamish Enduro presented by OneUp Components saw riders rip through abnormally dry, near-drought conditions this past weekend. With wildfire season looming, riders followed a track that fully circumnavigated a diverse sampling of the finest old, new, and lesser-known gems in Squamish's massive trail network. There was some nervous excitement before course release, with riders wondering what was in store, after the 2018 event showcased the "Gouranga Pro Line
", quite possibly one of the gnarliest enduro race sections ever. When the EWS qualifier course finally dropped, and practice opened, it was stage 1 that had the rider's blood running cold; a nearly 500m descent over 2.5 kilometers of some incredibly punishing terrain. This forced riders to focus on strategy and calculate where they would dig for extra pedal strokes, or feed the flow and maintain, for the 50km day ahead. The short course saw riders follow the same lineage as the EWS qualifier course, and was no cakewalk itself, with a classic lineup of some of Squamish's most famous trails on a 30km loop.
A scheduling conflict forced the event back two weeks from its usual date, and with the next round of EWS races in Europe only a week away, the pro field was somewhat open with past winners Miranda Miller, Jesse Melamed, and Remi Gauvin absent, along with other EWS contenders. However, reigning champion and Juliana team rider, Brittany Phelan was back and looking to repeat on her 2018 win. On the men's side, riders would have to battle for a spot on the porch with the big dog, Kona Factory team rider, and 2017 EWS junior World champion, Rhys Verner.
At the end of the day, it was Brittany Phelan on top again by the narrowest of margins, edging out local hero and Juliana teammate, Laura Battista by less than one second! The men's field put in a solid effort, but for the second time, Verner proved his prowess, taking the win on 4 of 5 stages, and the overall 2019 Squamish Enduro title.
A huge thank you goes out to all the volunteers who make the Squamish Enduro possible, and the amazing SORCA
full-time trail crew, who help make Squamish the mtb mecca it is.
Richie couldn't join us this year, but we hope to see him in 2020. Check out his preview, and more at www.squamishenduro.com
Junior Women - Short Course (image to come)