flag

The Monarch Crest Enduro: Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

Oct 5, 2017
by Mick Gilligan  


Views: 1,422    Faves: 1    Comments: 0


The final round of the Rocky Mountain Enduro Series brought us to Salida, CO a city back-dropped by the 12,000 plus foot peaks we would be racing down. In the past, the Monarch Crest Enduro was a single event. This year it became part of the Rocky Mountain Enduro Series and fittingly it became the series' final. A three day epic with five stages in the heart of the Colorado backcountry. To lay it out simply take a look at these stats:

- 32 miles of timed descending
- 14,000 feet of elevation loss
- 21 miles of transfers
- 8,000 feet of climbing

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

Disclaimer: I raced the event and it was my first enduro. I had the time of my life out there. You are surrounded by great people for three days, you put yourself in a position to ride some of the best trails Colorado has to offer in one weekend, you push your physical limits, and you make memories that will last a lifetime. I was truly humbled by both the length of descents and the physicality of the stages. There were stages that left racers buzzing like never before and there were stages that put racers on their knees. It is a race that will make your strengths and weaknesses apparent.



Mother nature sent some snow Wednesday night. The race organizers wanted to get eyes on trails and conditions. Thursday morning we suited up for a possible ride and shuttled to the top of Monarch Pass. The snow line was low that morning and the drive up had everything from doubt and anxiety to excitement and wonder. At the top snow was already slushy but we could see the trail was completely covered.

Onward to Stage 4, Greens Creek... what a rowdy trail to descend in those conditions. The top half had about three to five inches of snow on it making it one of the trickier descents we had ever done. When we got to the lower section the dirt had turned into the hero variety. It was a ride to remember.

This pre-ride helped organizers come to a conclusion; if the sun that was forecasted came out, conditions would quickly become better. The race was a go!





The shuttle brought us to the top of Marshall Pass where racers would encounter the shortest transfer of the weekend to the top of stage one. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, there was little wind, the temperature was just right, and the fall colors were peaking.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

Stage 1 was on Starvation Creek, a 4.5-mile ripping course to get you warmed up to what was in store for the weekend.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

At the finish of Stage 1 there was an aid station with not only Honey Stinger bars, goo, and water but also whiskey and bacon. Choices like that are always welcome but racers would not have a choice about the transfer. It was an eight-mile brute with 2,650 feet of climbing. Pick your poison and go.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

Stage 2 utilized the Silver Creek trail. The top section was hard racing blind with high-speed sections into tight turns that were easily blown if not on your A game. The lower section got rowdy through rock gardens and tire eating boulder fields.

At the end of the day, racers were already fatigued but the energy level and excitement for the rest of the weekend was through the roof.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video





A one stage day... but it was the biggest of three days. After a long shuttle ride to Stage 3 transfer, racers were eager to get their legs moving. It was an eight-mile pedal and hike a bike with 3,850 feet of vertical. Racers summited Granite Peak, a 12,620-foot peak, and were greeted by spectacular views. Staying warm wasn't an option, most dropped as quickly as possible. Starting well above tree line and descending deep into the forest below, the trail was incredible. The 9.3 miles with 3,900 feet of descending had racers maxing out heart rates and pushing their physical and riding limits the whole way down. Over thirty minutes of racing later you were at the finish line completely toast and wondering how much more you could have pushed and more importantly how much further to the shuttle. It was then back to town for refreshments and a hearty meal of pasta and cake.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video





The night before, mother nature wasn't kind to us. Rain in town meant possible snow in the mountains. But, the race must go on. To the top of Monarch Pass we went. It was frosty up there. Luckily the transfer to Stage 4, Greens Creek, was without much hardship other than some cold feet. A bonfire awaited racers at the top of Stage 4 and a quick warming session was much appreciated.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

Time to drop! The top section was snowy and slick but that didn't stop racers from pushing hard. The lower section turned things up to eleven with perfect dirt that begged you to push your limits, it was 5th gear pinned to the finish.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

At the finish racers were buzzing and on a high from Stage 4. You could feel the groups' adrenaline induced energy. It was those moments that made the weekend so memorable.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

A storm could be seen at the top of Monarch Pass and there was a debate if it would be safe, miserable, or dangerous to go up to Stage 5. The decision was split down the middle. All racers were wet and cold and no one could blame each-other for choosing what they chose. About half went back to town and half went back up to the top of Monarch pass to transfer the five miles.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

Stage 5, Fooses Creek, was snowy at the top and the drop in was gnarly with a steep chute down into the tree line. The Pro class made the decision to drop as a party train. It was a wild and fun ride down. A perfect way to end the weekend. In the end, Stage 5 would not affect anyone's time. It was a hard decision that the organizers had to make. Ultimately, when you are in the backcountry at high altitudes mother nature will throw curveballs.

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video
The Monarch Crest Enduro Rocky Mountain Enduro Series Round 5 - Highlights and Recap Video

For full results visit, http://www.sportident.co.uk/results/2017/RockyMountainEnduroRound5/

Thanks to all who came out and made this race happen! It was one I will always remember.

To sum up the weekend from another racers' perspective:

bigquotesJust want to let you know that this was one of the best weekends I've ever had on a bike. I love the adversity of weather combined with the focus of racing. I love the laid-back atmosphere. Thanks for letting me be a part of it. I loved it!Fred Maxwell



MENTIONS: @yeticycles



Must Read This Week

17 Comments

  • + 9
 What a RAD event - thanks to the organizers for putting it all together! Great photos and recap as well!
  • + 3
 Rode Monarch Crest 2 weeks ago with a couple buddies. I had done it before and every time it leaves me exhausted and thinking "that is one of the best days ever on a bike". I'll have to watch for this race next year.
  • + 6
 This is always the most fun race of the year for me.
  • + 5
 Hell yeah! Monarch Crest trails are awesome.
  • - 13
flag moroj82 (Oct 5, 2017 at 13:15) (Below Threshold)
 They main monarch route is one of the most overrated rides in the country--barely any turns, and the long 3+ mile downhill section on the road back to town is actually counted towards the descending... The best part of that ride is the shale field and the last few miles before the road. The high alpine stuff is mainly firerooad/double track.

Though, that super rocky section does look super fun.
  • + 5
 Pretty harsh. The crest is a great delivery to the main riding attractions, the trails that go off the crest; Fooses, Greens, Agate, Starvation, Silver Creek. They all have their own flavor, some more technical than others, but all awesome in their own way.
  • - 1
 @moroj82: That is totally different than the experiences we had. Those trails are rad and have been untouched by the sustainability police which makes them even better. If you only did what locals call the "Monarch Proper" ride I could see people saying it is more of an adventure ride than a ripping trail ride. But we rode 5 different trails with proper descents on all of them. Like I said in the article we were always buzzing at the finish and a lot of us I believe had THE run of the season out there. That says something.
  • + 0
 Riding those trails in the Rockies in the fall when the snow is just starting to take over is a one of a kind experience, and some of my favorite riding memories. Missing those rides being back east now!
  • + 1
 I am signing up for this event next year! Bummed I couldn't do it this year but wow, high alpine riding at it's finest!
  • + 3
 Looks Hella Fun!
  • + 1
 If you held this event during the summer you'd get a lot more participation.
  • + 8
 The timing has a lot to do with when the forest service will allow and permit it. The idea of closing down trails in peak season for a race is pretty much laughed at by the forest service and right-fully so.
  • + 4
 It has extremely high usage by cyclists, hikers and motos; to do it earlier in the year! And I am not concerned with your average cyclist participating! It is an event that even under good conditions will challenge the best out there! I can not begin to explain to you how proud I am to be a part of the organizational and operations crew that makes this event happen. If you ever do this event you will experience highs and lows you didn't even know existed. It's Thursday night after the event and as the primary promoter I am still in recovery mode! thank you to all of you who made this event happen by taking time off of work family and other responsibilities to helpmate this event happen! I truly appreciate you all! And, as for those of you who mustered up the gumption to race; YOU ROCK!! thank you for participating! Now off to outer bike!
  • + 3
 Bad. Ass.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.045804
Mobile Version of Website