We met again this year for what would be the 4th and last race of the series. This time in the municipality of Santa Barbara, located in southwest Antioquia and also known as "The Balcony of Beautiful Landscapes" as it is located on the edge of the mountain overlooking 5 municipalities, the Cauca River and the majestic National Natural Park Los Nevados. Called Santa Barbara for the saint invoked in thunderstorms.
Views for days on every stage.
This municipality houses the Cairo Bike Park, a series of trails that have been used by the community to transport their crops and materials necessary for these, but recently there has been a group of people who have "adopted" and organized them for mountain biking. Two of them, Alejandro Franco (@MantenimientoPistasMedellin) and Yeison González (@yeigo_llanero), have been part of this group and key to our organization for the race in this municipality.
Early in the morning Women Cat 2 lining up for good times at the town's plaza square.
Podium time at Santa Barbara town plaza square.
For this time we tried an additional category, Enduro Car, for people who don't like to pedal, don't have enough physique or because they only practice Downhill. They would compete in the first 3 Special Stages, due to the ease of the route, the first two liasons would be pedaling and the third assisted by car.
The week before the event the weather behaved normally, one or two downpours, but the next day the trails were in mint condition. Everything went like this until race day, where the night before a hard and long rain made parts of the route treacherous for the first categories. The route had 4 Special Stages and 4 pedaling liasons. We left the Main Square plaza of Santa Bárbara, 2 km riding along the main road towards La Pintada, turning left to find the start of SS 1 "Frutera," a short route of approximately 950 meters, enough to force wake up the riders for the next 3 Special Stages that had a high level of difficulty and physicality. Cristián Yepes (Ebikes) was the fastest, followed by Steven Ceballos (Men's Open) and Valentina Roa (Women Open) coming in hot from a Junior Bronze medal at DH World Champs in Les Gets .
Although SS 2, 3 and 4 had very similar sectors, making the competition even more complicated and knowledge of the route would be key to knowing braking points, commit to the berm or where to brake hard so as not to go out through a water drainage. The 2nd Special Stage "Trapiche" started a few meters from the end of SS 1. Now the interesting part began, 2.1 km long and a narrow trail, full of turns, long fast straights with closed u-turns at the end, mostly fingers on the brakes, all this in the middle of a sugar cane crop. The fastest times of this special were for Cristian Yepes (Ebikes), Juan Fernando Vélez (U21) and Valentina Roa (Women Open).
They would follow the longest liason and SS of the race with 8 kms to ascend and 3 kms to descend. The PE3 “Las S” started on the road between Santa Bárbara and the municipality of Abejorral, right on the mountain in front of Santa Bárbara. The reward of the heat and long pedaling was an incredible view of the Cairo Bike Park, 4 municipalities of Antioquia and the Cauca River. As its name indicates, this trail had a large number of continuous S-turns, a stretch of unpaved road to rest a bit before returning to another long stretch of turns, full speed toboggan. Again the fastest were Cristian Yepes (Ebikes), Juan Fernando Vélez (U21) and Valentina Roa (Women Open).
Locals loving the race action.
Initially the liaison for SS 4 “Carpintería” was pedaling for all categories, but due to the difficulty of the route we decided to assist by car most of them except Open Men - Women and obviously Ebikes. Many riders were grateful for this last minute change since they were short of strength after finishing SS 3. Well, this last test was not only almost 3 km long but it had also been affected in several sectors by the rain, making some quite complicated sections, even for the fastest categories. Like the previous descents, this trail started with a long section of switchbacks with loose rocks and then some fast sections to connect more switchbacks. The riders were exhausted since these were trails where you had to work your whole body, move a lot and help the bike, arms and legs were blown up to finish the race. The fastest in this last stage were again Juan Fernando Vélez (U21), Cristian Yepes (Ebikes) and Valentina Roa (Women Open). The race ended with tight times in the Men Open category with a fairly close podium 1,2 and 3 within less than a second, but Juan Esteban Núñez climbing to the top step once again for a 2nd title in a row.
South Riders Best Team Overall
Women Open overall podium 2nd place Luisa Cristancho from Team Los Neneis, 1st place Valentina Garces, 3rd place Valentina Roa.
Men Open overall podium 4th place Juan Henao - Team Just Racing, 2nd place Steven Ceballos - Team Just Racing, 1st place Juan Nunez, 3rd place Felipe Rodriguez - Team Los Neneis, 5th place Diego Gomez - Team Zero Gravity
Colombia Enduro Cup overall winners.
For this 2022 there were 4 races where we had dirt, mud, rocks, dust, different climates, we visited places where we did not plan to arrive and the best of all, surrounded by friendly people and to cap it all we would like to thank the riders, families, companions, spectators and last but not least, the brands that came together and made this enduro party in Colombia much bigger.