Photo Epic: North American Enduro Cup 2021

Jun 17, 2021 at 11:46
by Alicia Leggett  


The 2021 North American Enduro Cup brought racers back to scenic Idaho for one of the first North American EWS qualifiers of the season, with racers traveling from all over the U.S. to visit Silver Mountain Bike Park. Silver Mountain is in the sleepy town of Kellogg, Idaho, and is a hidden gem of the inland Northwest (though it seems like every year, more and more people discover how great it is). The trails are long and rough, descending 3,400' from the top of North America's longest gondola down to town. Every foot of descent packs a punch, too, with gnarly tech trail options almost the entire way, plus some berms and jumps.

This was the fifth North American Enduro Cup at Silver, and the competition just keeps becoming more stacked each year. With a $12,000 prize purse and trails on par with full-on EWS races, it's easy to see why the stout EWS qualifier attracts so much talent.

Race organizer Tony Zammit of the Montana Enduro Series puts some finishing touches on the course.

Friday's practice started out gorgeous, though the cloud cover increased through the afternoon, bringing heavy rain overnight for a rowdy race day Saturday.

The anticipation was real!

Part of the appeal of Silver Mountain is the parking lot scene. Most of the racers camp in the parking lot, where there's ample space for vans, campers, and tents to spread out (even though they started charging for overnight parking last year, not that I'm bitter about that or anything). Those who slept in vehicles or tents in the parking lot got to listen to the rain come in around 2 a.m. and dream about the wet roots and wild trails they would face in the morning.

The race started off with a solid climb to wake up the legs and maybe brains, taking riders up roughly 2,000' to Stage 1, a series of trails seemingly made entirely of off-camber wet roots. Right off the bat, the race began to separate those who were comfortable in the conditions from those who were not.

Off-camber and greasy was the name of the game.

After a rude awakening on Stage 1, riders round some relief on the techy but less slick Stage 2. Pro men's winner Max Sedlak made it all look easy.

Where it wasn't too slick, there was hero dirt to be found.

After racing Stage 1 and taking the gondola back to the top, riders tackled Stage 2, which went quickly and gave riders the opportunity to ride some tech in friendlier conditions.

There was some bike park wood stuff at the top of Stage 2 before dropping riders into some stair-stepping root sections and a big drop.

Branham Snyder styles his way down the hill.

John Richardson made it into the top 10 pro men.

The start of Stage 3.

Stage 3 was another long stage, sending riders through a flow trail to a series of increasingly technical sections, finishing on a fresh-cut series of steep corners with plenty of opportunities to take (or miss) high lines or get trapped in the soft edges of the brand new trail.

After Stage 3, the Sport categories were done for the day, but everyone else climbed back up to the top (with a chairlift assist for the last section) before continuing on to the top of Stage 4. Stage 4 included some of the toughest standalone features of the race, while Stage 5 as a whole was a relentless mess of slick roots dropping into one of Silver's toughest downhill tracks, Snake Pit.

Cody Kelley keeping it clean on the off-camber stuff.

Marco Osborne getting the shot of Damon Sedivy, who hoped to defend his #2 plate against a stacked pro men's field.

The middle of the Stage 4 techy(est) section.

A bit more perspective here.

A big rock offered racers several line options on Stage 4.

Good times on practice day.

The fastest line was right down the rock, airing over a little outcropping.

Then quickly into a right hander.

Riders had to keep it smooth through the corners -- first on the loose practice day, then when they got greasy for race day.

The rock slabs and greenery hinted at PNW riding.

Stage 5 started at a lookout on Kellogg Peak, the highest point of the race.

The first challenge of Stage 5 was a pile of snow...

which yielded mixed results.

After trying in practice, most riders decided to ride around the snow in the race.

The snow was squirrely and unpredictable.

Making it over the snow safely was far from guaranteed.

No riders were harmed in the making of this series.

Some riders did make it through the snow successfully.

After the snow, it was all greasy woods for the rest of the stage.

The inside line here was tougher to get into, but was a nice setup for the next corner.

After five tough stages Saturday, racers had a bit of a break, then tackled the 4.4mi, 3,400ft descent that was Stage 6. The stage took riders down a series of rough tech trails, testing how long they could hold on, before dropping them onto an up-and-down off-camber trail and finishing with a pedally flow trail through the trees.

Hannah Bergemann brought her party outfit for the last stage, but kept things pinned to take 5th place.

Pro women's winner Kate Lawrence has been on fire lately.

Mitch Ropelato and his mystery Cannondale.

By the end of the weekend, Silver's notorious dust was starting to return.

Eyes on the prize.

Some sponsor goodies.

After all the mud, some bike cleaning help couldn't hurt.

Pro men's podium: Max Sedlak, Myles Morgan, Mitch Ropelato, Jimmy Smith, and Shane Leslie.


Pro women's podium: Kate Lawrence, Amy Morrison, Porsha Murdock, Ingrid Laroche, and Hannah Bergemann.


It was a full weekend for the racers, and despite (or maybe because of?) all the suffering, I'm sure everyone is already looking forward to next time.


10 Comments

  • 19 0
 My ass is PB famous!
  • 6 0
 Jimmy Smith 4th in the bike race but 1st in the champagne-opening race
  • 6 0
 Damn this looks truly epic. Those trails are seriously challenging.
  • 1 0
 It's pretty intense. It looks like a similar course as I limped through a couple years ago. The top to bottom DH will kill even Popeye's forearms.
  • 2 0
 Give us the hardtail podium!! Craziest day of riding I've probably ever done, will have to catch it again next year.
  • 2 1
 What about NW Cup photo epics?
  • 7 0
 Check out Vital for those Wink
  • 3 0
 @zuestman: Ah ok. Thanks for taking the pics!!
  • 1 0
 some great pics to go along with a nice race report !
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