The days are getting shorter, the trails a little wetter, and another California Enduro Series is in the books. What can be said, other than it was rad! There was blood, sweat, and tears, but that’s what happens when you take on some of California’s sickest terrain and homegrown enduro talent.
Six total races and over 160 cumulative miles, everyone from the beginners to the pros gave it their all in the growing series’ third season.
Each course was unique and provided a sampling of the riding found in the Golden State. The lush forests in Mendocino, CA at the Wild Wood Enduro introduced racers to the state’s coastal riding, while the Mammoth Enduro, the series finale, pushed riders’ technical abilities to the limit on the granite mountain sides of the High Sierras.
The Northstar Enduro showcased the state’s ample supply of moon dust and the China Peak Enduro proved that you don’t have to venture far from the Central Valley to find rugged runs. The series even made stops in neighboring states, giving athletes the chance to take a bite out of the loam in Oregon at the Ashland Mountain Challenge and proving with the Battle Born Enduro that there’s more to Reno, NV than just casinos.
But in the end, it’s always about the riding and the fantastic people that make the California Enduro Series a must do event.
“It’s really great to see how tight knit everyone is. They are out there to support each other and cheer their friends on. It’s just such a great experience to be part of,
” explained Megan Gemelos, series organizer.
From the SRAM and Fox Racing technicians providing support at every event, to the army of volunteers and race organizers who help make each race happen, the series is about connecting people to the industry and their fellow riders.
“We stay pretty busy, but it’s great because we get to really work with people and educate them on the product,
” said Andy Jones, a Technical Ambassador with SRAM’s Technical Ambassador Group. “It’s a much more personal way to meet with people and see how they are interacting with the product and we want to make sure they are getting correct information on their product. Plus it’s a great vibe out here
The series and the enduro format provided ample opportunity for racers to interact, beyond bombing past each other. Long transitions on fire roads and tight gondola rides gave racers a chance to introduce themselves and find new buddies and lines down the trail.
“This is such a fun series; the group of racers out here is really supportive. It is super cooperative and just a lot of fun,” commented Lauren Gregg, who was the overall series champion in 2014 and finished second overall in 2015. “I think they’ve really created a nice environment for both female racers and everyone out here.”
The atmosphere may be chill and the attitudes positive, but that doesn’t mean competition for the overall series title isn’t fierce when the clock is running.
In the Pro Men Category, Marco Osbone took the series win with 188 of 200 possible points, followed by Evan Geankoplis, Ryan Gardner, Cory Sullivan, and Doug Thayer.
“It was an amazing year, full of great memories on and off the bike
,” commented Osborne. “Just being able to go camping and hang out with all your friends is the best part. I’m definitely looking forward to next year.
In Pro Women, Amy Morrison took the series win with 160 of 200 points, followed by Lauren Gregg, Brianne Spiersch, Jackie Swider, and Nina Porcelli Fenn.
“This year it was definitely a goal to win the series,
” said Amy Morrison, before she hopped onto the podium at Mammoth. “I broke my wrist coming into the season, so I had a little bit of a slow start, but I started to pick it up around Ashland and tried to stay strong
Although the cameras and the crowds tend to turn their attention to the pros, the majority of those racing CES don’t do it for a living or have a pit crew, and are out on the mountain for the love of biking.
“It felt good being out here and being with the team and knowing I was going to have a lot of fun,
” commented Ashton Smith, who took the overall series title in Expert Men 18-29 with 172 out of 200 points. “[Enduro] is a lot different than other race formats and it’s awesome to have all these people out here. You hear your name a hundred times racing down the track; everyone is rooting for everyone.
Overall individual standings and overall team standings can be found here
Beyond the fun, the comradery, and the chance to slash some sick trail, the series is also an extremely useful tool for the organizers behind each race. The series provides plenty of promotional, technical, and volunteer support, but each race is organized by local riders with the proceeds from races going back into the communities for future trail work and events.
“We really want people to engage with each other and the local community
,” added Gemelos.”It’s about making a weekend of it and supporting the people who help build trails and the local biking communities.
With the 2015 season coming to a close, organizers are already preparing for 2016, including the possibility of adding a few additional race dates in Southern California and readying for an ever increasing number of interested riders.
For information including results, future races, or how to get involved, be sure to check out the California Enduro Series website
Written by Patrick D. Rosso.