200 racers entered and took on the challenging terrain. Jackie Harlow made short work of the loose dirt and chunky rocks that set the tone for the race. Beginners and juniors rode 7 miles and climbed 1500' while everyone else rode 14 miles and climbed nearly 3000'.
China Peak opened up the lifts for the first time this season for race practice. Riders who raced round 1 in Reno were relieved not to have to climb to get practice runs in on course. Racers were able to get multiple runs in on each of the courses 3 stages. The downside to lift assisted practice is that the trails got beat up real quick. The course changed markedly from the beginning of the day to the end. Turns deteriorated into deep, deep, sand traps. The chatter of the day began with talk of lines through the rock gardens of stage 3 but as the day wore on and the sand deepened, talk shifted on techniques for keeping the shiny side up and carrying speed through the soft loose turns. All kinds of theories were floated, from laying off the front brake, running a softer rear end to keep the front end up, slowing rebound way down, all the way to rubbing some snake oil on it and sacrificial offerings to the gods of enduro.
Lauren Gregg (FOX) dialing in her line through the rock garden during practice. The rock gardens on stage 3 had people fired up, and were the site of much sessioning during practice. Gregg went on to a fifth place pro womens finish.
Lots of ladies came out to China Peak for the race. Liz Miller pinned through the soft steeps in practice.
Boostin the bridges in practice. The bottom of stage 3 was a flattish pedal out to the finish through some sharp rocks, some tight trees, and over some narrow water crossing. After nearly three miles and with pro times approaching the ten minute mark, no one looked this hyphy here during the race.
Erik Saunders of VP Components, who put on the race and is an integral part of the California Enduro Series, drops knowledge on racers during the riders meeting. He covered the usual stuff about safety, starting protocol, course marking, etc. He also let all the snipers out there know that the race organizers had gone out after practice and taped and blocked off all of the cheater lines. Sorry bout it.
No lifts on race day. Beginners climbed once, everyone else made the ascent to the top of the mountain twice. Ain't no birthday party at China Peak.
Cedar Kyes (Marin Bikes) made a good showing in the expert mens field, impressive considering he hadn't been on his bike since the last race in Reno.
Scott Chapin (Santa Cruz) and his mustache kept it casual as they dropped into the trees on stage 1. Not too casual though as they sauntered into a 4th place pro mens finish.
Jon Buckell (Incycle/ODI) showing that though he may have been rocking the lesser mustache of the mens pro podium, that a mustache aint everything, taking 3rd for the day.
Jeff Kendall-Weed (Ibis/Retro Cellars) took the monster truck right side line right through the gnashing teeth of the rock garden on stage 3. Good enough for a second place pro finish.
Jeremiah Newman (Felt/WTB) came into the rock garden on stage 3 at mach loony and absolutely crushed it, leaving spectators slack jawed and downright perplexed. His brazen bike handling brought him a first place pro finish. Cheers Jeremiah.
Jackie Swider put down power and took third place for pro women.
Rachel Throop (GT/SRAM/KENDA/TLD) had clean runs all day and took second place for pro women.
Amy Morrison (Mikes Bikes) came with the quickness and took first place in the pro womens field.
Pro men: 1st Jeremiah Newman, 2nd Jeff Kendall-Weed, 3rd Jon Buckell, 4th Scott Chapin, 5th Casey Coffman.
Ahhh yes, the selfie. Pro womens podium: 1st Amy Morrison, 2nd Rachel Throop, 3rd Jackie Swider, 4th Christine Hirst, 5th Lauren Gregg
Hella schwag for the fast folks, and $5000 pro purse. Not bad.
The post race atmosphere was kinda like this.
...and some of this.
And a bit of this. Casey Coffman kicking back after nailing down a 5th place pro finish.
Big ups to this guy, Steve Gemelos, for helping to put together the California Enduro Series. Thanks Steve.WIN A 2015 FOX 36
Aaron Bartling (Giant Team Bike & Bean) not only walked away with 2nd place in his category, he also won the brand new 2015 FOX 36 fork raffled off at the end of the race. FOX donated five of these highly anticipated forks to be raffled off—one at each CES 2014 event—with proceeds benefiting Stafford Lake Bike Park and Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (for the Soquel Demonstration State Forest flow trail project). There are three more forks to raffle off—the next one at round 3, the Northstar Livewire Classic Enduro. You need not be present to win, so support your California trail projects and take a shot at winning the hottest new fork from FOX Tickets are $5 each. Buy tickets now for the next drawing.WIN A MARIN MOUNT VISION CARBON XM8
Are you stoked on the series so far? You can help California Enduro series continue to offer world-class events by spreading the word about their Marin Bikes Mount Vision C-XM8 fundraiser raffle... and purchase a ticket or two yourself.
Marin generously donated the super light, full-carbon trail bike, which will be raffled off at the series finale, the Santa Cruz Super Enduro (need not be present to win). Tickets are $5; proceeds offset series operating costs. Purchase tickets here.
(Photo: Marin Bikes Team Factory rider Brian Astell ripping round 1 Battle Born Enduro on the Mount Vision C-XM Pro.)VP EnduroFest at China Peak results Series Standings Series Schedule Words
: Matt De YoungPhotos:
Scott McClain, Called to Creation