PRESS RELEASE: California Enduro Series presented by Specialized
Photos by BixxelMarco Osborne, Ashland Mountain Challenge Pro Men Champ.
The California Enduro Series
wrapped its 2023 season with the ever-exceptional Ashland Mountain Challenge
this past Saturday, September 30 just over the California border in Ashland, Oregon. The fast and flowy trails of Mount Ashland set the stage for this wildly popular, regularly sold-out race presented by Wild Rogue Events.Marco Osborne
landed the top step of the Pro Men's podium, while Porsha Murdock
took it for Pro Women. Porsha Murdock, Ashland Mountain Challenge Pro Women Champ.Practice Laps
Riders began flowing into the quaint town of Ashland mid-week, most with family and friends in tow. Cool, wet weather made for sweet practice laps on tacky dirt, and visitors and locals alike happily dug into the quaint town’s wide range of culinary and cultural delights.Race Day
Heavy overnight rain saturated the trails, and continued into the early morning hours on race day. Beginner and Sport
riders – who would race their five stages in numerical order – kicked off their race down in Lithia Park (situated at about 2,000 feet) with a hearty singletrack climb to their first run of the day, Stage 1.
Meanwhile, Pro and Expert
riders shuttled or otherwise caught a lift to the top of Mt A for their mostly-downhill transfer to the top of Stage 3; they would race their stages in this order: 3, 4, 5, 1, and 2. Starting out at 6,000 feet, the transfer to Stage 3 proved to be mighty cold and wet, and even saw a brief flurry of snow.
The loamy tracks higher on the mountain couldn’t soak up the rain fast enough, making riders work a bit harder than they would in dry conditions. On the other hand, though, lower elevation terrain is made up of decomposed granite (DG), which infinitely soaks up moisture for absolutely phenomenal riding conditions.
So, depending on which category you raced, your day either kicked off with some cold, sloggy work and culminated with some of the best riding conditions there could be, or vice versa. Either way, ear-to-ear grins on mud-splattered faces testified to a great day on the mountain for all.StagesStage 1
showcased Wasabi, a trail fairly new to the Ashland Watershed. “Spicy green,” this mountain bike-specific, downhill-only run featured lots of fun berms and a handful of optional techy features.
From the bottom of Stage 1, riders made the relatively quick pedal to the top of Stage 2
which ran on BTI, an old-school Ashland classic. This short but oh-so-sweet stage boasted big grippy berms to rally and tight tricky corners to sprint out of. Both Stage 1 and Stage 2 boasted that prime DG for sublime traction.
High up the mountain, on the east side of the watershed, the highly physical Stage 3
linked up Lower Bull Gap with both the upper and lower sections of Missing Link. Flat but normally fast stretches of trail transformed to “slow lane” with all the rain, keeping legs and lungs working hard. Additionally, chunky rocks, roots, tight corners, and sweeping berms kept riders on their game. This long run was designated as the FOX Queen Stage
in which the racer from each category with the fastest time received bonus points toward the overall ranking.
From the bottom of Stage 3, riders made their way to the top of spicy Stage 4,
which took place on Marty’s. This track delivered some seriously steep sketch on seriously heroic dirt – sheer fun for some, intimidating for others, and thrilling for all.
A quick pedal transfer brought riders to the top of Stage 5
which took place on Lizard and Jabberwocky. This stage was all about pumping and flow, making the most out of rollers, tables, and banked berms on primo DG.Jake Keller, Pro Men 2nd placeEvan Geankoplis, Pro Men 3rd placeJames Eves, Pro Men 4th placeJT Fisher, Pro Men 5th placeEssence Florie, Pro Women 2nd placeCarina Claassen, Pro Women 3rd placeJade Savage, Pro Women 4th placeMyrriah Covarrubias, Pro Women 5th placeAaron Weiss, Junior Pro Men U21 ChampJacob Dore, Master Pro Men 40+ ChampAshland Vibes
The Ashland Mountain Challenge showcases two of Ashland’s most scenic and iconic spots: Mount Ashland and Lithia Park. The event featured its illustrious PBJ sandwich bar (yes, it’s that good!) and a lively awards ceremony followed the race.
Wild Rogue Events provided each racer with a meal voucher for their choice of either Falafel Republic or Burrito Republic plus a drink voucher for Gil's … all the more reason to hang out in this charming town at the end of a wild and fun race season!
Special shout out to the Highway 68 Hillbillies
for their impeccable timing support. The AMC wouldn’t be the same without these dedicated volunteers who make the trip up from California’s central coast to help out year after year.
View results here
.Pro Men Podium: 1st Marco Osborne, 2nd Jake Keller, 3rd Evan Geankoplis, 4th James Eves, 5th JT FisherPro Women Podium: 1st Porsha Murdock, 2nd Essence Florie, 3rd Carina Claassen, 4th Jade Savage, 5th Myrriah CovarrubiasPro podium shenanigans.CES co-founder and director Steve Gemelos with the day's FOX fork winner Jason Morvay. The event's Transfer seat post winner Ezra Stevenson was absent, but a friend enthusiastically represented him. A FOX 36/38 fork are raffled off at each CES race, thanks to FOX's generous support of the series.2023 Series Champs
A shout of congratulations to this season’s series champs Evan Geankoplis (on his third championship in a row now) and Essence Florie!
Joining Geankoplis in the top five Pro Men overall are Erik Szayna in 2nd, Jake Keller in 3rd, Marco Osborne in 4th, and Jacob Downey in 5th.
Accompanying Florie in the top five Pro Women overall are Abby Call in 2nd, Carina Claassen in 3rd, Sydney Phillips in 4th, and Myrriah Covarrubias in 5th.
View series overall individual results for all categories here
.2023 Team Champs
Congrats as well to Scotts Valley Cycle Sport for defending their championship title in the team competition. Northstar TNT took 2nd, Ultimate Flow 3rd, MTB NorCal 4th, and Chico MTB Rippers 5th. Thank you all for racing!
View all team results here
.2023 FOX Stage Wins
In addition to the FOX Queen Stage that added bonus points to the series overall standings to the winner of the stage in each category, FOX awarded a Transfer dropper post to both the amateur male and amateur female racer with the most stage wins at the end of the season.
James Bradley (Men 60+) won for amateur male with 21 stage wins out of the 30 stages that made up the six races of the 2023 CES season for his category, while Daisy James (Expert Women) won for amateur female with 16 out of 29. View all 2023 FOX Stage Wins here
Huge thanks to CES title sponsor Specialized
for again donating a brand new mountain bike to be raffled off this season in support of the series. ENTER for the chance to win either the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert or Stumpjumper EVO Expert - winner's choice. The winning tickets will be pulled at the end of the CES 2023 season on October 31, 2023. Tickets are $5 each, or five for $20 and twelve for $40. You need not be present to win, and the bike can be shipped anywhere. Get tickets here
CES is a for riders, by riders non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting world-class enduro events that everyone from amateur to pro can enjoy, at a geographically diverse range of venues. Full CES schedule at californiaenduroseries.com
CES is made possible by the generous sponsorship of industry and community businesses. The series is grateful for the continued support of title sponsor Specialized, official suspension sponsor FOX, Race Face, WTB, Voler, Cranked Naturals, Michael David Winery, and Adventure Sports Journal.
If you’d like to get involved and be part of CES’ exciting 2024 season, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more at californiaenduroseries.com