Superstar Weekend of Gnar at Northstar

Aug 17, 2017 at 20:54
by Michele Charboneau / Cali Enduro  
round 6 of the California Enduro Series 2017
Amy Morrison, 2016 (Called To Creation).

The 2017 Northstar Enduro – round 6 of the California Enduro Series’ fifth year – is shaping up to be a sensational weekend of racing and revelry. The sold-out two-day race coming to Northstar California Resort in Truckee August 26-27 is the second round of the CES Golden Tour, and is also an EWS qualifier and round 6 of the National Enduro Series.

The event has attracted international attention and counts among its registered riders Swiss world champion downhill racers Carolin and Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles) – affectionately known as The Gehrig Twins – who have been taking the enduro scene by storm, and are two of the top Enduro World Series (EWS) racers for the past two years.

Carolin Gehrig says, “We love the races in the US a lot and have wanted to come race CES for a while, so we’re super pumped to finally get the chance to do so at the Northstar round! We can’t wait to explore the trails in this area and race against America’s fastest girls!”

round 6 of the California Enduro Series 2017
The Gehrig Twins (Dave Trumpore).

CES is thrilled to report a record number of female racers already registered for the event, as the series is dedicated to encouraging more women to become involved in the male-dominated sport of enduro mountain bike racing. CES co-founder Megan Gemelos says, “We’re stoked to see our efforts pay off. Sixty women across all categories from beginner to pro have signed for the up Northstar event – which is nearly 15% of total registration.”

Series top 5 women Janea Perry (Marin), Zephyr Sylvester (Mike's Bikes/Yeti), Essence Barton (VP Components), Caroline Gomez-Villafane (Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) and Brianne Spiersch (Marin) are all expected to compete on the world-class Northstar gnar. Perry – who is standing in first place Pro Women overall says, “I'm feeling pretty calm and collected for the next round of CES at Northstar. Conditions are rough and dry there, so my mindset is just to have some fun and be smart!”

Golden Tour top contender Amy Morrison (Marin) is looking forward to what she considers one of her favorite races. She says, “Northstar is where I first learned to jump a bike and where consequently I have taken some of my hardest crashes. Fitness and finesse on the bike are needed to hold it together over the two-day race. I’ve yet to take a win at the CES stop at Northstar and will be looking to do this in two weeks!” Other attending pro women include Rachel Strait (GT), Teal Stetson-Lee (Scott), and Syd Schulz (Jamis). Schulz says, “I'm super excited to race in Northstar – it's a new venue for me and the finals of the National Enduro Series. Of the six NES races, five of them have been new to me and it's been awesome to push my limits on new terrain all year. Everyone has great things to say about the trails at Northstar so I'm sure it will be the perfect end to a great season. And it will be rad to have such a competitive women's field to wrap up the year.”

The pro men field is stacked as well. Four out of the five top Pro Men on the CES leaderboard are expected to race: Ryan Gardner (Kona), Cory Sullivan (Marin), Evan Geankoplis (Marin), and James Eves (Bicycle Blue Book). Unfortunately, Dillon Santos (Ibis Cycles) – top contender for the Golden Tour – was recently injured, although he plans to be at the event to cheer on his mates. Gardner is hoping to hang on to his top spot in the series overall. He says, “Northstar is going to be a battle. Probably the fastest and roughest tracks of the year and I hear quite a few fast guys will be showing up on top of the usual CES pinners. I've been getting some more time in on my bigger Process 153 rather than my go to 111 in hopes of putting up a fight.”

Marco Osborne (Cannondale/WTB) – former series regular and 2015 champ – returns to the course he seems to feel especially at home on. Osborne says, “NorthStar Enduro is a race not to be missed. The rowdy, loose terrain always makes for a proper race. With more competition showing up from around the world, things are shaping up to be a good one.”

round 6 of the California Enduro Series 2017
Marco Osborne, 2016 (Called To Creation).

International favorite – François Bailly-Maître “The Flying Frenchman” (Ibis Cycles) – was slated to race, but will instead be nursing a broken scapula after an unfortunate crash at during a Crankworx training ride at Whistler. He still plans to attend Northstar to cheer on friends and teammates, but, although expecting to recover quickly, he is naturally disappointed not to race. “I was very excited to discover this nice region. It seems very dry and rocky, at least that's what I've heard. I'll be watching the other riders as my teammates on Ibis and also Marco Osborne who will be very impressive on his home trails!”

Find more race info and map here.

Northstar California Resort is renowned for its burly, technical trails. Racers can expect long transfer climbs at altitude and steep, loose, and rocky timed stages consisting of blue, black and double-black terrain. All categories will be racing a total of six stages over two days (three stages each day), covering over 33 miles total with over 13 miles of timed racing including 7,000 feet of descent, and 19 miles of transfer including 5,100 feet of pedal powered climbing.

round 6 of the California Enduro Series 2017
2016 champ Curtis Keene (Specialized/Red Bull) is among this year's stacked pro men field (Called To Creation).

The first day of racing kicks off with a first stage that features the most natural singletrack terrain of the event. Although shorter than that of last year’s course, racers will still need to pace themselves as the stage requires the most pedaling. It’s a great warm-up run. Stage 2 welcomes all categories this year with a special section that will take Sport and Beginner racers around the infamous waterfall on Sticks and Stones. Strategic racers will reserve some energy because once off Sticks and Stones, there are still some pedally, yet fun, sections of Northstar’s lower mountain to tackle on this stage. Stage 3 takes place on Coaster, now nearly all single track with a couple of new sections that will seal the day off nicely.

Day 2 ups the ante with Stage 4. If Pro/Expert riders aren't awake for Stage 4, they will be by the time they hit the middle of it. New to the Northstar Enduro course is Dog Bone, which on its own is a beast, but with quite a bit of vertical above it, you have the ultimate race course. This is an important stage to pay attention to closely during practice. Sport/Beginners will race this stage, but are routed to a special section to get them around the gnar. Stage 5 runs on Gypsy, your standard modern day bike park trail, with wood and paver berms, jumps, and man-made armored rock gardens making park riders feel right at home. Stage 6 on Boondocks isn't going to let the Pro/Expert racers finish easy. Whatever is left in the tanks will be used to tame one of Northstar's most popular trails. The trail surface of decomposed granite is different than any other trail on the mountain, and the stage boasts both natural and man-made drops and rock gardens, giving riders a wonderful stage to finish on.

round 6 of the California Enduro Series 2017
Eric Whitaker, 2016 (Called To Creation).

Northstar Enduro Race Director, Eric Whitaker, has played a key role in all of the CES races held at Northstar. He says, “We are extremely excited to have round 6 of the California Enduro Series back here at Northstar. It is amazing to have this race as an EWS Qualifier as well as a stop on the National Enduro Series. We have been lucky enough to be a part of the CES series to see the amazing growth, not only at Northstar, but the series as a whole.” Every year, Whitaker takes on the challenge of designing a two-day race course that is slightly different, and at the same time more challenging. His main goal is to send racers home feeling accomplished and is proud to play a part in the series’ success. “I personally would like to thank Steven and Megan Gemelos as this great series would not be what it is today without them. From myself and my team at Northstar, we wish all the competitors the best of luck.”

The Northstar Enduro is spectator-friendly, so come cheer on the racers. Canyon will be on hand with its enduro bikes – the Strive and the Spectral – to demo, so don’t miss this chance to shred on an extraordinary steed. And while you’re out at the event, be sure to stop by the CES booth to check out the FOX fork raffle, DHaRCO tech tees for both men and women, and Voler CES jerseys in all mountain and cross country cuts – proceeds from which all benefit the 501(c)3 non-profit series.

Learn more about the California Enduro Series at californiaenduroseries.com.


8 Comments

  • 4 0
 Hey freaking tacocat. For a sec I thought I missed the CES race.
  • 4 0
 +1 for the statement "hey freaking tacocat"
  • 1 0
 Why would they make the courses easier for Sport and Beginner? I say give them the option to ride the original trail with a ride around if racers don't want to risk it.
  • 1 1
 Same protocol with ProGRT, and in my opinion the ride-arounds are less safe than the actual features. A wooden berm is far better to corner on than flat ground.
  • 1 0
 The sticks and stones waterfall is gnarly and there is no "ride around". The sports/beg détour is just for one short section but still hits most of the gnar stuff at Northstar
  • 1 0
 @mikericci: Sport+Beg takes Sticks and Berries to Frolick, then go back on-course at the start of woods. No waterfall for us!
  • 1 0
 @mikericci: but that waterfall is awesome and definitely within the ability of at least the sport class

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