TDS Enduro 2017 – The Best Mountain Bike Race, Ever

May 10, 2017 at 13:53
by Colin Meagher  



Views: 4,973    Faves: 30    Comments: 0


The same weekend as the Lourdes World Cup DH opener saw the annual running of the TDS Enduro Race—what may be one of the best Enduro events ever. What makes it so special? Think of a race every bit as technically challenging as an EWS race but with all the good times and humor found when riding with just your friends. That's not to slam the EWS at all; it's just that an EWS has a lot of pomp and circumstance surrounding it, as befits the top tier of enduro mountain bike racing. But there's very little of that glitz to be found at the TDS. It's just hard racing on trails built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers with just enough "loose dog" thrown in to make it amazingly fun. And the racing is serious: a top placing at the TDS is every bit as legit as placing well in Tasmania or any of the other far-flung destinations of the EWS. It's just that the TDS is the kind of event you'd find in your own backyard. If your own backyard was the Sanchez network outside of Grass Valley, CA, that is.

Private Property. Respect the rules.
Private Property. Respect the rules. You want to ride here? Do your part and dig and give back. There is no free ride here.


The format is simple: Friday is a pell-mell scramble to pre-ride the rat's nest of trails that lace the Sanchez Compound just outside of Grass Valley, CA. Due to the interlacing of trails and the shuttle service via Polaris ORV Ranger side by side vehicles, only certain trails can be open for training at certain times. Were they all open, the very real possibility of high-speed collisions would exist. So riders can link up and train on only certain runs at certain times. After a few hours of training, those trails close and new ones open. Since the two days of racing see riders tackling 14 different stages that vary in length from 2:30 to 4:30, things can get tricky on training day. To say it's hard to wrap your brain around it all would be an understatement.

 Where the F--k do we go now Liz Miller and Joanna Petterson exchanging notes on trail links during the full tilt boogie of the TDS Enduro s practice on Friday.
"Where the f*ck do we go now?" "How about we do 'Coors Light' so we can hit 'Bloody Knuckles' again." Tasha Thomas and Joanna Petterson exchanging notes on trail links during the full tilt boogie of the TDS Enduro's practice on Friday.

Training and trail selection A typical training run consists of following say the Miller s can and dropping in on Hey Buddy to Casey s to Moose Knuckle to Axe Grinder. Or Upper and Lower Casey s to Moose Knuckle to Angry Dolphin to Cupcake. It s definitely a game of choose your own adventure when you drop into the TDS Enduro.
Training and trail selection brilliance; a typical training run consists of following, say, the Miller's Beer can, and dropping in on 'Hey Buddy' to 'Casey's' to 'Moose Knuckle' to 'Axe Grinder'. Or follow the Mickey's Beer can and do Upper and Lower 'Casey's' to 'Moose Knuckle' to 'Angry Dolphin' to 'Cupcake'. Sound confusing? It is, but just follow the beer cans designation and it'll all work out. But it's definitely a game of choose your own adventure during practice.

All this racing evolved from a dozen and a half good ol' boys and girls schralping trails and drinking beer around a bonfire on the Sanchez Compound years ago. From that was born the first TDS Enduro. Since then, with the continued guidance of the Sanchez family providing direction and the support of many key sponsors in the local and the mountain bike communities, the TDS has grown from a simple affair to a bucket list item akin to winning a ticket to Willie Wonka's chocolate factory.

Team Semper Fi with Mark Weir and Ron Sanchez. These are a crew that s been there and done that. Many have PTSD or traumatic physical injuries. But coming to the TDS and being just another racer or just another fan Priceless. Plus it allowed them to preview trails that they d be taking riding clinics on the week following the TDS.
Team Semper Fi members with Mark Weir and Ron Sanchez. These are a crew that's been there and done that. Many have PTSD or traumatic physical injuries. But coming to the TDS and being just another racer or just another fan? Priceless.

A special shout out this year goes to team Semper Fi. The Semper Fi Fund is a four star rated non-profit organization formed to assist injured vets from all branches of the US Military and their families as they recover from injuries and transition back into civilian life. One of the ways they do that is to provide sports and recreation outlets (like mountain biking) for the veterans in their care via sports camps that teach recovering vets how to pursue recreational sports like mountain biking despite traumatic injury—many of the camp attendees are missing limbs or face other handicaps in pursuing a return to recreating as a civilian. At the behest of Sam Tickle, the Team Semper Fi MTB director, Team Semper Fi scheduled a ride clinic on the TDS trails immediately following the enduro. As an appetizer, the team attended the race, with two Team Semper Fi members racing and the remainder opting to spectate. It was great to see the racers and the fans of TDS alike welcome them to the event.

You want traction You can t handle the traction Said no one during Friday s practice. velcrodirt
Practing for the 2017 The Dirty Sanchez enduro held on Private Land outside of Grass Valley

bigquotesYou want traction? You can't handle the traction.

Party train practice laps were the flavor on Friday. With such limited time to dial in all the tracks riders went for the training trains to get in as many laps as possible. Nevermind the fact that with the rats nest of trails at the Sanchez compound that unless you re a builder come race day it s gonna be multiple guess for all but a few critical stages.
Party train practice laps were the flavor on Friday. Riders were getting in as many training laps as they could; partly in an effort to get tracks dialed in, but mostly because it was a brown pow kind of day: the dirt was so good that the term "velcro dirt" best described the grip in the corners during practice. Plus, the reality of the situation is that with the rat's nest of trails at the Sanchez compound, without a LOT of training runs, on race day it'll be a game of multiple guesses unless you've put your time in. Sure, certain sections of trail like "Vigilante" and "Godfather" are hard to forget, but even Ron Sanchez admits he'll occasionally get turned around on a ride.

Shuttles courtesy of Polaris... the access roads at the TDS venue are anything but shuttle vehicle friendly. Unless you re on a modified side-by-side. Capable of carrying up to 6 bikes these are the way to get in laps at the TDS practice and during the race.
Shuttles courtesy of Polaris ORV... the access roads at the TDS venue aren't proper roads so much as they're steep, road-width paths hacked out of the surrounding mix of manzanita, pine, and poison oak. They're anything but shuttle vehicle friendly. Unless your shuttle rig is a modified Polaris Ranger capable of carrying up to six bikes and riders at a pop. These little babies are absolutely the way to get in those laps.

Marin s Cory Sullivan diving into Godfather.
Cory Sullivan diving into Godfather, one of the more memorable tracks at the TDS. So much of the trails are composed of high-speed toboggan runs down manicured berms that when you come into something like "Godfather", with it's craggy, sharp, basalt steps mixed with off-camber corners, it's a bit of a shock to the system.

Hurts so good--Bobbie carcassed hard on the brief Vigilante Trail practice near the day s end and put a fun tattoo into his palm. He d race stages 1 thru 5 but ultimately he d DNF. Next year Bobbie next year.
Hurts so good—Bobbie Chandler carcassed hard on the brief "Vigilante Trail" practice near the day's end and put a fun tattoo into his palm. He'd race stages one through five on Saturday, but ultimately he DNF'd after a rough encounter with a tree on the bottom of "Oak Shaft". Next year, Bobbie, next year.

Again Old Republic Brewery was part of the party supplying a pre-race pre funk location following practice and on site libations for those of legal drinking age.
Again, Ol Republic Brewing was part of the party, supplying a post practice/pre-race soiree at the brewery with food trucks and a tasty selection of beverages on hand. Race days saw goggle man cans of IPA dispensed on site for those of legal drinking age in exchange for donations for trail upkeep. My personal choice? "Chocolypto": an imperial stout aged in tequila barrels.


On site camping. Or on-site Glamping You decide. But the deluxe Tepui cargo rack tents make me err on the glamping side of the equation. Sure you can get a hotel if you want but should you get an invite to TDS camping life is the way to go for the full experience. Yes you get drunken revelery until O dark thirty every night but you also get a ringside seat on what a dozen and a half guys started with some trails and a bonfire years ago TDS Enduro.
I ll take that pre-race meal sunny side up.

On site camping. Or on-site Glamping? You decide. But the deluxe Tepui cargo rack tents make me err on the glamping side of the equation. Sure, you can get a hotel if you want, but should you get an invite to TDS, camping life is the way to go for the full experience. Yes, you get drunken revelry until O'dark thirty every night, but you also get a ringside seat on what a dozen and a half guys started with some trails and a bonfire years ago. Plus jumps. And shenanigans. And there's no better way to wake up than the smell of bacon frying.

Race day came way too early for Nathan Riddle not enough coffee to fuel up the Santa Cruz WTB hard man.
Race day came way too early for Nathan Riddle: there wasn't quite enough coffee on tap to fuel up the Santa Cruz/WTB hard man first thing in the am—better go get a second cup.

Little known fact the TDS Enduro started as The Dirty Sachez ala the fact that it s put on and held due to the hard work and tireless MTB advocacy of the Sanchez family. The early years saw run under the title of the Dirty Sanchez and die hard fans keep to that theme.
Die hard fans come to the party ready for action.

So how you wanna do this Bromance at it s best. TDS is the brain child of these two tireless MTB racing advocates Ron Sanchez and Mark Weir hashing out detais prior to the main event.
Ron Sanchez discussing race format at the pre-race meeting. It s mostly common sense but there s some important info dispensed too skip that meeting at your own expense.
"So... how you wanna do this?" Bromance at its best. TDS is the brainchild of these two tireless MTB racing advocates: Ron Sanchez and Mark Weir hashing out details prior to the main event. It's mostly common sense but there's some important info dispensed, too; skip that meeting at your own expense. Uncle Ron and the Weir Wolf want everyone to have a good, safe racing experience, but they'll only tell you the rules once. So listen up.

Hi Tech gate starts... For real. Timing chips on the forks handle real time timing but racers need a start hence the rubber band start line.
Hi Tech gate starts... For real. Timing chips on the forks handle real-time timing; but racers need a "start", hence the rubber band start line.

Practing for the 2017 The Dirty Sanchez enduro held on Private Land outside of Grass Valley

The man to beat plate number one and burgeoning EWS super star Marco Osborne sending it on his Cannonale Jekyll.

Time checks... How do you stack up After every stage not a single racer could stay away from the live timing feed.
Post stage down time it s what makes enduro racing so damn good.

Antoine Caron somewhere on Axe Grinder.

Joanna Petterson dropping into stage 5 of day 2.

Bloody nose ala bloody knuckles.
The immortal Goggle Man of Buddy Newman lives on.

Marco Osborne railing the inside line on Oak Shaft .
"Oak Shaft" done right...

Bobbie Chandler with a narrow escape on Oak Shaft . Nearly 50 of the racers got up close and personal with this good sized ponderosa pine tree.
...and "Oak Shaft" done wrong.

Dynaplug was the way to go at TDS. Nearly every racer came across one or more of the finish lines with Tire Sealant spewing everywhere. Brice Shirbach used 3 plugs to seal up this gaping wound dished out on stage 2 of day 2. And it was good enough to hold all day.
Dynaplug was the way to go at TDS. Nearly every racer came across one or more of the finish lines with tire sealant spewing everywhere. Brice Shirbach used three plugs to seal up this gaping wound dished out on Stage 2 of day one. And it was good enough to hold all day long.

Post race pies courtesy of the Pizza company. Beer pizza and good times kinda go hand in hand after all.
Post race pies courtesy of the Pizza Company. Beer, pizza, and good times kinda go hand in hand, after all.

Seth from Camelbak makes a mean Tri Tip roast... Want it. Want it. YES Want more...
Every dog has his day, though. Especially when Seth from Camelbak is cooking tri-tip on the grill.

From a dozen and half guys with beer bikes and a bonfire the TDS has shed it s pimples and headed to upper class education. This year s edition saw a Whip off contest open to any and all racers. Jon Buckle sent it sideways and then some to take home the bacon.
From a dozen and a half guys with beer, bikes, and a bonfire, the TDS has shed its pimples and headed to upper-class education. This year's edition saw a Whip Off contest open to any and all racers. Jon Buckle sent it sideways more so than most to take home the bacon.

Loading up for the giddy up.
Loading up for the giddy up. Camelbak came through with a do-it-yourself breakfast burrito buffet open to all racers for the start of day two.

Day 2 started with a bang the finals at the Lourdes WC streaming live at the breakfast buffet.
Many racers got fired up by watching the live stream of the finals of the Lourdes WC at the breakfast buffet. Ahh, technology.

There are war stories...
And there are war stories. Team Semper Fi came out to cheer on their own as well as all the racers.

There are war stories, and there are war stories. Many a racer at the TDS was happy to be alive after Saturday's punishment, but many of the spectators were just as happy to be alive to watch the racing. That's exactly the reason team Semper Fi opted to come to the TDS this year.

Even with a 22 second cushion heading into Day 2 Marco Osborne kept it all business.
Even with a 22-second cushion heading into day two, Marco Osborne kept it all business. He may have stayed up until the wee hours toasting smores at the bonfire, but that was the extent of whooping it up for the racer sporting the number one plate. And like every other racer at the event, Marco opted to wear the American Flag Sock Guy socks as a way to show solidarity and respect to the Team Semper Fi members racing and spectating at the event.

Liz Cunningham rocking her race vibe vai the fanny pack boom box.
Duncan Nason holding his line on the bottom of upper Godfather Trail.

TDS Enduro 2017

Number one on a Mountain Bike in Taiwan and all points within a few hours plane flight Danny Chiang. He s the reigning Asian XC DH and Enduro champ. And last year s TDS race was too much fun for him to turn down an invite for 2017.

Imagery from the first day of racing at the Dirty Sanchez enduro--an invitational event held just outside of Grass Valley CA
Goggle man forever.

 Go Mason GO was the only cheer heard on Redbeard Trail.

TDS Enduro 2017

Day 2 of the 2017 TDS Invitational Enduro held just outside of Grass Valley CA
Day 2 of the 2017 TDS Invitational Enduro held just outside of Grass Valley CA

Somethings seen during the TDS Enduro simply cannont be unseen.
Some things seen during the TDS Enduro simply cannot be unseen.

When it's all said and done, racers took on thirteen stages (one stage was nullified) and spent anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes on the clock. Good times were had. Beers were drunk. A friendly spliff or two may have been passed. Crashes happened. More than one racer went cartwheeling through the "oakpocalypse" of poison oak from the winter rain. There was the multiple bike pile up on "Broke Back" a la the Tour De France. But everyone came away with a grin. As day two wound down to awards, it was plain to see why Marco Osborne—a guy who's raced all over the globe—would call this the best mountain bike race ever. I will be back next year, that's for sure.

Selected volounteers were awarded an Onyx Hub laser etched with Buddy Newman s signature and his Goggle man logo.
Selected volunteers were awarded an Onyx Hub laser etched with Buddy Newman's signature and his Goggle man logo.

How do you win the spirit leader award at TDS You go hard everywhere. Aaron Bradford not only raced hard he partied hard and he got shit done as a Shimano race tech putting fellow racer s bikes in line ahead of his en route to a blood shot 25th place. Not too shabby for a guy turning wrenches full time for Shimano and Modus Shimano s NorCal Rep .
How do you win the spirit leader award at TDS? You go hard everywhere. Aaron Bradford not only raced hard, he partied hard, and he got shit done as a Shimano race tech, putting fellow racer's bikes in line ahead of his en route to a bloodshot 25th place. Not too shabby for a guy turning wrenches full time for Shimano and Modus Sport Group.

Women s top 3 L-R Ariana Altier 3 Joanna Petterson 1 and Amy Morrison 2 .
Women's top three (LtoR): Ariana Altier (3), Joanna Petterson (1), and Amy Morrison (2).

Men s top four L-R Mason Bond 4 Danny Chiang 2 Marco Osborne 1 and Scott Countryman 3 .
Men's top four (LtoR): Mason Bond (4), Danny Chiang (2), Marco Osborne (1), and Scott Countryman (3).

And that's a wrap. Special thanks to the Sanchez family for once again killing it, as well as the following groups and organizations that made this event what it is:

Winderness Trail Bikes
Ol Republic Brewery
Camelbak
Polaris ORV
Clif Bar Company
Tour of Nevada City
Cannondale
Fox Racing Shox
Team Soulid
Sock Guy
Nature's Bakery
Camp Chef
G-Form Protection
E-13 Components
Sacramento Cyclocross
Auburn Bike Company
Semper Fi Fund
Violich Farms
Dunn Vineyards
Thule Racks
Red Bull
Onyx Racing
DG Prints
Telestream
Dynaplug
Fit Culture Studio
Santo Mezquila
Loam Coffee
Tecnu Outdoor
Manito Construction
Modus Sport Group
and Hills Flat Lumber.


MENTIONS: @meagerdude



44 Comments

  • + 16
 How does one go about getting on this invite list? This looks like a blast. Awesome write up.
  • + 2
 Absolutely. Looks like the best kind of MTB race - one that doesn't take itself too seriously.
  • + 13
 I love larry 3
  • + 7
 I love you too!!!! 3
  • + 4
 @larryssman7: do you still gargle?
  • + 12
 This is what MTB should be all about. Great article.
  • + 6
 Scott Country man helped fix my bike at the Zombie goat enduro, but now I have a full suspension. Thanks bro. Keep Shredding hard.
  • + 7
 now that's a party in the woods.
  • + 5
 I winced at the photo of the rider in the pink shorts about to go out the front door ( www.pinkbike.com/photo/14711633 )
  • + 2
 The second picture (of the two girls talking) isn't Liz Miller and Joanna Petterson - it's Tasha Thomas on the left and whoever is on the right side @meagerdude
  • + 2
 That's Tasha and Jo.
  • + 4
 I HAVE TO MOVE TO AN AREA AS RAD AS THAT SOMEDAY!!!
  • + 4
 An enduro race that American's can be proud of.
  • + 2
 There's a whole lotta butt smackin' going on in dat der video. Just sayin'.
  • + 2
 Proud to be a part of the best race and heckle fests on this planet!!! TDS 2018 or bust!!!
  • + 3
 Simply the BEST on every level.
  • + 3
 SEND IT RANDY Honestly it's my dream to race this one year!
  • + 1
 Rannnnnnddyyy
  • + 2
 That, flat out, looks like the most fun enduro race...ever.
  • + 2
 The Wizard for the WIN!!!!!!
  • + 2
 Bucket list race for sure!
  • + 2
 SUUUPER SICK WEEKEND!! Looking forward to next year!!
  • + 1
 Was truly awesome to watch, next year I want to camp so I get the full experience.
  • + 2
 Yeah Scott Countryman! Representin flag
  • + 2
 The girl showing the pizza, I want some of that.
  • - 1
 both of them
  • + 1
 Racing is by invite, what about watching?
  • + 3
 open to all spectators!
  • + 1
 @littlejoker: Living in Tahoe and spending some time in Nevada City, this seems to be the perfect Spring event, wish I would have known about this a month ago!
  • + 1
 The whole thing looks like a blast!
  • + 1
 Oh I miss racing so much..
  • + 2
 Orale Chingon!
  • + 1
 Best race ever hands down!!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Love the title, best event of the year!
  • + 1
 That thong th thong thong thong!!
  • + 0
 Awesome race. Invite only though, not awesome.
  • + 1
 That looks awesome
  • + 1
 One day! #bucketlist
  • + 1
 want
  • + 1
 Outstanding
  • + 1
 now thats an event!
  • + 0
 a little maiden never hurt no one
  • - 3
 Going by the moustaches at the start I thought this was going to be some sort of brokeback mountain type video
  • + 6
 There is a trail called that at the ranch haha

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