SANDY, OR - http://oregonenduro.com/Stages 4,5,6,7 @ Sandy Ridge.
Today started out much like the past 3 days , with a climb up a paved road for about 2,000 feet to get to the start of stage 4. It's gradual, but constant 40- 60 minutes, then an additional 10-15 min of steep single track. Kinda sweet to get most of the climbing outta the waythough knowing the decent will be long and prosperous:) Thats how it's done in the N-DUB.
7 stages provides tons of riding, but it's a tricky getting enough practice to remember where you are going. Mission to get to the trails sometimes. This was my first enduro, fresh off a broken arm, so quite a big week of back to back riding/racing in the heat. Not hard, just a lot of saddle time. Maybe it's worse when you know someone has a key to the gate, and the road is prime for shuttles- just a different style I suppose. Something to do with the watershed up top? They did provide shuttles for the cat 2 and 3 guys in the morning, which was nice, but pros are tougher than that:) Think I saw 94 degrees at one point on friday.
Anyway, these stages at Sandy were a lot more skilled based, rather than yesterday's straight-line pedalfest. Lost of pumpy flowy stuff, but the grade wasn't that steep, so constantly putting in the hard pedals and using the Kronolog dropper post when it counted.
I had ridden Sandy before, and knew it was a good spot for me. Kelli Emmett has such incredible fitness that I had to go hard and make all the corners and pumps count. I won 3 out of the 4 stages today, but got a flat tire in the middle of stage 4 through the upper rock garden, and it took forever to change and pump it up to get rolling again. I lost 6-8 minutes right there. Watched 4 or 5 girls ride past me, so that was it. I still had a great time riding, and ended up 6th maybe? Think yesterday I got 2nd in two stages and won stage 3 as well. The strava battles were pretty fun too.
The hot tip on set up is to go tubeless and have a spare tube taped to the frame with the skinny co2 cartridge. I have never used one of those, so yeah, next time. Racing with a pack is kinda bumming, but at least you got all your spare crap and water. I went through a gallon of water per day. Nuun tablets are good too, they don't leave any residue in the bladder and you get the electrolytes.
On the racing front, Josh Carlson smashed it for the men. He pretty much killed the first stage by like 30 seconds, and maintained a gap from there on out. He's a solid rider, with some aussie flair. Keene took 2nd, even with a crash. There was this step up jump at the end of stage 5 that had a massive g out going in, he lost the front end in the G out and slammed his face into the vert lip, 25 feet away from the finish line too . Slaven 3rd - super local and pinned.
These races are slightly gnarly, wearing an xc lid going that fast. Something other than those ugly Urge enduro helmets need to be created for these events for safety and style. Where are industrial designers when you need em?
Not sure where enduro events are heading in the US, seems pretty raw still, but there is a niche, lots of participants, and everyone enjoys the riding when trails are good. They don't really time the transfers at these, so it's pretty lax. Ipad timing, press start whenever you show up. Timing beams are where its at, so hopefully they can get that going for next time to have less issues adding things up.
So many fit people at these things that you have never heard of. Trail riders lurking in the woods. Met a lot of new people, which was cool. Kind of an older crowd, mostly 30's. Quite a few industry people as well. Specialized guys were on a bit of a road trip to check these events out. Their boy Curtis Keene the american dream won a title in North American Enduro. Overall series for the oregon thing went to josh though.
Sponsors put some decent money into this series, based on the giveaways and fact that there were very minimal expenses to run this. Not much of a scene or media, Hard to watch too, just more about doing them to experience. And entering in a raffle to win a carbon nomad, go pros, teva shoes, forks, etc and other sweet prizes. I got some tasty Mojo bars :)
Here are the results. times are a little screwed up I think. They got Kelli's name wrong, so her first stage wasn't included or something. Dunno about the rest.