I just finished my first Enduro World Series in Winter Park, Colorado. What a wild week! I had no idea what to expect when I hopped on the plane one week ago. The scope of my expectations basically went like this: Yeah riding and racing in a new place with fun people!
Me and my best friend. Pic by Daniel Dunn.
No one finishes an Enduro race without a story, or five. So much can happen in a few minutes of racing, let alone several. Enduro racing is all about managing chaos. Straight up though, this was the most chaotic race I have ever done in my life of racing.
Winter Park decided to have us race over 3 days and 7 stages. The bike park itself is typical bike park style berms and jumps with a couple slightly more technical tracks in the mix . . . nothing wild or big, just cruisy fun.
I gotta say, the days leading up to the race were really fun! I love riding my bike. Period. And riding with a bunch of rad girls and guys makes it even better, of course. I spent most of my time riding and practicing with fellow CDHG Vaea, Rachel Throop and Kelli Emmett . . . thanks for making it so fun.
Wolsky my travel buddy and new friend Iago chairlift shenanigans
The format was different – they would announce the tracks a couple at a time so we would train in the afternoon, race in the morning. Made for some big days. They really tried to get us off the beaten path of the bike park by putting in a usually illegal trail – for this one we only got one practice lap in. You’d think that a lift access Enduro would be easy, ha. The combo of 10,000 feet elevation and flat tracks made it so physical.
I say, for the most part, the stages were fun, and sure maybe quite characteristic of a bike park, but that is what this area had to offer. I think they tried a little too hard to create a ‘new’ experience by having us race that illegal trail – which in my opinion was similar to riding in an ashtray but hey, that’s what they decided to do. I have a much stronger opinion about Stage 6 – which was the most horrific, lame, boring, flat, disappointing, stupid and every other bad word you can think of trail I have ever ridden. Not alone in these thoughts that’s for sure, as I know some racers tried their best to get it taken out. Unfortunately, this track (and perhaps a couple other organizational issues . . . ) left a really bad taste in the opinion holders mouths and so I doubt an EWS will come back here again.
Stage 6. Glasses with a full face? Yep, just as lame as the stage! Pic by Daniel Dunn.
Anyways. Back to me :). I won’t bother with the details of my chaos cause that’s boring and no one really cares anyways. All I need to say is I had enough mechanicals to last me a long time, one of which could not be fixed. Bummer, yes. I remained positive, but it became hard to stay motivated. It actually became funny at times, and mind boggling to my fellow competitors . . . I’d get the “Really??”.
Our category started with a strong field of 39 competitors that eventually got whittled away to 32. Every single girl who competed is a phenomenal rider; the level is impressive and inspiring. I finished 16th.
Interestingly to some, I’m not holding any disappointment whatsoever. No, things didn’t go picture perfect but really, it doesn’t matter. If it did, I’d have far bigger issues than some measly mechanicals! I rode my bike. With great people. In a new place. It’s just mountain biking. And it’s supposed to be fun :)
I need to give an extra special thanks to Mavic for helping me deal with all my mechanicals . . . Maybe just another weekend for them, but honestly I wouldn’t have made it to the end of the race without their support.
I’d also like to send some speedy healing thoughts to Brittany Clawson, who had a huge crash on the final day. We can’t wait to race and ride with you again.