Ed. Note: I received a great contribution from Andrew Juiliano this weekend. Juiliano is a mountain biker by trade and he ventured into SoCal for some racing. Hopefully he’ll contribute a few more articles on some of the NorCal events on the calendar.
Story by: Andrew Juiliano
Photos by: Daniel Dunn and Max Houtzager
LOS OLIVOS, CA — The second stop of the California Enduro Series, drew nearly 170 participants, and included more than 35 professional men and women competing for an equal split of the $2,000 cash purse. As the alpenglow faded from the slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Aaron Bradford (BMC Trail Crew) paused from his can of PBR to reflect on the day’s event. “This is how you put on an Enduro event. You charge a reasonable fee, then feed the racers with free tri-tip and beer after a full day of racing. I’d recommend it to anyone.” Although the rolling grass hills of the Dirt Club palled in comparison to the dramatic backdrop of the San Rafael Wilderness, race organizers utilized the available terrain to construct varied and challenging courses. Bradford explained, “Although the runs were short, the features and tracks proved fast and fun…before you know it, you are high fivin’ your bros at the bottom and heading back up to the top for more.”
The four hour day of racing consisted of eight timed runs and a greater amount of high fives. NorCal’s finest held off the hard charging contingent of racers from down south to claim the top podium spots. Marco Osborne (Cannondale OverMountain) and Aaron Bradford (BMC Trail Crew) finished the day first and second, respectively. In the pro women’s race, Ariana Altier (ONE/TNT Athletic) finished fourth and Jay Melena (Unattached) took home a sixth place spot.
Enduro events are structured similar to rally car racing, with un-timed “liaison” stages and timed “special” stages. Riders pedal to the top of the course then run time trials on primarily downhill tracks. The lowest combined time at the end of the day wins. The new competitive style seeks to reward the best all around rider who possesses both fitness (for the climbing) and bike handling (on descents). Event participation, in the new discipline, grows from event to event, thanks to the format which appeals to both cross country and gravity riders, alike.
This year’s VP Components/Kali Enduro drew more than double the number of racers from last year’s event. As interest grows for the new racing style, more local races and series emerge. In the Golden State, the California Enduro Series took off as the regional organization to help foster the growth of the new mountain biking discipline.
“The series aims to help spread the new format by providing the logistical infrastructure for grassroots event development,” explained Steve Gemelos, director of the CES, “By supporting local clubs and groups, we can help them put on events to raise money for trail projects while helping grow the sport and unify communities of mountain bikers.”
The CES travels north for the next stop at China Peak on June 29th while the series finale, Santa Cruz Super Enduro, heads to Soquel Demonstration Forest on October 12-13.
VP Components/Kali Enduro Results
- Marco Osborne (Cannondale OverMountain)
- Aaron Bradford (BMC Trail Crew)
- Tom Doran (Art’s Cyclery)
- Ryan Gardner (Kona/Gardner Racing)
- Anthony Medgalia (SRAM)
- Margaret Gregory (Don’s Bikes)
- Holly Breck (SC Velo/InCycle)
- Jenna Kowalski (Cynergy Cycles)
- Ariana Alier (ONE/TNT Athletic)
- Jackie Swider (Art’s Cyclery)
- Jay Melena (Unattached)
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