California Enduro Series Race #1 – Battle Born Enduro

June 7th was the first round in the California Enduro Series. I will be racing all of these races, and I hope to place well overall in the series.

This round was located at Peavine Mountain in Reno, Nevada.  Reno is not a place that I would expect to find mountain bike trails, but it looks like there are some! It is also interesting that the first round of the California Enduro Series is in another state, but Reno is only a few minutes from the border.

I do not currently have an “enduro” bike, so I rented a Specialized StumpJumper FSR Expert Carbon Evo 29 from my local bike shop, Scotts Valley Cycle Sport. The bike ended up being a perfect choice for the course, as the trails did not require a lot of suspension travel.

The course consisted of four timed descents,with the pro and expert categories racing a fifth stage. The junior category completed the four stage course which made up about 25 miles and 3500 feet of climbing.

We pre rode the exposed desert course on Friday, with the race being on Saturday. The course started out with an eight mile climb to the start of stage one. This climb took over an hour to complete, so the race definitely required fitness. Oh, and did I mention that the majority of the course was singletrack!

Stage one was my favorite part of the course. It had lots of flowy corners, and required the least pedaling out of the four stages.

Next was a few minutes of climbing up to the start of the second stage. The second stage started with lots of tight, technical turns. It then dropped down on a fire road, up a small climb, and finished with a flat, high speed section. This stage was challenging because the bottom was so fast, yet it required a lot of pedaling.

There was another long climb going up to the third stage, but it was not as long as the initial climb. The third stage was my least favorite. It started out with a series of tight, flat switchbacks. After that it was mostly pedally, loose, and off camber. This stage was hard, and not a very enjoyable trail.

The final climb up to stage four was an easy one. It was short and pretty flat. The stage started with a couple of awkward table top jumps. I did not like these because the lips were too steep. It was then a straightaway before turning into the mountain and going uphill. You then round a switchback and ride the trail down a canyon. At one point, there is a turn that brings you from the right side of the canyon to the left side, which was very easy to miss and go off course!

Saturday was race day, and I was very impressed with the organization of the event. The races in the series all have independent organizations who put on the races, and I must give it up to the organizers of this one!

I started riding with the first wave off riders to hit the course so I did not get caught up in too many lines. I climbed up to the top of the mountain at a steady pace, but got a little bit tired near the top. At the top I filled up my bottle with more water and got in line for stage one. I felt good on the first stage, but a couple of things slowed me down. The first being a gully where you would ride from one wall to the other, crossing over multiple times. These turns where awkward, but I definitely think that I could have gotten through them faster with better technique. The second thing that interrupted me was passing the rider who had started in front of me. I passed pretty quickly, but it could have gone faster.

The second stage was difficult, but felt pretty good. I good through the upper turns with good technique, and felt strong up the climb. The main challenge was to keep on pedaling when your body wants to give up and just coast. I passed another rider towards the bottom, which went smoothly.

I definitely did not have the best form on the third stage. I was a bit conservative since the corners were so blown out and loose. I could have gotten through the corners faster if I focused on braking before and choosing a good line.

The fourth stage was interesting. The jumps that I mentioned above were awkward, and I could have carried more speed on the straightaway if I threw in a couple of more pedal strokes. I felt very strong on the climb, and then it was into the canyon. I could see a rider in front of me who kept getting closer. This was great motivation to try and catch him, which I almost did.

After all was said and done, I finished in fifth place out of thirty three junior racers. I am happy with this result, as the times of those in front of me are not too far off. This race was a nice opportunity to judge the competition and figure out what I need to work on before the next race. My next race is in a couple of weeks at China Peak Mountain Resort near Huntington Lake.

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