Last weekend was the first stop of the California Enduro Series here in Reno, for the inaugural Battle Born Enduro. After a frustrating mechanical at the Ashland Spring Thaw, I was pretty fired up to throw down hard in my backyard.
I worked with my good buddy Tanner DeGiovanni and other friends to get some good photos to help with the promotion of the event. Check out the press release here.
I decided to run my newly-build Felt Virtue Nine with my new SR Suntour Auron 29er fork set at 150mm. I decided to run a double chainring on my Shimano XT drivetrain to stay fresh on the long transfers, and I used Kenda Nevegal 29 x 2.2 tires to deal with the loose conditions. I also ran my new VP Components VX Trail pedals, which are so smooth and easy to find after dragging a foot in the tight corners.
It was a long, hot day in the saddle with a 1:15 climb to start it off. Stage 1 and 2 were both pretty tight and loose, so I decided to focus on riding smoothly which paid off. I was surprised at how spent I was feeling at the end of these stages, and I think it was mostly due to the hot weather. I made sure to take advantage of all the water stations, which were a huge help.
Stage 3 was a new trail, and I really didn’t have a solid game plan on how to approach it. Looking back, I feel like I should have pedaled harder near the top of the course, because the many grade reversals on the lower section made it hard to find places to pedal. Pacing seems to me the hardest part of enduro racing. Despite these issues, I was on top for stage 3.
Stage 4 would definitely require the most fitness of all the stages, and most people thought this would be where the race would be decided. I fell like I once again help back too much at the early part of the stage, and lost some time to Doug Thayer, the eventual winner.
On to stage 5, the DH course. I was excited for this stage, as I feel like the rough nasty stuff is where I’m able to make up the most of my time. Unfortunately, I got a bit off line going too fast into a rock waterfall, smashing my front rotor and slicing my rear tire wide open. I tried to do all I could with a flat and a heavily rubbing front brake that I couldn’t really use. With all those problems, I was still able to run a top 4 time on the final stage.
When the results came out, I was happy to be in 3rd with the issues I had, but it was clear I had lost time on stage 4. I learned that my fitness is better than I thought, and I can rely on it as an asset rather than a weakness going forward.
Thanks to Felt Bicycles, Kenda Tires, VP Components, SR Suntour, Shimano, Smith Optics, SDG Components, Gravity Dropper, Royal Racing, Kore USA, Giro, Clif Bar, G-Form, Stages Cycling, and all my friends and family.
Up next is the Tears, Fears, and Beers enduro in Ely NV, followed by round 2 of the CES at China Peak!