Tuesday, June 16, 2015

CES #2 the Wildwood Adventure Enduro

The Expert U18 podium.
Hundreds of mountain bikers migrated into the redwoods of Mendocino County for the second stop of the California Enduro Series and two ripping days of enduro racing that was the inaugural Wildwood Adventure Enduro.  Riders could find camping at the Jughandle Farm or at a private meadow down the road with post race festivities being held at the Caspar Community Center.  Racers were treated to sweet singletrack all weekend thanks to the Mendocino Bike Sprites and an all around good time.

Done with day one!
With eight stages over two days of racing it was challenging to preride all of the race trails and left a lot of racers with no choice but to race blind, this kept race day interesting and competitors on their toes all weekend.   Most of the trails were very tight and tricky to race on with some exposure to cliffs and the ever present challenge of threading through redwoods.  A few stages however were the exact opposite with wide open sections and steep grades that kept racers at mock stupid and grinning all the way down.  The first day of racing riders had four timed stages over thirty miles with five-thousand feet of climbing.  The second day there was three stages with Expert and Open riders racing an additional stage.  Ride profiles were similar both days making it one long, tough, but very fun race.

The wait at Manly.

Expert and Open racers started earlier and rode stages in a different order than Sport and Beginner racers to avoid congestion at timed stages.  On day one race stages consisted of Manly Gulch, Motorcycle, Linquist, and Caspar Crossing trails.  Manly and Caspar were tight but flowy pieces of singletrack with the occasional log bridge or switchback that required consistency and conservancy to get a clean run in.  Motorcycle followed an old road grade and saw the fastest speeds of the weekend making it a favorite for downhill oriented riders.  Linquist Trail was a completely different animal with sandy dirt and loose blown out switchbacks that made it a challenge to stay on the bike and keep it fast.

The enduro crew.
For the second day of racing Sport/Beginner riders raced on Hi Chutes, Forrest History, and Big Trees, Expert/Open racers had an additional stage the Big Dipper trail.  Hi Chutes was a true test of physical fitness and technical skill, starting with a short climb it made racers sprint for a decent time and soon after dropped down into a fast and rutted old road bed that saw scary fast speeds with a high penalty for failure.  After climbing up Manly Gulch racers had Forest History trail a long and fun stage with everything from fast sections to pedaling, and sharp switchbacks.  Big Trees started with the beginning of Motorcycle trail a fast plunge along a ridge top and then turned to tight cliff side singletrack that kept racers ducking around and under trees and even over a set of stairs.  The Expert/Open stage Big Dipper was a fun mix of physical singletrack and wide open doubletrack with a few lips that could send racers hucking to flat if they were not careful.

Getting ready for Forest History.

The Wildwood Adventure Enduro was an awesome test of rider’s physical strength and technical ability on the bike as well as a fun weekend in the redwoods with great people.  With the success of its first year this event should become a staple mountain bike race in the future.  I kept it consistent and stayed on my bike finishing third in the competitive Expert Junior U18 category.

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