With each year, the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival gets better and better. The week is full of races, rides, and bike related events, geared both toward the hardcore rider and the less initiated enthusiast. This year the week long shindig dedicated to all things MTB, got started with two full days of Enduro racing. This is the first event of this type held at Sun Valley, and Greg “Chopper” Randolph, the mastermind behind Ride Sun Valley, made sure it would be a blast for everyone involved.
“The trails we used were accessible to all levels of riders, which was our goal as we start to grow our audience of riders and build the appeal of the sport to the non-expert/pro rider,” said Randolph. Though the trails may have lacked big drops or extended gnarly rock gardens, they were anything but a walk in the park. Each stage took the winning riders anywhere from 17 to 30 minutes with plenty of pedaling, loose corners and high-speed railing involved.
All the stages were held on Bald Mountain, which is the ski area right in Sun Valley. With nearly three thousand feet of vertical, and miles of trail to work with, the race crew did an awesome job laying out four fun but difficult stages. “We wanted to create an all inclusive course design and setting, make it fun, make it convenient and make it easy for people to figure out, and do it in a way which would have the professional polish of a high quality event and venue.”
This was the case indeed, as real time results were available on I-Pads at the finish of each stage with the state of the art NSpire Timing system, and Breakaway Promotions nailing the venue and course set up in a truly professional manner. With an event like this, it’s no wonder folks like Carl Decker, Geoff Kabush, Amanda Carey, and Lisa Curry showed up to throw down.
After nearly an hour and a half of racing over four stages, Decker beat out Kabush by only 18 seconds, followed closely by Aaron Bradford only 6 seconds behind Kabush. “I just made a few too many mistakes,” said Kabush. “The racing was definitely physical, it was a tough, close battle for the top of the podium.” Kabush wasn’t going to let a second place finish dampen his spirits, saying, “I really enjoyed the atmosphere this week in Sun Valley and I had a great time hanging out with new and old friends at the race. It is definitely a spectacular location to visit and I'll definitely be working on my potato peeling skills for next year.”
In the Pro Women’s field, Lisa Curry, from Bozeman Montana beat out Idaho’s own Amanda Carey by just 30 seconds over the four stages, while Sara Schroedor came in at third not far behind. It was Carey’s first enduro race, and she chose to ride her Cannondale Scalpel XC race bike. “I definitely felt a bit "under-biked" but it was my first enduro and I was there more to train for Marathon Nationals next weekend. I had a lot of fun and would definitely like to try another one sometime.” Regardless of which bike was ridden, these ladies were flying!