ANGEL FIRE, New Mexico—Enduro racing got off to a fantastic start with perfect weather, and an abundance of challenging, high altitude singletrack in the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. For the Big Mountain Enduro series opener, most racers showed up a couple days early to familiarize their selves with the rocky and technical terrain of Angel Fire’s bike park and the much heralded South Boundary Trail.
Ross Schnell's uncanny consistancy took him to another win at BME #1.
The event kicked off with a racer meeting and happy hour, compliments of Oskar Blues Brewery, on Friday evening where everyone had a chance to catch up and get valuable information for the weekends racing. At registration, racers received beer and lunch tickets to further make a great weekend better.
Starting at 8am on Saturday, racers met near the Angel Fire Resort base area to board shuttles for the ride up to the South Boundary Trail which would serve as the first backcountry stage. Once off the bus, a leisurely ride on singletrack through lush aspen stands was required to get to the start of their timed run, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The timed section of stage one dropped a few thousand feet in elevation on the honest to goodness ripping singletrack known as the South Boundary Trail. The stage produced some very close racing with Ross Schnell and Kelli Emmett both taking the win, which they would repeat again and again over the weekend to secure the overall wins for the event.
Krista Park brought some serious speed to the pro women's field to take a solid second place overall.
After racers completed the first stage they had the option of lounging with food and refreshments in the shade, or heading straight back to the resort as soon as an empty shuttle bus arrived. The benefit of getting back to the resort was time for more practice runs, or time to do bike maintenance and gear changes in preparation for the next day. Most racers opted for a more xc style set-up which included lighter tires and an open face helmet for the first stage, and a more dh set-up with downhill tires and full face helmets and pads for the more bike park/downhill oriented stages 2 thru 5. All racers had to compete on the same fork and frame for the weekend.
Starting on Sunday, the lift started running at 9am, and pro men took to the course in 30 second intervals from the top of the mountain at 10,650 feet to begin the first of the day’s four lift served stages. Compared to events of the past, the timing was spot on and real-time results were viewable upon finishing each stage, which was invaluable to everyone.
Once the racing was done, everyone congregated at the base area for a post race party prior to the awards which featured tasty food, cold beverages and a house dj to keep the party rolling. Full results can be found on the Big Mountain Enduro website. The next series stop will be at Crested Butte Mountain where racers will be treated to more lift served endure racing.