(Sept 28-29, 2013) MOAB, UT—Enduro racing goes out with a bang for 2013 with two full days of racing in Utah’s iconic mountain bike desert destination. In contrast to last year’s first ever enduro on The Whole Enchilada, this year’s race weekend started with three timed stages and three untimed transitions in the Magnificent 7 Trail network on Saturday.
The grand finale of the season culminated on The Whole Enchilada. In addition to a full extra day of racing, The Whole Enchilada was broken up into two stages with the climbing section between the Burro Trail and Hazard County Trail ridden as am untimed transition stage. To up the ante even further, the race served as both the series finals race for the Big Mountain Enduro series and the North American Enduro Tour to crown the best all-around mountain bikers in North America.
Stage one included an easy two mile transition to the first start gate atop the Bull Run Trail.
Aaron Bradford (BMC) rallied his 29'er to secure a third place step on the overall NAET podium.
Mtn Flyer's Dylan Stucki lays down some power on Bull Run to crack the top 15 overall for the BME series. The evening before he was even nice enough to give me some water after I went on an extended pre-ride after missing a turn to the Gold Bar Trail!
Oskar Blues' Canadian import, Cait Dmitriew proved that consistency pays. Her determination in contesting every race of the BME series saw her earn fifth place for the overall series.
Curtis Cole, tongue out and racing hard on the Bull Run to hold down third place overall in the men's 30-39 class.
Open women's racer, Jill Behlen, on stage 3's Gold Bar trail.
2012 Junior National DH Champion, Alex Willie, puts a lot of effort into his training which paid off in the form of a win for the weekend and overall BME series in the juniors class.
Robert Garcia opted for the safer skinny line instead of the 4 foot huck to flat on stage 3. The choice along with some solid riding earned him second on the stage, which also helped him secure 3rd for the overall BME series men's 40-49 class.
Stage 3's huck to flat was the faster line unless you broke your bike or crashed.
Yeti/Fox/Shimano racer, Rosara Joseph kept the pro women on their toes in a tight battle through the whole weekend, which netted her a 2nd place for the weekend and 4th in the NAET series.
Canadian ripper, Katrina Strand (Santa Cruz), made the trip to Moab to race on some quite different terrain that isn't anything like what's found around her hometown of Whistler British Columbia, Canada.
Riding up the Gold Bar trail with a generator on his back is just part of the job for Big Mountain Enduro team member Mike Day.
By winning three of the five stages in Moab, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Trek), capitalized on his 'flood-fit' training to take the BME Moab win, second for the BME Series, and 5th place in the NAET series.
Mike West (Yeti/Fox/Shimano) took the win on stage 3, and also claimed 3rd for the weekend and BME series.
Heidi Reintz made it a race for the pro women by placing in the top four of each stage, and also taking the win on stage two's Great Escape Trail.
Nate Hills (Yeti/SRAM/Mavic) put in a splendid season which came down to the wire with the final race down The Whole Enchilada, which he won last year. His second place for the weekend netted him the overall BME Series win, which was no small feat. Hills reflected afterwards about the season and said, "I kept a smile on my face, a good attitude, and just had fun".
Santa Cruz Nomad team rider Chris Johnston smoked everyone on stage 4 down the frozen Burro Trail. Considering the depth of the local talent and the icey frozen conditions of the upper trail, his ride was so incredible that he broke the Strava record for the section of trail. It also helped him secure the overall NAET series win.
All-around super nice person and fast bike racer, Brian Buell, had a memorable weekend when his girlfriend Holly said "Yes!" to marrying him when he proposed to her while pre-riding Porcupine Rim.
It was hardly a surprise to see Heather Irmiger (Trek) win not just the BME Moab race, but also the BME and NAET series. While some might attribute the success to her cross country fitness, instead both her and JHK have taken their World Cup level discipline and applied it to having fun mountain biking, a whole lot, and learning the skills required in the downhill-lite style of racing we know as enduro.
Sarah Rawley embarks from the start gate of stage five behind a hillside of aspens to finish out The Whole Enchilada.
Krista Park (Cannondale) takes off down the Hazard County trail with the snow covered La Sals in the background on her way to taking third for the weekend, second for the BME Series and third for the NAET series. Just two days before the race a fall storm left 5 inches of snow atop the mountains, but light winds and plentiful sunshine the next day was all it took to melt off the snow enough for promoters to run the full course from Burro Pass down.
A racer descends the second part of 'The Snotch', which was considered the most technical feature of The Whole Enchilada stage. To complete this second half of the feature, racers had to do a trials style hop turn in the foreground since there isn't enough room in the hairpin to ride the turn.
The Aarchway Inn was host again to race headquarters as well as the awards venue, and the cool shade and cold Oskar Blues beverages were quite popular too.
Pro Women's BME Moab race podium.
Pro Men's BME Moab race podium.