Race Review: New Mexico Enduro Cup Glorieta Camps Enduro (Bro)

I have been beating the "do you even Enduro, Bro?" joke like a dead horse.  It is probably a year past due to give it up (Bro).  It has nothing to do with a dislike for the cycling discipline of Enduro racing, but mostly having a laugh at the stupidity of the cycling industry in which I make my living.

Two years ago at the Interbike Bicycle Tradeshow Extravaganza in the lovely cycling village of Las Vegas Nevada, absolutely everything new was labeled as "Enduro".  It didn't matter what the component was, headset spacers, cable housing, chain lube, if it was a new product it had been optimized for Enduro. It was stupid, and it deserved to be mocked.

But last weekend (or the weekend before last, whatever) I went and participated in my first Enduro race.  And it was awesome.  I had a fantastic day of riding bikes, racing bikes, and hanging out with friends. I met cool new people, rode cool new trails, rode up mountains until my lungs were screaming, and raced back down until my eyes were watering and my hands were cramping.  It was the biz.

Sadly though, I don't feel like I can make fun of Enduro, Bro, with quite the same satisfaction as I had before.  Which is probably a good thing, as I was the only person still laughing.

Anyway, on to the sick sick action shots of me racing that you all come here for....

You didn't even know it was possible to get that far off the ground on a bicycle, did you?

Actually, I feel bad making fun of these photos, because the lovely and talented Marlene Squillaci took them, and if it wasn't for her skills as a photographer I'd look even more the hack that I am.  (Marlene is the Mom of our teenager in residence at Bikeworks, young Taylor Squidlaunchy, by the way in case you were wondering.)

Several other Bikeworks-ers were racing too! Such as Young Wesleytons, the afore mentioned Young Taylor Squidlaunchy, and Young Mike-hasn'tbeenworkingwithuslongenoughformetocomeupwithanickname.

I asked for "game faces", so apparently that is what you see here.

Also in attendance was our favorite Restaurateur (and second favorite redhead) the Young Jay "Wulfpack" Wulf.
"Nobody calls me Wulfpack"

I mention Jay because a) He helped talk me into attending the race, b) I have a limited number of photos from the race, and c) One of the photos I have is Wulfpack sleeping off a hangover on his tailgate after the first stage.

Nice socks, Wulfpack 

Why was Wulfpack hungover you ask? Well, the night before was the Santa Fe Bike and Brew Festival, and there was brew, and a free concert by The Reverend Horton Heat.  And it was fun (and cold, and a little drunk).

Where was I? Oh right, the racing of Enduro.  Pre race looked like this...

Which is basically what post race looked like too, except everybody was sitting on the grass, and there were beer cans everywhere.

"Bikes is fun, beer is good." 

People were a little less smiley at the beginning of "Stage 1" however, because it was preceded by a 2 mile slog in the mud up a dirt road.  I personally did a lot of walking with my bike on my back, and I wasn't exactly in my happy place.

 The waiting line for Stage 1, as everybody tried desperately to get some rubber to peek through the mud on their tires.

But the suffering was soon forgotten as we were racing down the newly built "Chili Dog" trail, which was a blast.

Me, forgetting the suffering, being mediocre, and puckering.

While Stage 1 was 2 miles up and about 6 minutes down, Stage 2 was about 50 miles up and 15 minutes down. (It only felt like 50 miles, it was really more like 5 or 7 or something).  I really enjoyed Stage 2, it was less techy and more pedally and more my style (aka less scary).

Stage 3 was cancelled due to mud. I don't know anything about it, since I went into the race completely blind and uninformed. 

Then we repeated Stage 1 to finish out the day (which was way more fun with less mud and having done it once already).  And by then end, I don't think many people were sad about the missing stage, because it was a long day still and most people looked pretty worn out.  

How did I do, I hear you not asking?  Well, for perspective, our very own Young Mike-withoutanickname showed up as the freak of the race on a rigid Jeff Jones singlespeed with a fatbike front tire.

It was so "not Enduro" that people dropped their jaws and shit their pants as he rode by.

So with Mike on a rigid singlespeed and me on a brand new $7,000 Yeti, I managed to beat him by about 5 seconds.  Had we switched bikes, he would have beat me by an hour and a half.

What about that Yeti, you say? Well, it's the biz. 'Nuff said. 

And we both finished mid-pack or so.  And Young Wesleyton? Well he's a hoss uphill and downhill, and was in podium contention. We actually thought he was in 2nd in the 30+ Open category, then the final timing took forever, seemed to be a little screwey, and he ended up not on the podium.  But it's all good.

Wesleytons, pouting about the mud, but we can pretend it's him pouting about not being on the podium (which he totally didn't do).

And how did Young Squidlaunchy do? Well, he had some mechanicals, which seemed to be a result of his bike brand of choice (which we totally would never sell at Bikeworks), but we won't get into it because we're classy (but not classy enough to not mention it. Actually, I don't think anybody has every called me classy, so maybe I'm just full of it).

So, um, yeah, there's all the pics that I have. The race was awesome. I had so much fun I can't wholeheartedly mock Enduro anymore, and if you want to go check it out for yourself  look at the New Mexico Enduro Cup, which can be found below....

And that's all I've got. Boom! Microphone dropped! Proofread completed! Laptop closed! Blankets pulled up! Pillow snuggled! Sleepy time! 

Race (and Not Race) Review: 12 Hours of Mesa Verde

May has been interesting so far.  We had some racing plans, and then there was weather.

On May 9th we closed up shop so and headed up to Cortez CO to race the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. This is a very popular race that takes place on the legendary Phil's World trail network. The race has historically sold out of it's approximately 1,000 spots in minutes. It's just that good.

This year the organizers opened registration up in two waves, and Danny managed to get a few of us signed up during the second wave. But, the only categories still open were Solo Singlespeed, and Duo Singlespeed.  Danny and I signed up Solo Singlespeed, Wesleytons and Chuckles made up a Duo Singlespeed team.

We did this race one other time, in 2011, which was the year of my Grover Campaign....

The weather forecast for this year was a little iffy, but not terrible. So we packed up and headed out. I brought the whole family; Wife, Kiddos, Parents, even my in-laws came out to see the show.

We set up camp under overcast skies.

Then we headed out to Packet Pickup.  Wesleytons figured it was a special event so he brought the fanny pack.

Packet pickup was a Kokopelli Bike and Board in Cortez, which is a very cool shop.  Particularly cool is their vintage mountain bike collection with all sorts of gems hanging on the walls. My favorite was this Crestone.

I have never seen or heard of a Crestone before, but this thing has giant rubber bands for suspension, it is awesome mountain bike ingenuity from the '90s.  Looks like the Museum of Mountain Bikes "MOMBAT" has one too...  http://www.mombat.org/MOMBAT/Bikes/1994_Crestone_Peak.html

I was woken up during the night from flashes of lightning and the sound of rain hammering the trailer. It was cold and wet outside, and I wasn't exactly excited about it.   Morning came early after a few too many pre-race beers (and/or scotch for some), and it was cold but dry as we prepared.  Then the rain started again just as we were lined up for the Le Mans start.

After a few miles of riding the rain turned to snow.  Then it kind of turned to hail, then a  kind of sleet, some sideways snow, then maybe a little rain again.  Basically it was just cold and wet.  About halfway through the lap the course started getting saturated, the mud was sticking and the trail was getting slippery.

I had a pretty good start, and had managed to avoid the slow bottleneck crowds that can happen on the first lap.  So I finished my first lap in about an hour and a half, and that allowed me to get off the trail before it became unrideable.  But I saw some pics later of riders walking their bikes because of the mud.

I came in from my lap cold and wet and muddy.

After about 30 minutes of trying to clean, change, and warm up my Dad knocked on the door to tell me the race had been postponed until 10:00.  Sounded good to me.  Now I could think about how to deal with my bike...

At 10:00 it was still raining and there was a meeting.  They decided to call off the race.  Fears of people's safety and the well being of the trails were valid.  Best to cut your losses and not destroy these highly valued trails.  It was time to drink beer.

We were planning on camping out for the weekend, so we just stuck around.  It was Oliver's 5th birthday soon, so we took the opportunity for a little birthday celebration with all his Grandparents.

On Sunday morning my Dad took my Mom and Kristi out for a ride and then we moved to a KOA a couple miles down the road for the night.  There were scattered showers the whole day, but nothing serious.  So finally at about 5pm my Dad and I headed out to do a ride in Phil's World again.  We just rode the race course, as it was still taped.  About halfway through a hail storm caught us.  It only rained/hailed for a little while, but it was enough to totally saturate the ground again.

I had just cleaned my bike up, and now it was even muddier than before.

Cold and wet for the second time in 2 days, I was not amused.

And that's about how the weekend went.  Monday morning we woke to clear skies and sunshine while we packed up and headed home. I had quite a pile of muddy stuff to deal with when we got in.

Not the way I had hoped the weekend would play out. But with all my wonderful family there for company we still had a fun time.

Check back soon for my next story about not racing Dawn til Dusk due to snow, and instead racing the Glorieta Enduro, and getting completely muddy!  Thanks for reading!