Ashland Race Report - Round Two of the Oregon Enduro Series Presented by Shimano and Santa Cruz
The second stop on the Oregon Enduro Series, presented by Santa Cruz and Shimano, was held in the beautiful town of Ashland, Ore. The racecourse consisted of the famous Ashland Super D course with the main climb turned into a non-timed transition stage. Two new stages were added on the west side of the mountain – on the old Chainless racecourse, Hit Road and Horn Gap, a fast but tight trail that gets little use – to make for a four-stage Enduro weekend.
As the rain came down on Saturday, the weather played a pivotal roll in the jam format start order, as some racers waited too long and had to fight for a fast time in soggy, wet conditions. The list of more than 60 pros included well-known racers and Enduro regulars like Shimano and Transition’s Lars Sternberg; Kona, Bell and Continental’s Matthew Slaven; W.T.B.’s Jason Moeschler and Ben Cruz; Santa Cruz, Fox, E13 and Shimano’s Aaron Bradford and Ryan Condrashoff; Giant’s Factory Off Road Team’s Carl Decker, Josh Carlson and Kelli Emmitt; and Specialized’s Kirt Voreis, Sam Benedict and Curtis Keen.
Day one had the Pros and Experts on two short 4-minute and 7-minute stages on the west side, while the Sport and Beginner racers were on the east side on a quick 6-minute stage followed by the longer 30-minute stage. On day two, the racers switched sides on the mountain, with the Pros and Experts on the east side and the Sport and Beginner racers on the west side. The east side stages provided familiar terrain to the racers who previously raced the Ashland Super D courses. Starting from the Mt. Ashland Ski Resort lodge, racers worked their way down almost 5,000 vertical feet to the finish area in Lithia Park. The west side stages gave racers a taste of some of Ashland’s refreshingly different trails. During practice, the Horn Gap stage’s tight trees unfortunately took out one of the series’ favorite racers, mohawked Anthony Diaz from Turner, Ore., with a fractured fibula. The Hit Road stage, which had been used as a chainless racecourse in the past, proved to be much more work when racing with a chain.
Ashland’s local favorite and 2011 Oregon Super D champion Nathan Riddle held a 5-second lead over Australian Factory Giant rider Josh Carlson after day one’s short stages. Day two gave racers the chance to make up time from the previous day’s wet conditions. On Sunday the sun came out, and the dirt was all-time epic as the large Pro class brought its A-game to challenge Nathan for the top step on the podium. At the end of the day, Factory Giant rider Josh Carlson landed his first Enduro win by a mere 5 seconds over Nathan Riddle, followed by Ben Cruz in third; Chris Johnston from BC in forth; and Jason Moeschler, last year’s runner-up in Ashland, in fifth.
Hundreds of racers once again came out to experience the Enduro format and what is quickly becoming the most popular mountain-bike racing genre in the world. Racers took part in a full weekend of riding and racing on different trails and terrain, where each stage offered something different. The Oregon Series has always focused on providing the best experience possible while riding bikes on amazing trails and building camaraderie between participants and sponsors. Whether you are racing for the win or just out there challenging yourself and your friends, these events leave you wanting more.
Thanks to the presenting sponsors Shimano and Santa Cruz, the Oregon Enduro Series has become the premier Enduro series in the United States. With the great support of industry sponsors, including The Hive/E13, Bell/Easton, Fox, SR Suntour, GoPro, Teva, Clif Bar, WTB, Smith Optics, Troy Lee Designs, Gravity Dropper, and local shops, including Hutch’s Bicycles and Santiam Bicycles, winners took home tens of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. Best of all, each participant got to experience the best all-around format for mountain bike racing…multi-stage Enduro! The next race of the Oregon Enduro Series – on July 14 and 15 in Hood River – will have an equally large turnout and will up-the-ante with some of our steepest and most technical trails in Oregon.
Go to www.oregonenduro.com for details and full results.
bturman 7/2/2012 9:54 PM