Chewy Aikin, a mechanic at Sedona Bike & Bean, had a great time at the 2012 Whole Enchilada.
By Sarah Rawley
Enduro continues to be the most talked about topic in the industry on both a national and international scale. As racers start planning their schedules for next season, we get to the bottom of the series in the U.S. that has the terrain and the vert to bring Euro-style enduro racing to our own backyard.
What started in 2012 as a three-ring tour, with venues in Steamboat Springs and Durango, Colorado, and the acclaimed Whole Enchilada trail in Moab, Utah, The Big Mountain Enduro Series has transformed into a five-event series that will feature two days of racing and multiple stages at each location for 2013.
“I really enjoyed the venues last year, but I’m more excited they have decided to add the second day of racing. It will give racers more bang for their buck, and a better overall experience,” said Nate Hills, the winner of the 2012 Whole Enchilada Enduro. (Read our race report here. -Ed.)
“I also like the idea of blending both natural terrain and ski area lift-accessed runs to make more well-rounded Enduro events. This will allow different racers to excel each weekend and keep it interesting. It’s anyone’s game.”
Boasting more than 45,000 vertical feet of descending, the Big Mountain Enduro Series carefully selected its courses in the Rocky Mountain Region to embody the ultimate riding experience including high altitude trails and long descents that at the end of the day, will leave you feeling punished and smiling, simultaneously.
“The host mountain towns and resorts we’ve partnered with, along with the surrounding trails selected for 2013 are world-class.” We want to go bigger in all areas of operation, from carefully selected courses, pro payouts, media exposure, sustainability and on-site festivities.” said Brandon Ontiveros, executive director of the Big Mountain Enduro Series.
The schedule was announced last month to include Angel Fire/Taos, New Mexico; Crested Butte, Keystone, and Durango, Colorado; and Moab, Utah. Each venue has something a little different to offer between human-powered stages in the backcountry, lift accessed terrain at the bike part, or a fusion of both.
The Whole Enchilada Enduro, which sold out in seven minutes last year, will be even more sought after now that is slated for the 2013 North American Enduro Tour (NAET) Finals on September 28-29, 2013. Not to mention, two days of racing and more famous Moab trails thrown into the mix.
“The Whole Enchilada is one of the most unique and challenging top-to-bottom trails I’ve ever ridden, with over 7,000 feet of descending through several different ecosystems,” Ontiveros said. “You don’t find that anywhere else in North America, so there was no question that this would be the perfect place for the NAET finals to culminate the 2013 mountain bike season.”
The Keystone Enduro will also be on the North American Enduro Tour, July 6-7, 2013, which in addition to the Colorado Freeride Festival and Bell Wasatch Enduro, will give riders four opportunities to score NAET points in Colorado and Utah alone.
The Big Mountain Enduro Series will offer eight categories for both men and women including Pro/Open, Expert, Sport, Masters and Juniors and a festival atmosphere at each event for everyone to partake in.
Registration for The Big Mountain Enduro Series is set to open January 28, 2013. Entry fees will include lift ticket/shuttling (where applicable), an event T-shirt, swag, complimentary food and beer, and feet for dollar, the best value you’ll find in mountain bike racing in the U.S. Season passes for the entire series will also be available with a price discount for participating in all events.
For registration and venue info, and all the freshest details on The Big Mountain Enduro Series, visit www.bigmountainenduro.com.
2013 Big Mountain Enduro schedule, venues
Angel Fire/Taos: May 18, 19
The Angel Fire/Taos Enduro is a new stop on the circuit and will be one hell of an opener to the 2013 Big Mountain Enduro Series. Angel Fire Bike Park and Taos are premier mountain bike destinations located in the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. This natural playground extends well above tree line and the area is now becoming popular for extreme mountain biking. With elevation changes that will challenge even the most accomplished riders, the rewards of the effort are heart stopping views and seemingly endless descents. All festivities and tech expos will be based out of Angel Fire Resort, but expect to circumnavigate the surrounding area in order to access the most challenging Enduro terrain within the state.
Crested Butte: June 29, 30
The Crested Butte Enduro will be something to remember for racers and specators alike. This special place holds the longest running bike festival in the country, is home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and truly is a real mountain town with more singletrack than any other location in the US. Legend has it, that Crested Butte is the birthplace of mountain biking. Our weekend-long events will merge with Crested Butte Bike Week and entail some of the longest descents within the area. Expect to ride some of the most challenging and scenic courses on the North American tour, which will blend high altitude backcountry adventures and lift-accessed stages throughout the weekend.
Keystone: July 6, 7
The Keystone Bike Park contains some of the most raw and rugged lift-accessed mountain biking in the US. With rock gardens, drops and high-speed features there will not be a dull moment on your bike. Our courses will challenge riders to the fullest and combine the top trails on the mountain, along with unique course designs never seen before at Keystone. Throughout the weekend, expect to see at least seven rowdy stages, a non-stop festival taking place in the village and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy. This premier stop will also be part of the North American Enduro Tour.
Durango: August 31-September 1
The Durango Enduro is not for the faint of heart; it is a true backcountry event that will require riders to have moderate to excellent fitness. Each one of our multiple stages will have a distinct flavor, showcase more great riding in and around Durango over the course of two days and will be all about big descents. Expect Kennebec Pass and other infamous trails in this mountain biking mecca to be used during the fourth stop of the 2013 Big Mountain Enduro Series.
Moab: September 28, 29
The Whole Enchilada has become known as one of Moab’s most cherished rides. This course will combine over 7,000 feet of descending and navigate through four climate zones as it winds its way from Burro Pass down Hazard County, Kokopelli, UPS, LPS and Porcupine Rim trails. In 2013, we will split up the Whole Enchilada into multiple stages and also offer more fun racing throughout other infamous west-side trails on Saturday leading up to the finale. This premier event will serve as the finals for the North American Enduro Tour, which will draw major media exposure and athletes from across the globe.