By Matt Weatherbee
For the last five years, Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park, Colorado, has played host to the mountain bike festival Crankworx Colorado. This year was the dawn of the Colorado Freeride Festival. Despite the lack of the Crankworx name, this year’s festival was as big as ever and did not disappoint the athletes or spectators.
New to the festival this year was the Specialized Enduro, a 3-day, 5-stage enduro race that tested the physical limits of riders and their equipment. Enduro style races have been all the rage in Europe for years and it is finally catching on here in the US with events like this one.
The race kicked off on Friday afternoon with a chainless downhill that snaked down portions of the Trestle downhill trail as well as Unreasonable Search and Seizure.
“The goal of the first stage was to really test riders’ ability by doing a chainless run down the signature downhill race course at Trestle Bike Park. We were going for fall-line and flowy.” said Freddy Mooney, gravity series coordinator at Trestle Bike Park.
The riders I spoke with were all in agreement that this was by far the toughest stage of the race. Many riders said that they would have preferred a downhill bike for this stage.
Stage 2 was a variation of Stage 1 and continued with the theme of techy, flowy, and steep. Saturday was the day for Stages 3 and 4 which were all about the jump trails at Trestle. Riders were treated to runs down Rainmaker and No Quarter, two of the world-class and ultra-flowy jump trails that Winter Park has to offer.
Stage 5 featured the most pedaling of all the stages, beginning with a climb up to Mary Jane followed by the kind of high alpine, techy singletrack that Winter Park has become famous for. Masters class rider Marty Quinn described stage 5 as, “It was like riding in West Virginia!” due to the wet, rooty, rocky, and muddy course.
It rained hard on and off throughout the entire weekend which made for extremely challenging conditions, especially on the abundant root sections in Winter Park.
When the dust settled, or rather, the mud, the top ten pro men’s and women’s riders were;
Pro Men Overall
- Curtis Keene – 59.06.05
- Ross Schnell – 59:19.47
- Nate Hills – 59:34.88
- Aaron Bradford – 59:42.24
- Mark Weir – 59:46.13
Pro Women Overall
- Jackie Harmony – 1:06:09.86
- Mary Moncorge – 1:08:36.88
- Kelly Emmett – 1:08:54.81
- Melissa Buhl – 1:09:06.69
- Abby Hippely – 1:09:17.03
Hometown: Harrisonburg Va., now Golden, Colo.
Category: Masters Men
Rig: Turner Sultan 29 aluminum with Stan’s Crest Rims laced to industry Nine Hubs. POC helmet for XC stage, lightweight and breathable but with extra protection on the back of the head.
Race tactic: “I made really good time on all of the pedally sections and was able to pass quite a few riders before heading into the downhill sections.”
What would you do differently for next time? “Definitely get a dropper post.”
Hometown: Golden, Colo.
Sponsor: Pedal Pushers Cyclery.
Category: Masters Men.
Rig: Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon with Boxxer up front and Vivid air rear. Easton Haven wheels. Rock Shox Reverb dropper post.
Race tactic: “Super fast on the downhills.”
What would you do differently? “Nothing, I am drinking the SRAM/Rock Shox Kool-Aid!”
Hometown: Harrisonburg, Va.
Sponsor: Stan’s No Tubes.
Category: Pro Women.
Rig: Cannondale Jekyll, Fox 32 Talas, Fox Dyad rear air shock and Stan’s ZTR Arch EX wheels. “The Stan’s rims are light and stiff and the adjustability of the suspension is nice,” she said.
Hometown: Harrisonburg, Va., now Golden, Colo.
Category: Pro men.
Rig: Turner 5 Spot aluminum with Marzocchi 55 and Stan’s Flow wheels. Super fast looking shorts and fanny pack. No dropper post.
Race tactic: “I wore this tank top and these shorts because I knew they would make me fast. The fanny pack also helped me to pack light.”
Pre-race ritual: "We can’t put that on the website."
What would you do differently? “Definitely not change the shorts, though in all seriousness, a dropper seatpost would be great.”
Hometown: Boulder, Colo.
Sponsor: Owner and founder of SMAC Components.
Category: Pro men.
Rig: Giant Trance with Fox Float 32 and Giant Contact Switch adjustable post.