Last weekend a mixture of Super Grassroots riders and Kona Gravity Pro’s made the journey to the Sierra foothills to race the infamous TDS Enduro. Our five riders all had solid performances and as Kona Enduro Pro Rider Ryan Gardner mentions in this great write up, the Kona crew dominated.
I first attended TDS (The Dirty Sanchez) 5 years ago. Back then the race was less race and more, as Ron Sanchez himself likes to call it, “18 guys getting drunk in the woods and riding bikes”. From these humble beginnings the TDS, hosted on the Sanchez Family ranch, has morphed into something completely different. With some of the fastest riders in the world know to show up the competition has continued to rise year after year.
The ranch itself has undergone a tremendous change over these years as well. Stone terraces have risen from the red dirt to host industry tents and a Redbull Truck. A full on Skybar built out of shipping containers now gives spectators unprecedented views of the RC car track and moto sender. Dirt bikes and side-by-sides operate constantly as they shuttle racers, spectators, and marshals around the property, and the competition to become next years “spirit leader” (accomplished by crushing the race and party scene with equal prowess) is always hotly contested. To add to the incredible atmosphere which has been lovingly crafted by the Sanchez Family and their friends a whole crew of Semper Fi service members were at the race this year both racing and spectating and their inclusion really added something special to the event.
This year racers were challenged by 14 total stages over two days with only 1 practice day to check them out. This schedule results in a best-case scenario of 1 run on each course, upping the sketch factor as the spider web of absolutely ripping trails begins to blur together by the end of the day. This year was pretty special for team Kona as a whole heap of riders made the trek to the Ranch. Becky Gardner flew in from Colorado, Scott Countryman drove up from Arizona, Ali Osgood made the drive down from Humbolt, and Derek Teel, Luisa Houseman and I lucked out and made much shorter commutes. The team battled all weekend and had some solid results to show for it. Derek was on a ripper sitting as high as 7th before a mechanical took its toll, Becky had a great first race back after injury this winter and took 6th and got faster every run. I was stoked to meet my goal of a top 10 after a big training week and Louisa sent her 111 into some super hairy sections and came out with a solid 16th. Even after sustaining a shoulder injury (after hucking a sizable road gap to a missed left-hand catch berm to tomahawk) Ali managed to score some solid stage results including a very promising 2nd in the most pedal intensive stage of the day.
But the real story had to be the heroics of Scott Countryman. A self-proclaimed long course specialist, Scott stormed all 14 short, rocky, high intensity, courses winning one, coming second on two more, and claiming third overall for the weekend aboard his Process 134.
With an incredible start to the season in the books and major successes across the board (besides not winning the spirit leader award) the team is looking fast! It’s going to be a great season!