The final BC/KR Enduro series race goes off with a Bang in Retallack, BC. Kona Grassroots rider Dave Harder takes first place in the pro/elite class for the series overall and fifth place on the Retallack course.
After seeing videos of Retallack over the last couple of years, this place has always been on my go to list. This year we were lucky enough to ride at this legendary resort for the last round of the BC/KR Enduro series and what a weekend it was.
This race was different to all the other races because there was no pre-riding the course only a track walk on the first stage. Walking into the first stage I could see that the last chute was steep, rooty and full of nice fresh loam. This got me excited and I couldn’t wait to get out there to ride these amazing looking trails.
Day one had two stages. The one we got to walk the day before involved shuttling ourselves 8km down the road towards New Denver and the ride up to it was about a good hour long climb. This first trail had a mix of fast and wide old logging roads with some nice berms built up on the switchbacks. Then it dropped into the first steep, loamy, and rooty section which had received some rain the night before, so that made it pretty spicy. You had to watch the amount of brakes you used so that the bike moved freely and you could carry good flow. The further I went down this trail the more fun it got, and coming into the last three chutes I knew I just had to keep it together and carry good speed. The last chute finished with a muddy timber bridge which was super slick, no matter what angle you hit it at. There were a couple of good crashes there. I did pretty well on this stage and finished third.
The next stage started back up at the Retallack Lodge, the climb was about one and a half hours up the fireroad and it was a bit of a slog, but the trail was well worth it. It was getting quite cold by the time we got up there but the marshal had a fire going right at the start gate which helped warm my hands up. I soon forgot about the climb when I started this trail with the berms and fast flowy single track of the top section which led into the first real climb out of the 2 stages. With racing these trails blind it was hard to know what was around the next corner and how hard to push it. I felt a little gassed after the climb but worked on my breathing to regather myself and pushed on for the rest of the stage. This stage was an amazing trail, it had a bit of everything from the berms up top, to fast flowy jumps and slick rooty sections. The trail finished off with an awkward jump though, that was way too short and a few people had some good crashes ther, luckily not me! I had a great stage and finished 5th.
With shuttles ready for us on day two, we knew it was going to a big day with 3 stages and a trip to the top of the mountain. After a 30 minute shuttle we got dropped off right beside the Hoff-Fest jumps that were used a couples of weeks prior, seeing them in videos they looked big, but in real life they were HUGE! We had about a one and a half hour hike-a-bike to the top of the 3rd stage which was well above the snow line, and we were definitely greeted with snow and cold winds up there! When we got close to the start there was a fire keeping the marshals warm, it was a good place to warm up my hands before dropping in on the 1st trail of the day. This stage started with a straight muddy trail which got pretty wild when the speed got up there, then it had a sharp left hand turn to the traverse which was a flowy piece of single track with amazing views of the valley below. I was happy to have placed 6th in this stage, I hadn’t feel that comfortable heading off the start line as the clouds had just rolled in and I couldn’t see 5 meters in front of me!
On the way to stage 4 the traverse was pretty amazing to say the least, high alpine single track with snow everywhere made for a very beautiful transition and something I will remember for ever. Stage 4 was called Guitar Solo, it was an amazing piece of alpine single track but the rain and snow on the ground made it pretty slow going. About half way down the trail where the berms started, the dirt started to get really grippy and fast. This trail had everything from high alpine ribbon single track to big berms, jumps, and fast fire road sections and was an instant hit with everyone! I had a really solid stage and finished 3rd which I was pretty stoked about.
With the 2nd day having shorter climbs between stages it gave us riders a little more energy to push it on the downhills. The 5th and final stage was 3/4 of stage 2 from the previous day so we had a little idea of what was coming up. Compared to the day before it was a different track due to the rain from the previous afternoon. The mud was slick on the roots and they were keeping you honest but having ridden the trail the day before we knew where we could open it up. It was great getting to the finish line, everyone was really stoked and cheering everyone on through the last few jumps. I ended up having a pretty good weekend and finished 5th for the Retallack race. What an amazing experience it was to get to ride at Retallack, I will be trying to get back there as soon as I can.
This year I managed to ride consistently and get a few good results, allowing me to win 1st overall in the Pro/Elite class, something I couldn’t have done it without the help of Kona Bikes, Osprey Packs, Raceface, OneUp components and Bell Helmets- thanks so much guys for your support, it really helps! I also would say a big congrats to Tara Walmsley for taking home the overall title in the Open Women’s class. I’d like to thank Scott Roberts and BC enduro for the photos, and a great big thank you to Megan Rose and Ted Morton of the BC/KR Enduro series for putting on yet another great race and an amazing series.
Until next year! Take it easy and ride on!