The Kamikaze bike games were the final, and largest, stop of the California Enduro Series. Over 450 participants made the trip to the volcanic soils of the eastern sierra. For those of you who have not been to Mammoth Mountain, perhaps you have heard legends of the “dirt” that one finds here amongst the barren mountains and hot springs. Dust doesn’t quite capture the essence of Mammoth, pumice gets you closer, but really kitty litter is the closest physical form that explains the physics of the dirt here. Now picture that kitty litter strewn over tons of square edged rocks, obscuring their presence to varying degrees, and you have an idea of the conditions that tested the Norcal Cooperative this past weekend. To add to these tricky conditions, the last race of the year brought with it a season’s worth of wear and tear on equipment and bodies alike. The morning of the event, racers were met with another foe, a forest fire had started the evening before and was now draping the mountain in thick smoke. As some questioned whether the show would go on, others prepared for the day with some early morning practice runs. By 9am the smoke began to clear out and the race was officially underway.
Ryan Gardner had high hopes coming into mammoth after a big win here last year. Eager to work his way up the overall rankings, he gave it his all, and managed a 9th place in a strong pro field despite a few mechanicals. The challenging courses were anything but forgiving. Nineth place was not exactly what he was hoping for, but it was enough to secure a 4th in the Golden Tour overall and a 2nd in the California Enduro Series, a huge accomplishment for the full-time office jockey.
Derek Teel finished off a killer season fighting off some late season injuries. His day at Mammoth was more of a victory lap as he cruised to a fifth-place finish overall for the season. Derek made huge gains this year aboard his Process 134 landing his best enduro finishes to date! First year on Kona’s and best results. Coincidence? I think not.
Arianna had a bit of a rough go when some errant course tape led her off track and resulting in a DNF. Her season went well though, and she made the switch from DH to Enduro look easy landing a 6th overall.
And with that, the 2016 Enduro season has come to an end. In our inaugural year, the Norcal Cooperative put a Kona on seven of eight podiums. Overall, the team didn’t disappoint landing in the second and fifth spots in California’s Premier race series. Now it’s time for a little recovery, some long, sweet, soul rides, and maybe even some skinny wheeled suffering.