Matt Slaven Reports on the Hood River Enduro

The last month has been unusually dry for Oregon but that all changed last week. With the first round of the North American Enduro Tour/ Oregon Enduro scheduled to kick off heavy rain all week and made for some awesome greasy conditions to challenge racers of all abilities. This race has grown to be the first big Enduro race in North America and everyone was here and ready for battle. A sold out field of 300 racers with 60 plus Pros showed up early Saturday morning to see what the overnight rain had in store for them. I chose my trusty Kona Process for the weekend weapon and went 5th out of the start house but had a tough time “waking up” and getting aggressive. Stage 2 went better and I was starting to find good flow in the slick rocks and corners. Stage 3 was a mix of pump track and four cross that may be the sketchiest trail I have ever ridden in the wet. Needless to say I crashed in slick red clay hard but bounced back up to finish.  The final stage on Saturday was short and fast.  I gave it my all knowing that I had 2 rough stages on the day and finished in 2nd for stage 4. I was back in the hunt!

Day two had 3 longer stages and I felt like I needed to make some time up after my crash in stage 2. I ended up having a good stage 5, but flatted in stage 6 and managed to ride a front flat for 5 mins to finish the stage on the rim but still coming in 7th! I fixed my flat and climbed to the top of the final stage 7 to find out that I was tied with a few riders all on the same second. Crazy after two days of racing and 6 timed stages that we were all so close. I knew I had to throw down but I also knew that there had been several broken limbs on this stage that had caused delays throughout the day. I rode loose and pedaled hard to manage a 2nd place on the final stage behind overall race winner Josh Carlson. Not bad for the first big race of the year and taking home a 6h on the weekend less than 1 sec off the podium in a stacked field feels great with all things considered.

I hope everyone had a great weekend out shredding and I can’t wait to do battle at the next Oregon Enduro in Bend.

-Matthew