Just one week after Kona Super Grassroots riders Ryan Gardner and James Rennie rode over 120 miles and climbed over 20,000 feet they found themselves in knee deep dust in Argentina’s Cerro Catedral, Bariloche region. The weekend started out alright for the two of them, with both having moved up the start list (Ryan to 51st and James to 71). But like the bad luck that befell James on the 6th stage last week in Chile, both riders had things come apart on them in this weekend final stage. Ryan’s rear brake pads went flew past him and got lost in the dust which ruined his chances of completing the stage and the event. James again had bad luck with his chain resulting in a less than ideal finish, although in the highly competitive field we think 67th is still pretty darn respectable.
Read on to hear about round two of the Enduro World Series went from James and Ryan’s perspectives.
It was a tough weekend here in Bariloche. The tracks were absolutely destroyed with most stages being completely rutted out and hidden under at least a foot of fine sandy dust.
The stages went ok for me, I was certainly feeling the effects of last weeks effort in Chile and I laid down a couple good runs and was really happy with stage four on day two where I finished 51st. Things fell apart a bit on stage six though as something hooked my chain in one of the many deep hidden ruts and I once again finished the day chainless!
South America has been an absolutely awesome experience and I feel like I’ve put together some solid results to build on for the rest of the season. From here though it’s back to Vancouver, where I will be racing the Pemby Enduro at the end of the month. I want to give a huge thanks to Kona the Process 153 is such a rad Bike! – James Rennie
There are really no words to describe the riding in Bariloche, Argentina. Take the deepest, dustiest, place you have ever ridden and multiply it by at least a factor of 10. I’m talking full on man eating hub deep ruts filled with the finest powder you can imagine. I’m talking full on moto, hang off the back, face shots while cornering, hold on for dear life, 8 minute downhill stages. Round 2 of the Enduro World Series was no joke! Even the best riders in the world were having trouble in the completely different conditions, and it showed as even the fastest runs of the weekend contained crashes or at least major mistakes. Perfection was not in the cards for most this weekend, and for many, myself included, it came down to survival.
It was incredible to see how fast the tracks could change from run to run. Your first practice run might go smoothly as the track was fairly fresh, but by the second run enormous holes would emerge in all the worst places. The sneaky outside line was now a foot deep rut, and that berm that saved you last time has now been vaporized. I spent the first two runs of day one just hanging on and taking it easy as the tracks had changed dramatically from practice. I ended up right around 50th for both. The third stage was a completely different story as I had maybe one of my worst runs ever with at least 3 major crashes as I tried to make up time, only to crash again. The chaos on track was highlighted by the fact that after I was passed by the rider behind me, I passed him in a similar fashion a few seconds later after the first of his two crashes.
Day two ended up being a similar affair with my first two runs being clean, and one of them being fairly fast placing in the 40’s. However, stage six was a little bit of a disappointment. I had some rear brake issues on stage 5 and got some work done at the Shimano tent. Unfortunately, we put the pin that holds the pads back in, but didn’t bend it enough. This resulted in me losing both pads and breaking the pistons in my rear brake just before the stage. In the spirit of enduro, at least six of us tried to switch my front rotor and caliper to replace the contaminated rear set. The plan was to run just a rear brake, but I had lost too much fluid. It was probably for the best, as the tracks were terrifying enough with two brakes. I was forced to take the chairlift down in defeat. Even with the DNF I’m really happy with a top 50 finish last weekend and a few more top 50 stages this weekend. Even better, I’m off for a week of hanging out and riding in beautiful Patagonia. – Ryan Gardner