After having to work late on Thursday night in Santa Barbara, I hoped in the van and started the 11 hour drive to Park City for the second event of the Bell Enduro Cup at Canyons Resort. This was a new venue for me and I was really stoked to get out of California for a bit and get into the mountains. However, before any lush alpine trails were to be found, I had to cross through the inhospitable stretch of country known as Nevada. With temperatures hovering right around 100 F at 11 o’clock at night, and the AC blowing hot in the van it felt like there was a hair dryer affixed permanently near your face. Just as I passed into Arizona things started to feel bleaker as the red battery light flicked on in the van. Having about enough for one night I stopped and slept for a few hours before driving to the next auto parts store. Lucky to be traveling with all my tools, I pulled and replaced the alternator in the parking lot and was back up and running again only 4.5 hours away from Park City. The alternator debacle had set me back some time however, and practice time was getting cut shorter and shorter.
Finally at Canyons I had just enough time to get 2 runs on each of the three stages before the lifts shut down. With an 8 am start the next morning it was going to have to be enough. The race format started with a short 25 minute climb up to the first stage. This stage consisted mostly of super-fast single track with some gnarly water bars and a power climb up to some final switch backs and the finish line. From there racers took the gondola up to mid-mountain and hoped on another short climb/traverse over to stage two. I had practiced stage two twice the day before, but it was all for naught as I quickly found out in my race run that I had been practicing the wrong trail! Riding blind at race pace is always interesting! Having lost quite a few seconds on stage two I took off again on the longest transfer stage up to stage 3. This transfer stage was one of the best parts of the whole race as it took in beautiful views and the grade was never very steep. This transfer set you up for stage three, a ten minute track that brought racers through some really sweet steep sections and then finished on the same course as stage 1. I put the best pedal in that I could and had three clean runs, however, with the lack of practice, and riding one course blind my best efforts weren’t enough to earn me very much and I ended up in mid pack with a 20th.
Overall though, it was a great weekend riding some super fun trails. Canyons did a great job of hosting the race as well. The format was super fun and the transfer stages were really enjoyable. It felt a lot like riding your bike with your buddies, which is what enduro is all about!