In conjunction with Outside Bike and Brew Festival as well as the New Mexico Enduro series, Glorieta Camps sponsored and hosted the Bike and Brew Enduro. Though an uncharacteristicly wet weekend in the high desert of New Mexico left many events for the weekend dripping wet, the weather cleared in time for the Bike and Brew Enduro. The heavy rains did delay the start of the race, but newly-minted trails designed particularly for the enduro race left smiles on the faces of all racers.
The first stage started out with a very steep, muddy climb up to the start line. The clay and dirt, mixed with several days of rain, left most racers pushing their bikes up steeper sections of the climb. With tires and cleats gummed up with mud, racers spent a fair amount of time at the start line cleaning their bikes to get their race rigs in optimum condition for the downhill.
Luckily, the fire road did not represent the condition of the race course. Though a small portion of the race course was a bit mud-ridden, the majority of the trail sported tacky terrain and hero dirt.
Stage 1 was neither for the faint of heart nor XC racers. This course boasted both man-made and natural technical terrain more representative of a downhill course. The 1.3-mile course descended only about 800 feet, but left all racers gassed while begging for more.
The second stage of the race was perhaps the most punishing. The climb up to the start line was over 4 miles long and ascended about 1600 feet, capping at an elevation above 9000 feet. The last mile of the climb ranged between 20-25% grade, leaving almost all riders (myself included) pushing their bikes and cursing the masochistic race director. In addition to a brutal hike-a-bike section, the thermostat dropped as the altimeter climbed. The rain at lower elevations resulted in snow accumulation above 9000 feet.
Cursing the race director quickly turned to hollering out in sheer bliss as the nose of the bike turned downward. The longest of the stages, Stage 2 was a 3.8-mile descent dropping 1600 feet. The first half of the course meandered through a pine forest, allowing racers to gain a great deal of speed. This transitioned to a short, slower pedalling section before dropping down into technical rocky terrain again. This stage tested the overall baseline fitness of all racers, while also challenging their technical abilities.
Due to the delayed start of the race in order to allow the trails to dry out, race officials decided to remove one stage of the race. This resulted in Stage 1 being re-ridden for Stage 3. Coupled with drier conditions and more exhausted racers than in the morning, the course rode quite differently.
With plenty of beer and an amazing local food truck on scene, the remainder of the afternoon was spent rehashing the race with both old and new friends.
Podium finishers in all categories took home the best trophies I’ve seen to date – growlers. In addition, the winning pros weren’t the only ones taking home prizes. Winners from the amateur categories were able to select from flat pedals, shirts, and hats. First place amateur winners received sweet goggles as well.
Leigh Bowe with ColoRowdies and Juliana took first place honors. Krista Park from the NoTubes Enduro Race Team came in second a short 26 seconds behind Bowe. Syd Shulz with Pivot and Vittoria took home third, 1min 38 sec behind Bowe.
Chris Boice with MountainTop Cycling took advantage of his downhill racing expertise in order to snatch a first place finish. Taylor Lideen came in second 39.6 seconds behind Boice. Jack Dean with Specialized took home third.