Tales from the Trails

June 13 — 2019 | Santa Cruz, CA

This is the second of a series of Santa Cruz Factory Racing dig day and race updates from our man on the ground, Allan Cooke. From trail work in the North Bay to the season kickoff of the California Enduro Series south of the border. 

Stafford Lake Bike Park Dig Day

It was another early Saturday for myself and 5 members of the Factory Race Team, we loaded up in the Santa Cruz truck and pointed North for the Stafford Lake Bike Park in Novato, CA. A Bike Park in the North Bay? That’s right a bike park in the North Bay, it’s been open for about 5 years and Santa Cruz was one of the founding donors. Later in the year, we are hoping to hold a Jam at the Park with the 50to01 crew Loosedog, Craig Evans and Sam Dale, the tarps had just come off the jumps after a wet winter so we had to get up there and start prepping for the possible upcoming festivities.

Whip-off World Champ AC Fabz
 
We were met by Marin County Parks employee, Ranger Matt, with arms wide open. His enthusiasm to have our help out on the jumps was contagious and within about 10min of arriving at the park, we were all out on course with tools swinging, sweating and getting work done.
The day's task was to resurface the main jump line, nine lips, landings, and flat bottoms were a lofty target for the crew but we were all up for the challenge. The dirt out at the park was really hard packed but shaped nicely once the surface was wet. Ranger Matt kept the trash bins full of water coming with frequent trips in the loader to the lake. With Ranger Matt setting the stoke levels at 11 and the infrastructure they have out at Stafford Lake we were able to complete the job as well as have a super fun session before heading back to the Factory.
 

If you haven’t made it out to the Stafford Lake Bike Park, get out here. They have an amazing Slalom track with top speeds of at least 30mph, dirt Jump lines for multiple skill levels, three pump tracks, and a one mile XC loop as well all the amenities to round out the day, like BBQ pits, restrooms, and drinking fountains. Get out there and get some lines dialed for when we are back for the Jam, dates are TBD at this time.

California Enduro Series Opener Ensenada Mexico

Who says it has to be in the USA to be considered California? Not the California Enduro Series (CES), that’s for sure. We headed to Baja California, Mexico for the first race of the 2019 season held at Horsepower Ranch in the mountains just outside of Ensenada. The ranch is more known as an off-road racing haven with Baja 1000/500 racers coming to Horsepower Ranch to practice and test their trophy trucks, buggies, 4-Wheelers, and motorcycles, but this week it was all about MTB.


With the explosion of MTB in recent years, the managers of the Ranch have built several EWS caliber trails with shuttle potential, a great place for the domestic Enduro racers to push themselves and race some steep technical trails. Some of the trails had us shuttling through rough parts of town with half-finished neighborhoods; one of the stages even wound through a residential area where the tracks were lined with trash fires, abandoned buildings, and cars. It was clear we were in a different country but it didn’t feel dangerous and was an adventure 100% of the time we were there.

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Santa Cruz Image
Kasey Carames

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Santa Cruz Image
Kasey Carames


We had three racers from the team down in Mexico. Speedbump, from Rider Support, was able to battle the conditions, keep his bike in one piece and stay off the ground to finish 11th place. In 8th place was Factory Racing surrogate and Fox Shox engineer, Evan Peterson who pushed hard on the steeps. Next up was Chico, CA legend and longtime Grassroots rider, Mike Lee, who took home 3rd place.

All the boys were racing in the Pro category and killed it. Mike battled back from a small practice crash that left him with a sizable cut on his hand. But he is tough if you looked up the word in the dictionary that's him standing there, I swear. Mike pushed hard all day with the best US Enduro riders, to leave the race with a podium spot for the weekend, as well as the overall is a huge achievement, congrats Mike!

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Santa Cruz Image
Kasey Carames

Randy sent it.

As you would expect they know how to throw a post-race party in Mexico: DJ, pool, tequila, cervezas, tacos, and fireworks. All the boxes were checked. It was a great event and our crew will be back to Horsepower Ranch - if not for the trails, then for the several taco stops we made on the way back to the border after the race.

-AC

Shout out to Kasey Carames for the photos from Ensenada. Check his instagram here > 

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