The meats were savory, the trails tasty, and the beverages frosty as Santa Cruz Factory Racing took on the first round the California Enduro Series, held Friday, April, 1, in Fontana, CA. Featuring loose, rocky soil and a distinct lack of redwoods, the SoCal race thrust the central coast shredders out of their natural habitat and put them into a world of sweat and pain.
Despite a few crashes and some tired legs, the team stayed strong, with solid results. Zora Thomas, who finished sixth in Pro Women, said “I'm cool with my result. I felt like I was holding back quite a bit on the descents, so next time I'll try to push myself a little more.” The four-stage, 12-mile course at the notorious Southridge Mountain Bike Park featured close to 1,800 feet of elevation, and plenty of opportunities for riders to get rowdy. Stage one, the longest stage, had a brutal, lung-busting, leg-cramping, flat out sprint to the finish while stage two and three kept riders on their toes with rutted out single-track, blown turns, and derailleur-destroying rocks.
It was the fourth and final stage, however, that put the biggest smile on the riders’ faces. With steep chutes, sandpits, and enough rock to make you think twice about riding it, the technical final stage tested the abilities and stamina of the athletes.“It was a good time,” said team rider Kyle Bowman, who finished eighth in Expert Men 18-29. “I made a lot of mistakes out there, so I’m happy with my placement and I just need to concentrate and get used to riding tired." With Santa Cruz Factory Racing, the largest team in the California Enduro Series, you never ride alone. Kyle Harder finished 15th in Expert Men 19-29, Chris LeVeque finished 17th in Expert Men 30-39, and Forrest Findsen finished 17th in Beginner Men. Bo MacArthur and Sam Markling were also out on the mountain getting wild in the Pro Men and Open Men classes. MacArthur finished 19th and Markling took 13th.
While the race is the catalyst for the weekend adventure, it is far from the only event, especially when the team takes pit stops to ride beautiful Santa Barbara or spends a good portion of the weekend sipping and feasting on goodies provided by team sponsors El Salchichero, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, and Farmhouse Culture.
Until next time, ride on.