Factory Racing Heats Up at China Peak

June 30 — 2015

Ankle-deep dust and shin-splitting rock were the weekend venue as Santa Cruz Factory Racing took on the VP EnduroFest at China Peak Resort, on June 27.

What lay before the team of Santa Cruz Bicycle frame builders and warehouse workers was close to 30 miles of strenuous riding and 5,500-plus feet of grueling climbing. Maybe it was the elevation, maybe it was the bone-dry conditions, but no one, from the beginners to the pros, came out of the third round of the California Enduro Series unscathed.


“I’m just happy I made it to stage four,” Sam Markling said as he stared in a bit of a daze at his post-race burrito. “Oh man, I’m still having problems with my brain.”

The team rolled deep to the race outside Fresno, CA, with a van full of select brews and meaty treats, courtesy of team sponsor, El Salchichero. “It was hot,” Chris LaVeque, the owner of El Salchichero, commented after the race, as he held a cool Coors Lite to his head. “I had fun though, I was riding bikes.”

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Santa Cruz Image
Patrick Rosso

Temperatures were in the upper-80s Saturday and the sun was unrelenting, but the riders powered through posting impressive results in a very competitive race. With a daunting 4 PM cut-off for stage four, and a thick dust hanging in the hot mountain air like Central Coast fog, the riders never had a chance to let off the gas.

Despite the heat, the sunburns, and the occasional vomit, Zach Wick and Kyle Bowman, brought the ruckus to Expert Men 18-29. Zach finished 5th overall, followed by Kyle in 8th.

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Santa Cruz Image
Patrick Rosso

“The trails were scary. I nearly died a couple of times, but I had fun,” Zach said post-race. “I could definitely tell we were at elevation, but I felt pretty good until the last climb. I was sure I was going to puke.”

Zach was gunning for the top three the whole race, but a crash on stage four set him back. He wasn’t the only one who took an express trip to the dirt. “It was just so loose. There was no braking traction; there was no traction for turns; it was a blast.” 

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Santa Cruz Image
Patrick Rosso

Kyle and Zach weren’t alone on the mountain: Evan Turpen finished 11th in Pro Men followed by Bo MacArthur in 16th. Sam Markling finished 11th in Expert Men 18-29, with Kyle Harder in 23rd, and Chris Seymour in 25th.Chris LaVeque, who recently moved up to Sport Men 30-39, finished 19th. Santa Cruz Factory Racing never rides alone, and friend of the factory Zora Thomas finished 3rd in Expert Women.

With Another race in the books and another trip in the van, Santa Cruz Factory Racing always makes sure the weekend never ends on a Saturday, partying the night away at one of the finest woodland cabins in town, courtesy of factory friend Margaux Elliott.

 

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