The sold-out Mt. Shasta Enduro, presented by Mt. Shasta Ski Park on July 19, 2020, delivered heaps of challenge and fun on the south slope of northern California’s majestic Mount Shasta this past weekend. The event was Round 2 of the 2020 California Enduro Series.
The ever-changing, drifty course favored those who could stay loose and adaptable, surfing the waves of pulverized volcanic dirt. Hero dirt made the occasional cameo thanks to trail irrigation, teasing riders with grippy perfection before sending them back into relentless moon dust.
MARCO OSBORNE, 2020 CHINA PEAK ENDURO PRO MEN CHAMPION, COMING IN HOT ON THE FAST AND FURIOUS STAGE 2. OSBORNE ALSO TOOK THE FOX QUEEN STAGE WIN ON THE DAY.
On-site RV and tent camping was included in the race entry. Riders began arriving Friday night to set up their weekend landing pads and prepare for the next day’s practice. Lifts opened on Saturday and racers hit the course to feel out the unique terrain and practice their lines. After a big day under a hot sunny sky, riders rested and refueled for Sunday’s five-stage race.
Race day dawned with sunshine and stoke. Beginner, Sport, and Sport eMTB racers started their day with a lift to Stage 4 and raced in this order: 4 (lift) / 5 (lift) / 1 (climb) / 2 (climb) / 3 (lift). Meanwhile, Expert, Pro, and Open eMTB riders kicked off their race with the Stage 1 climb; they took on their five stages in chronological order.
Stages 1, 2 and 3 took place on park trails designed for fast shredding. Racers who were able to keep in control while pushing to warp speed excelled on these stages. Stage 1 ran on Bridge Trail which, as its name suggests, features bridges as well as plenty of rocky sections and loose corners. Stage 2 showed off Flow Trail’s wooden wallride and swoopy berms — many that were running in surprisingly mint condition. Racers were either surfing uncontrollable powder or deep in a sublimely barreled berm! Stage 3 was on West Perimeter Trail, giving riders a taste of what’s just beyond the park boundary. Set mostly in the trees, this stage featured corner after corner of tricky foot-deep ruts and dust, with the occasional prime berm thrown in for ear-to-ear grins.
Stage 4 and 5 were both highly technical. These stages demanded that racers possess superior bike handling skills … and a good bit of faith in their steeds. Stage 4 ran on the primitive, raw Backside Trail and served up an abundance of exposed roots and rocks to keep racers on their game. Stage 5 was set on the park’s Downhill Trail. This stage was designated as the FOX Queen Stage, in which the racer from each category with the fastest time gets bonus points toward overall ranking. Racers battled rock gardens, ladders, and steep drops, as well as jumps including the trail’s renowned road gap.
Naturally, COVID-19 restrictions prevented the usual post-race get-together, but the Mt. Shasta Ski Park provided racers with meal tickets to use over the weekend. Additionally, podium winners were invited to participate in a socially-distanced awards ceremony. The overall vibe was that of stoke and gratitude, as riders seemed to truly appreciate the chance to safely race in these unusual times.
Mt. Shasta Ski Park is located on the southern slope of Northern California’s iconic Mt. Shasta.Race entries included camping; many racers brought along their families for the mountain adventure.Fur babies came along for the fun, too.Jerry Devon, founder of series sponsor Zodiac Lights, kicking back and enjoying the van life.Mikey and Tasha Thomas fueling up.Kera Linn getting everything dialed in for the big day.That view.COVID-19 protocol included mandatory face coverings and social distancing when in the proximity of anyone not in your own household.Getting a feel for the deep drifts in practice.Lots of fun and challenging features on course.A special Sport Girls category was set up for a group of young rippers that pro rider Tasha Thomas coaches.Ready, set…Cyclocross racer Clint Claassen is no stranger to hammering through sandy bits.Just a walk on the beach.Evan Geankoplis taking flight on the FOX Queen Stage. Geankoplis took 2nd place for Pro Men.Dillon Santos getting after some Stage 2 corners. Santos came in Pro Men 3rd place.It’s lift-off for Max Sedlak on the Stage 5 road gap. Sedlak made the Pro Men podium in 4th place.Todd Renwick getting boosty on Stage 2. Renwick rounded out the top five Pro Men podium.Isabella Naughton pinned on Stage 2. Naughton took 2nd place for Pro Women.Porsha Murdock comes in for a landing on the FOX Queen Stage. Murdock made the Pro Women podium in 3rd place.Kera Linn looking fierce as she attacks Stage 2. Linn came in Pro Women 4th place.Alicia Leggett flying high on Stage 5. Leggett finished up the day in 5th place for Pro Women.Jake Keller, Junior Pro 1st place finisher, stylin’ on Stage 5.Isaak Egge, Master Pro 1st place finisher, powering through Stage 2.Oh look, a squirrel! James Eves defended his spot as the fastest rider in the Open eMTB Men category.Oh look, a penny! Jesse Buerster ripped his way to 2nd place Open eMTB Men. Nicholas Brown with his eyes on the prize. Brown finished up the day in 3rd place Open eMTB Men.Jeff Evans charging Stage 2. Evans made the Open eMTB Men podium in 4th place.Brian Durling takes a moment to levitate on Stage 2. Durling rounded out the Open eMTB Men podium in 5th place.Tasha Thomas blazing her way to 1st place Open eMTB Women.One of Thomas’ Sport Girl protégés, emulating her coach on Stage 1.Parker Nishkian, Expert Boys U18 1st place finisher, making it look easy on Stage 5.Hunter Preston, Expert Men 30-39, on his way to a 1st place finish.Pro Men Podium: 1st – Marco Osborne // 2nd – Evan Geankoplis // 3rd – Dillon Santos // 4th – Max Sedlak // 5th – Todd RenwickPro Women Podium: 1st – Amy Morrison // 2nd – Isabella Naughton // 3rd – Porsha Murdock // 4th – Kera Linn // 5th – Alicia Leggett
Want more enduro action? Be sure to join the tribe for Round 3: Mammoth Bar Enduro on Saturday, August 29 at Auburn SRA and Mammoth Bar OHV in Auburn, CA. There are only a few entries left, so be sure to snag your spot pronto. Learn more and register here.
CES is a for riders, by riders non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting world-class enduro events that everyone from amateur to pro can enjoy, at a geographically diverse range of venues. Full CES schedule at californiaenduroseries.com.
CES is made possible by the generous sponsorship of industry and community businesses. The series is grateful for the continued support of title sponsor Specialized, official suspension sponsor FOX, Race Face, Voler, Cranked Naturals, Michael David Winery, Adventure Sports Journal, Intense, and Zodiac Lights. Plus, big thanks and a huge welcome to new sponsors SANS, User Testing, Galfer USA and GÜP!
Contact us if you’d like to get involved and be part of CES’ exciting 2020 season.
Words by Michele Charboneau, with guest contributor James Eves, 2020 Mt. Shasta Enduro Open eMTB Men champ. Eves is currently standing in 1st place Open eMTB Men for the series overall. / Photos by Bixxel Media.