After a tame start to the series with the more mellow courses at Bend and Ashland, round 3 at Hood River came through with a solid Enduro with lots of technical challenge in the trails and no huge favor to the more "XC" style enduro racers. On Saturday we raced 4 stages and Sunday we raced 2 stages. Stages 1-4 were 100% moto trails that started higher on the mountain than I have ever been. The trails consisted of super loose and blown out moto trails with plenty of embedded rocks and roots to keep the suspension working. After a slow start on stage 1 I turned up the heat for the final 3 stages and ended up 4th on the day.
First stage Day 1
Third stage Day 1
On day 2 we started from the top of the old super d course and had 2 more technical stages to contend with. Both courses were perfect in my opinion, with just the right balance of technical features, corners, and small pedaling bits. After a pretty good climb to stage 5 (first stage for Sunday) from the shuttle drop off, I was feeling calm and ready to try and knock some time off the leaders and slide onto the podium. My strategy of staying smooth and not making any stupid mistakes paid off as I went from 4th on Saturday to 2nd overall for the weekend!
Fifth stage, Day 2
One of the things I enjoy about enduro racing is after the first stage my nerves go away and I feel like I can ride more normally. It is a super laid back format that I enjoy way more than super d so far. It was good to finally see a more true enduro in the northwest, considering we have such awesome terrain for it. Hopefully the sport continues to go in this direction.