Snowmass was the first stop of the 2015 Big Mountain Enduro Series season.
After last year’s course, I wasn’t completely stoked about going there again, but I was excited to start racing the big series with my new Niner colors. I have been trying a lot of different set ups with my WFO this winter/spring and was confident that I found what works for me. I was ready to test it on the racing field.
For this years race, the Big mountain Enduro staff made the effort to get a real backcountry stage for the first day of racing on Saturday. It was long, steep, fast, and exposed – just like what happens in Europe, and what the World Series has been doing lately.
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Stage 1 was really hard to race, and it felt like suffering all the way, yet actually turned out to be my best stage of the race, finishing 9th in a big pro field. Then, we moved over to the bike park in Snowmass where we had a combination of flow trails and fast rough DH style riding.
Stage 2 was shorter but really exciting and fun to ride. The grade was just enough that you wanted to pedal harder to go faster, and enjoy playing with the bike. I finished with a decent stage on this one also, staying close to the top 10, which was my goal for the weekend.
Stage 3, and the last stage of the day, was a long one from the very top into a flowy jump trail. Riding the top on Vapor made it a lot more interesting than just the jumps like we had to do last year. My plan for this one was to limit my loss of time on my direct oponents, knowing that overshooting jumps and man made manicured trails are not my forte! I actually did it, putting me in 9th place overall after the first day of racing.
Sundays race started with the longest stage of the whole race close to 20 minutes. There was a lot of switchback turns that were blind and my tactic was to “go slow to be fast” and not making mistakes on all those turns. I rode it blind last year, and It was my best stage finish of the race, so I was trying to do it again. I got confused on where I was on the trail, and blew up one of the turns. By the time I got back on the trail from the bushes, I already lost a lot of time and I was trying too hard to make up for that mistake which made me make a lot more mistakes. I lost all the time I had on my direct opponents putting me in the back of a group with super close times in the top 15.
The last two stages were too short to make up all that time lost, so I knew my top 10 finish will be hard to achieve on fair game.
Stage 5 was a blue flow trail, uninteresting, which I don’t think should be on a race like that.
Stage 6 was the old World Cup DH course, fast and rough, with the famous hell’s kitchen drop area. I was satisfied with my run, only 20s from world champion Jared Graves on a 5 min run, and within time of a lot of ex-downhill racers that knew every rock of that course!
Overall, I stayed in 14th, 19s from 7th after over 70 min of racing. These races are tight, there are a lot of fast people and no room for mistakes. I am happy with my race, even if the top 10 result I was wanting didn’t happen. I know where I lost time, and my set up and training is really working for me so it is a good encouragement for the future races.
Alex Petitdemange is an enduro racer from Annecy, France now living and training in Sedona, AZ. He raced as a XC JR and U25 pro for 5 seasons while mixing it up with some moto. After 9 years with no racing he jumped back into the sport while living in Moab, Utah and finished well enough for a podium position.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]