The Santa Cruz enduro, was the last stop on the California series and my last race as well for many others, of the season. The Soquel demonstration Forest can pretty much be summed up as "so enduro bro". It's comprised of fairly steep uphill fireroad climbs and fast down hills with tight turns and a few rocks. Down hills are not super technical but they are fast, so you have to stay on your toes and watch out for the loose corners and steep sections.
The course consisted of five transfer stages and four race stages. The race stages were fun and fast, but stage three did throw an awfully nasty punch for the lungs and legs. About halfway through the stage there was a steep climb that made me feel like I was going backwards! I slid out in a corner just before the climb and lost my speed and spent some of my adrenaline in panic that I could've used getting myself up the hill faster. Did I mention the transfer stage to get to stage three was a tough climb, too?? My favorite stage was two, which was part of Ridge trail to Braille trail. Braille has tons of drops and jumps you can hit, however I avoided most because they were not always the fast lines. Still, even without the jumps, the trail is fast and flowy and can be technical in regards to speed checks around corners. Stage one was also a part of Ridge trail to Corral fire road. The fire road was taped off and forced racers to hit the side berms and little off road single track bits. Stage four was the new flow trail. This trail was also a lot of fun, but I think I would prefer the flow trail as a "chain less" type segment. Just flowing through the nice berms and pumping my way through was a lot of fun in practice. In the race, I was just trying to pedal hard and give what little energy I had left.
Like every enduro race, aside from the actually riding, the big group of friends I've made through out the series are there to race recap endlessly, drool over each other's bikes, and wait around for results and awards with. This race i was fortunate to have my parents in from Michigan to watch and support.
The results finally rolled in around 6pm and awards were shortly after. I was happy with my 3rd place finish. Joanna is an awesome rider and took 2nd just 14 seconds in front of me. Lea stole the show with almost 2 minutes on me. She is a class act and could not be happier to look up to an Olympian and World Cup XC racer who has years of experience and training under her belt. My riding partner and best friend Brianne took 5th to round out the podium. It is always fun to see your friends do well and to see their steady improvement through out the season, which is exactly what Bri did this year!
Big thanks to the volunteers on the course, the promoters, photographers, and everyone else who helped make the race possible and enjoyable event!