Mt Shasta Gold Qualifier Race Report

15 July 2021

The California Enduro Series headed north for Round Two of the 2021 season. The sold-out Mt. Shasta Enduro, presented by Mt. Shasta Ski Park July 10-11, 2021, dished out a full weekend of challenge and cheer on the south slope of the iconic Mount Shasta. Like the season kickoff at China Peak, the Mt. Shasta Enduro was an Enduro World Series (EWS) Gold Qualifier.

Shasta’s signature pulverized volcanic dirt made for a drifty, capricious course. Savvy riders kept upright by staying loose and going with the flow. Random bits of irrigated track taunted riders with sublime tack, but it was right back into the ever-shifting waves of moondust time and again.

                                         Dusty trails, van life and dogs makes for an excellent weekend of racing

Two big days of racing were on the agenda, with six stages split between Saturday (4) and Sunday (2). Due to hotter than normal conditions, all stages were to be lift-accessed. With on-site RV and tent camping included in the race entry, riders began arriving Thursday night to set up their temporary mountain digs and get set for Friday practice.

Race Day 1 (Saturday) rolled out more sunshine and hot temps. Beginner, Sport, and Sport eMTB racers took on the day’s stages in this order: 3, 4, 1, 2. Meanwhile, Expert, Pro, and Open eMTB riders kicked off their race on Stage 1, taking their four Day 1 stages in chronological order.

Stages 1 showed off Flow Trail’s wooden wallride and swoopy berms. Racers were either surfing uncontrollable powder or deep in a sublimely barreled berm. Stage 2 ran 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 3 ran on the primitive, raw Backside Trail and served up an abundance of exposed roots and rocks to keep racers on their game. Stage 4 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.

.                                           Live music on site kept the good vibes going 

At the end of hot, dusty Day 1, many riders headed out to McCloud Falls, Lake Siskiyou and other swimming spots to cool door. Others ramped up the heat on-site by getting down to the high-energy funk/soul/pop cover band Secret Society Handshake.

                                           Brian Cahill on stage 5

On Race Day 2 (Sunday), Beginner, Sport, and Sport eMTB started on Stage 6 and finished with Stage 5 while Expert, Pro, and Open eMTB started on 5 and finished on 6.

Stage 5 on Frontside started out with a tree-lined shoot which opened up to awesome views and relentless exposure as there was very little tree cover on the course. This physically taxing stage track threw plenty of tight corners deep with moondust: pedal, tackle switchback, pedal, tackle switchback, repeat, repeat, repeat. Riders legs screamed for this awkward stage to end. 

.                          Essence Florie flying on stage 6

Stage 6 – in start contrast to Stage 5 – was great fun. This long run on Bridge Trail features – as its name suggests – several bridges as well as chunky rock gardens and loose, rooted corners. The track finishes with a small drop exiting a well known V-shaped tree. 

With COVID restrictions lifted, riders relished back to“normal” post-race revelry, enjoying good grub and cold bevos while swapping race stories with friends while awaiting results and the awards ceremony. Enduro racers truly know how to have a good time, and the smiles went for miles.

                                             Pro Men Podium

Pro Men Top Five

1 - Evan Geankoplis

2 - Brian Cahal

3 - Todd Renwick

4 - Duncan Nason

5 - Andrew Cavaye (absent)

 

                                             Pro Women Podium

Pro Women Top Five

1 - Essence Florie

2 - Tasha Thomas

3 - Ingrid Larouche

4 - Erin McCaleb

5 - Heidi Kanayan

Special thanks from CES Director Steven Gemelos: "I want to thank our incredible mountain bike community. I have been amazed and touched by how many people reached out to offer help with the race this weekend after our trailer was stolen. So many people offered to lend us anything we needed and to drive gear up to Shasta for the race. I love our community – you are the best and I thank you all very much for your support. I was happy we were able to have a successful race weekend at Mt. Shasta and that folks had a great time."

CES is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Steve and his wife Megan Gemelos founded CES in 2012 and have been volunteering their time all these years to run the series. Any money the series does make either goes back into the series or is donated to organizations in support of the trails we race on. If you'd like to contribute to help us recover, you can donate via our GoFundMe, or purchase raffle tickets which put you in the running for a FOX 36/38 fork or FOX Transfer seat post (one of each if raffled at every race) or a Specialized Stumpjumper/Stumpjumper EVO (being raffled at the end of the season).

Next up: Round 3: Mammoth Bar Enduro, presented by TBF Racing and The Hub on July 31, 2021 at Auburn SRA and Mammoth Bar OHV in Auburn, CA. This event is sold out, but if you missed out and want to race, be sure to keep an eye on the CES Facebook page for transfers, which can be made up until midnight July 26. Get more information on transfers 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, SANS, WTB, Voler, Cranked Naturals, Michael David Winery, User Testing, Galfer USA, Adventure Sports Journal, Intense, Zodiac Lights and GÜP.

Learn more at californiaenduroseries.comWords by Michele Lamelin / Photos by Bixxel

Full results from Mt Shasta are available here