The final Gold Qualifier of 2021 went out with a bang with the Lobo Enduro in Mexico.
Hosted in the National Park Desierto de los Leones, with the XVII century Ex Convent as the backdrop, a record breaking 350 riders took the charge on to the mountains at 9:00 am with temperatures well below zero.
The race began with a climb to the top of the mountain at 3,600 meters above sea level to get to the first special stage of the day and the most technical of all the seven stages.
Stage one was 2.2 kilometers long and the first part was very technical, but as the trail ran down the mountain it became fast and flowing. The bench mark was set by the local rider Simon Ocaña (Bcolective) who stopped the clocks at 5:18.3, followed by Ricardo Peredo (Trek) and Robert Nichols (Transition Bikes). Jose Luis Lugo, Epic Taxco podium winner and actual leader of the Epic Enduro Series, had a crash and lost half a minute from the leaders.
The climb to the next stage was shorter but just as demanding. The second stage was a fast trail with two iconic rock-gardens that put the skills to the test. It was Ricardo Peredo who came on top this time with a 2:19.5 stage time. Simon Ocaña made a good effort, but he lost five seconds and almost the lead for just one tenth of a second. The third stage started again at the top of the mountain. This time Peredo made a statement and put ten seconds between him and Ocaña, grabbing the lead. Robert Nichols remained in third, even though Lugo tried to make up for lost time.
After the third stage it was downhill for the remaining four stages. Stage four saw a repeat from the previous stage with Peredo pulling away, extending the lead to 24 seconds to Ocaña. Jose Luis Lugo ripped his rear derailleur with a rock and saw his championship lead disappear, leaving a clear path for Robert Nichols to hold the third place of the race.
The Lobo Enduro Men’s podium
On the remaining three stages there was no change and at the end of the day Ricardo Peredo won with a total time of 21:45.3 minutes, 36 seconds ahead of Simon Ocaña. Third place went to Transition rider Robert Nichols who put in a great performance despite not knowing the trails.
Canadian rider Igrid Larouche
In the Open Women category, we saw a fierce race between the Canadian rider Ingrid Larouche and the Mexican rider Cecilia Campuzano. In the first technical stage Ingrid (Transition Bikes) pulled away with a big gap of 13 seconds to the Mexican rider. Campuzano (Specialized) hit back with four stage wins afterwards, but it wasn't enough to take the overall.
The Lobo Enduro Women’s podium
Larouche went home with the victory, eight second back on Cecila Campuzano and in third was the Danish rider from Mondraker, Jonna Jhonsen.
“It was a great day for racing,'' said race director Javier Martinez Gallardo. “The conditions were perfect; the trails were in their prime and the racing was intense. We expect that the word gets out that in Mexico there is great racing with excellent trails and hope that next year we get more North American riders to enjoy what we have all year round”