Enduro World Series riders set to battle at Northstar, the tour’s only U.S. stop
This weekend 600 athletes will rip down the mountain bike trails at Northstar California Resort as the Enduro World Series makes its only stop in the U.S.
Northstar’s terrain will make for a race unlike any other during the season, testing riders on dry, dusty, and loose trails.
“It’s pretty rowdy terrain,” said Truckee’s Marco Osborne, who has been competing in the series for the past five years. “We never really ride this kind of stuff. It’s definitely going to throw people off a bit riding in the dust so it should make for a pretty interesting race.”
This weekend’s event is the second to last competition of the eight-stop Enduro World Series, and will bring some of the top riders in the world to compete in racing that combines cross-country riding with the technical difficulty of downhill racing. During Saturday and Sunday riders will race down newly designed terrain on the resort’s mountain bike trails.
“It’s pretty wild honestly,” said Osborne on the series making its way to Northstar. “I’ve been racing this series for the past five years. It’s pretty wild to hear that we got a stop here. I’ve been living in Truckee for two years, and been in the area my whole life. It’s pretty cool to be part of it and just show people around the other trails and show them the lake. And show them how beautiful and welcoming this area is.”
Many of the riders haven’t competed on terrain like Northstar’s during the past season, something that could give athletes from around the West Coast an advantage against a deep field of international competition.
“Being really smooth and precise with your line and getting you bike and body through the race,” said Osborne on the key to being fast on Northstar’s trails.
“It’s going to be whoever is really strong and whoever really wants to hang it out there in the rocks.”
Another competitor, Evan Geankoplis, of Fair Oaks, California, cut his teeth at Northstar, first learning to ride mountain bikes on the resort’s trails.
“I feel good up here,” he said. “We’ll see what everyone else has got going on, they’re all really fast.”
Geankoplis said he expects there to be an adjustment period for many of the riders competing this weekend.
“This is drier, looser, more rocky than every other place,” he said. “It’s an adjustment getting used to allowing the bike to slide and being familiar with how it slides. And also just not to push too hard. It’s easy to push too hard here and make a lot of mistakes.”
Among the international riders competing, Ireland’s Greg Callaghan said the trails in the area are much different from what he typically rides on.
“Its dusty, real dusty compared to home for me,” said Callaghan. “It feels like a pretty unique (stop) because it’s so dry and loose here.
“You have to approach it a little differently. It’s so loose that it’s easy to make mistakes. You need to really judge how hard you can push and where you put your wheels. It’s cool, it’s a different challenge and that’s the beauty of this series.”
France’s Florian Nicolai enters the weekend leading in the standings, with New Zealand’s Edward Masters and Australia’s Sam Hill close behind.
On the women’s side, France’s Isabeau Courdurier has won every race this season. Israel’s Noga Korem sits in second place
“She’s a little pinner,” said teammate Rachel Strait, of San Diego, who will race this weekend after spending much of the season competing in the Crankworx series.
“Northstar has some pretty rad, gnarly and different trails than I think a lot of riders are used to,” said Strait. “A lot of are in areas where it rains more often, so they don’t get that deep dust. I think the last big dusty race was when we were Bariloche, Argentina four years ago.”
Racing this weekend is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and will finish at 5 p.m. each day. Spectators must purchase a lift ticket in order to reach mid-mountain at Northstar. A designated viewing area and vendor village will be located at mid-mountain, where spectators can take a closer look at all of the action and race finishes by pro athletes from around the world.
“The more people on the side of the tracks, the harder we’re going to push,” said Callaghan. “So, come out, watch it, and we’ll try to put on a good show.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Rozak is live from Sierra-at-Tahoe.