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Biking like billy goats

Staff reports
Sylas Wright/Sierra SunCody Webb, 18, of Watsonville, puts on a show for the crowd during the preliminary exhibition portion of the 37th Annual El Trials de Espana at Donner Ski Ranch on Sunday. The trials event was a fundraiser for U.S. Trials des Nations.
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The 37th Annual El Trial de Espana motorcycle trials was held at Donner Ski Ranch on Aug. 5-6, with a spectator-friendly exhibition on Sunday.

The event was preceded by the annual Western Youth Trials Championship, which took place Aug 2-4. Both events were fundraisers for the U.S. Trials des Nations (TDN) Team.

“This is one of the best places I’ve ever ridden. It’s amazing,” said Pat Smage, a 16-year-old pro rider from Elkhorn, Wis. “I’d like to stay and ride more.”

On spectator Sunday, Smage and about a dozen other expert and pro riders from across the country put on a show for those willing to hike up the mountain to the designated sections of varied terrain.

The onlookers were treated to the skillfully balanced style of riding that distinguishes trials from other motorsports, as riders teetered atop rocks and logs, shot up short but steep slopes and wove between nooks and crannies in the granite surface ” all while keeping their feet from touching the ground.

With the pristine setting and laid-back atmosphere at Donner Ski Ranch, the event was a hit with the trials athletes.

“It’s awesome,” pro rider Keith Wineland, 20, of Fountain, Colo., said of the trials, adding that his favorite aspect of the event was the grippy surface the Sierra granite provides. “I love coming out here. It never gets too hot.”


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