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Race Report: Enduro Cup Round 1, Moab, Utah

Sunshine, hot temperatures, and rugged, physical terrain greeted riders for the first round of the Scott Enduro Cup presented by GoPro on the Mag 7 trail system in Moab, Utah.

A high caliber field of 135 athletes gathered in the desert for racing followed by a satisfying racers’ barbecue. The course challenged athletic fitness for long stretches of low angle red rock terrain combined with impeccable skill on the technical descents. At the final awards, Ross Schnell and Heidi Rentz claimed the fastest times overall for men and women.

Heidi Rentz used local knowledge and being in top shape from a winter of training in Phoenix to win Pro Women.

Heidi Rentz used local knowledge and being in top shape from a winter of training in Phoenix to win Pro Women.

An equal split of prize money waited for men and women racing the Pro/Open class. The first place riders in the Amateur category received registration for the next two Enduro Cup stops at Sun Valley, Idaho and Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah. Many participants also received prizes in the raffle, which raised over $800 for Grand County Trail Mix. Raffle prizes were provided by Scott Sports, GoPro, ENVE Composites, SRAM and Geax. One highlight is a set of ENVE wheels at each race.

Four short special stages (pro men times around six minutes) with short transfers lead to overall winners being done for the day by 11:30. Working with the new chip based Jaguar Platinum Timing System by Innovative Timing Systems, Mountain Sports International (MSI) had results coming in on the fly, and racers being able to check in to see how they did. MSI was wise to hold special Stage 4 results back, as there was tight racing all day, and no one was able to pick the winner. Everyone would just have to wait and see til the awards party back in town at the Chile Pepper bike shop.

Another youngster to keep an eye on is 20 year old Cody Kelley. He finished 6th on the day. He won Sea Otter Dual Slalom a month ago.

Another youngster to keep an eye on is 20 year old Cody Kelley. He finished 6th on the day. He won Sea Otter Dual Slalom a month ago.

The scenery is wide open and very Wild West. Efficient, long travel bikes make easy work of this rugged terrain.

The scenery is wide open and very Wild West. Efficient, long travel bikes make easy work of this rugged terrain.

“Moab is an excellent location to begin the season with the relaxed atmosphere of southern Utah. We focused on streamlining the system to create an enjoyable race,” remarked Event Director Ben Nelson. “The entire format of Enduro is about community, fun and rowdy mountain biking.”

The competition began with the Open Men’s division. Ross Schnell sailed through the four timed stages only three-tenths of a second faster than Mike West, the second place rider. The top five athletes dominated the field all within 50 seconds of each other.

“Moab is always a fun place to ride, there is just nothing like it in the world. It’s the perfect place to hold an event like Enduro Cup,” Schnell commented. “For me it’s all about camaraderie.”

Next, in the Open Women’s category, Moab local, Heidi Rentz, led the way by executing the technical sections of the course with fluidity and skill to receive a remarkably fast time of 28:07.061. Within one minute of the first place time was last year’s Overall Enduro Cup Champion Heather Irmiger with a time of 28:51.424.

Open Men:
  1. Ross Schnell (24:11.781)
  2. Mike West (24:45.002)
  3. Alex Petitdemange (24:55.506)

Open Women:
  1. Heidi Rentz (28:07.061)
  2. Heather Irmiger (28:51.424)
  3. Katie Compton (28:59.212)

Women's Pro Podium. 1. Heidi Rentz 2. Heather Irmiger 3. Katie Compton

Women’s Pro Podium. 1. Heidi Rentz 2. Heather Irmiger 3. Katie Compton

Men's Pro Podium having some fun with Sierra Nevada beers. 1. Ross Schnell 2. Mike West 3. Alex Petitdemange

Men’s Pro Podium having some fun with Sierra Nevada beers. 1. Ross Schnell 2. Mike West 3. Alex Petitdemange

The amateur division was composed of high energy and skilled up-and-coming riders, and the junior division was represented by an enthusiastic group of young Endurons. Podium finishers peddled full throttle through the course. A full list of results is posted online at Enduro Cup MTB.

Junior enduro racing is growing at every race available. Josh Snow came out on top in Moab.

Junior enduro racing is growing at every race available. Josh Snow came out on top in Moab.

Looking forward, the next stop is at the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival in Idaho on June 27-29. The final stop will take place at Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah on July 19. Enduro races challenge riders’ physical endurance and technical downhill skills making it an excellent discipline for riders of all ability levels. Registration is open for the next events at Enduro Cup MTB.

Wide open views on the Mag 7 trail system. Cliffs and canyons are around every corner.

Wide open views on the Mag 7 trail system. Cliffs and canyons are around every corner.

Additionally, the event’s presenting sponsor, GoPro, is extending a pretty sweet 30% off discount to all 2014 racers on the purchase of up to two items. Athletes will receive a unique promotional code after they register to take advantage of this incredible offer. Enduro Cup invites all racers to capture their race experiences with a GoPro and share it online using #EnduroGoPro to enter to win product prizes. One GoPro edit from each event will be selected as the winner. Edits must be posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram no later than 10 days after the race and must include #EnduroGoPro to be a valid entry.

Anxiously awaiting the final awards ceremony in front of Chile Pepper bike shop.

Anxiously awaiting the final awards ceremony in front of Chile Pepper bike shop.

Photos: Courtesy Enduro Cup, Jay Dash Photography

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