Rizal Enduro Lite was held at Antenna-Thunderbird-Saint Monique in Binangonan Rizal on 5 April 2014. While the three-stage course was “lite,” the summer heat added some difficulty.
Rizal Lite was divided into three categories – Open (for the veterans), Women’s, and Curious (for the first timers). All rode the same course starting at the base of Marian Hill where Antenna is located, going through Thunderbird Trail, and ending at St. Monique.
First special stage was mainly on wide fire road. However, the loose soil conditions, exposed environment, and steepness exacted its toll on riders, a few crashing on the trail. One of them, enduro regular Mark Onod, crashed early in the race when one of his tires malfunctioned during a high speed run, leading to a broken wrist and necessitating evacuation to the hospital. (Healing vibes, Mark!) More mechanicals happened, with one rider snapping his chain, while another raced with an ISPEC shifter which broke loose from its brake lever.
The Rizal Enduro Lite is the first in the Enduro Pilipinas Series to have a women’s category. Women have been competing with the men since Season 1’s Bataan Leg in 2012.
Second stage was at the Thunderbird Trail which was tighter than the first stage, and featured some rolling terrain in between steep descents, with one section a bit more technical having big rocks on it. Special Stage 2 ended at the lagoon, from where the long slog to Special 3 starts.
Final stage was the most technical of the three, on tight single track and rocky terrain. By then, the hot morning was taking its toll on the riders, beating them down like a hot hammer hitting steel on an anvil.
Words & Pictures: The Enduro Network