The penultimate day for Crested Butte Ultra Enduro was one stage only, the Green Lake trail. A slightly easier day, in preparation for a big final day, which will happen at Evolution Bike Park, Crested Butte resort.
No major surprises, although Curtis Keene, Cody Kelley, and Casey Coffman had unfortunate flats, on the men’s side, and they dropped out of all contention. Racing takes it’s toll on body and equipment, and especially in five day enduro races, consistency is a very good thing. You have to ride a little bit lighter than you normally would.
With what has been a hugely successful first year for the CB Ultra, and the success of other “ultra” or multi-day, style enduro races such as Trans-Provence and Trans-Savoie, expect to see a few more of this type of race in the future. It’s a perfect excuse to visit a destination you’ve always dreamed out, and get a “guided” tour to ride on the best trails in the region.
With only one stage on the docket for Saturday, before a huge bike park day tomorrow, the Green Lake stage had racers leaving right from town and the sponsor village. Guess where it ended? Right, the beer tent.
Today’s stage was on the Green Lake trail, so you can’t really have a photo gallery without one shot of the namesake. Alpine lakes are always a thing of beauty.
Party on the patio, or maybe just a clearing in the high trees. The start was from 11,000 feet, and gorgeous every way you turned.
Masters Women have been charging all week. These gals can rip, and are always the first ones back to sponsor village having a beer. Think you can hang with them? Check your ego at the door.
Amber Naughton has a big lead in her division, and shows no signs of slowing down. She’s up by almost 9 minutes, but a flat can negate that time in a heartbeat.
Beauty shots all around, and 2,000 feet down to Crested Butte.
Pastoral mountain scenes. Racers are tired, and there’s one last day at Evolution Bike Park on Sunday, with three stages, and some hard, technical terrain.
Preston Bagley is the only junior racing. Most of the junior competition has returned to school. This kid is learning some valuable lessons if he wants to keep racing at a high level. 5 days of at high elevation racing is not easy. This kid is fast too, expect him in the pros soon.
Floating duff and soft dirt, in Colorado?! Really? Yes, it happens, and just one more reason why Crested Butte is often rated one of the best, and most Coloradan’s favorite place, to ride.
Once again, Kathy Pruitt remained in control. She mentioned how she was completely suffering on the lower part of Stage 8, but through some sheer brain power and mental toughness, she powered through the pain. And looked great doing it.
Heather Irmiger coming around a flat corner in the woods. Higher speeds in the pines lead straight into sharp switchbacks on this stage.
Sarah Rawley had a great day, getting 3rd on the stage.
The ponderosa and lodgepole pines on this section of trail drop needles on the trail, creating a soft under layer and surface to ride on. Contradicted by the power being laid down by racers is really cool.
Melissa Thomas on the gas. Having fun racing bikes. What more is there?
Josh Carlson having fun, staying upright, and training for Finale Ligure, Italy, the final round of the EWS.
Ross Schnell was third on the day, and remains in 2nd overall. He dropped a few seconds to Marco Osborne today, leading into the final day at the bike park, which some would say plays to Osborne’s strengths as a downhiller. Time will tell.
Mike West didn’t have a great day on Saturday, claiming 10th on the day, but stayed in the Top 5, slotting into 4th overall. 11 seconds on Macky Franklin, next competitor.
Chris Johnston put in another solid performance, 6th on the day, and is chipping away at a podium finish. After missing most of the summer with an injury, and a number of crashes here in CB, that would be an outstanding result.
Macro Osborne, ultimate concentration, knows this is his race to win. After a fantastic summer of racing, with a 2nd overall in the Big Mountain Enduro series, a win here would be a huge feather in the cap for Osborne.
In the time proven words of Vanilla Ice, performing onstage for the Bud Light “Whatever” weekend party, “I know Crested Butte gets buck wild.” Or you could just ask Kathy Pruitt.
Clementz and a super fan. This guy was a wild man, and completely pumped to be in Crested Butte, and run into a fellow Frenchman. Really quite awesome how mountain biking is a small world, and wherever you may roam, you always run into friends.
Words, Photos: Daniel Dunn
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