Even when Mother Nature throws some pretty serious curve balls, it’s hard to keep a good race down. Heavy rain may have postponed the famous Whole Enchilada enduro by one day and shortened it’s overall length, but those who stuck around were treated to one extra afternoon of partying with their friends and seriously tacky dirt on two short and sweet stages.
Changing things up this year by holding the race one month earlier than years past, in late August, organizers may have been concerned with the heat, but not rain. Moab sits squarely in the desert and rain is minimal. The month before the race, weather was acting as normal, and the temperatures hovered above 90 degres on a daily basis.
But things started to take a turn just a day before the race and temperatures dropped, which was great. But with that change in weather also brought some clouds. And hanging out within those clouds were some angry raindrops that wanted to be unleashed. And down they came early Saturday morning, scheduled to be race day.
The start of the race had already been pushed back by the organizers by two hours, due to previous rain. After consulting with the Forest Service and BLM (Bureau of Land Management), they collectively decided that a later start was a good thing. So riders rejoiced at not have to get on a 5:45 shuttle in the morning to make an 8 am start time. First shuttle would leave at 7:45.
But things changed rapidly overnight and the storms started pounding down around 6 am. Unfortunately, it rained too hard, and the local rangers had their say and decided that running a race with over 200 riders on extremely wet trails was not something they were going to allow. In America, when running races on public land, permits are given to race organizers who go through a long and arduous process to hold that race. But the government officials always have the last say, even up to the minute before the race. Yes, the minute. They can cancel for numerous races. Which makes being a race promoter in America an extremely risky proposition.
Extra Party Day
But Brandon Ontiveros (BME race promoter and owner) has done a good deal of race promoting and with that experience, took it all in stride. Firing up the social media machine to let folks know that the race had been postponed until the next day. Some grumbling certainly happened and some racers simply could not wait another day. It is unfortunate when you there’s a schedule in place and something that no one can control, the weather, makes all the decisions. But to those peeps who could wait for another day, they were rewarded with a combination of shorter, more sprint oriented stages, and dirt that was tacky and almost perfect.
Immediately after getting out the word that the race was postponed, the message was also put out to the masses that a big BBQ would be held at race HQ at 4 pm that day. Enough beer had already been brought for two days, so a party was on! And Moab being in the terrain that it’s in, with famous “slick rock” everywhere, riding plans were made by almost everyone to hit up one or another of the area trails that feature mostly riding on rock, thereby avoiding mud and damaging the trails. What do you do when all of your racer friends are gathered in one place? You go ride of course.
So making lemonade of lemons definitely happened, and the day turned out to be quite nice. A gorgeous evening brought out double rainbows and the plans were made to race on Sunday, starting at 10 am from Burro Pass. Two stages only, each about 8-10 minutes long. Each fun. The makeup of the overall race had been changed severely, going from the Whole Enchilada, which is sometimes known as a long pedal fest, into two short downhill stages, Burro and Hazard County, with the emphasis on fun.
Most racers we talked to were totally okay with the change in the race and remained fired up that the race was even happening. The rain had been that bad that no one was even sure until early Sunday morning that it would still happen. The Forest Service and BLM rangers still had to make the call in the morning. But the good word finally came in and the race was on!
Race day went off without a hitch. Aside from racers who could not stay, everything went according to the new plan. With a lot of juggling, and decisions made on gut feelings, things turned out as well as they could and many smiles were seen during the day, and post race. Moab is an incredible location, one that has to be seen and ridden to be believed. The red rim rock and amazing canyons are something out of a funky imagination. We’ll wait to see if Moab is on the schedule for 2015, but this one will be remembered as a good one.
Scroll through the photos to get more of the awesome story written by the Moab almost “Whole Enchilada” 2014 enduro race.
You can always find full results and more info on the upcoming Crested Butte Ultra Enduro over on the BME website.
Words, Photos: Daniel Dunn
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