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High above Reno, NV where the blue sky seems to go on forever, riders fought for the top spot in the second round of the California Enduro Series, Saturday, May 14. A long, brutal course forced competitors out of their comfort zone and tested their race rigs, with the desert mountain claiming plenty of derailleur hangers, tires, and skin.

High above Reno, NV riders fought for the top spot in the second round of the California Enduro Series, Saturday, May 14. Photo: Called to Creation

Hosted by the local trail advocates Poedunks and Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, the Battle Born Enduro gave racers the chance to hop the California border and try out some Nevada single track. Once riders had wiped the sunscreen and sand out of their eyes, it was Ryan Gardner and Amy Morrison who came out on top in Pro Men and Pro Women.

Morrison, who rides for Marin/Rabobank stood out from the crowd Saturday and finished with a time of 28.09.9, over 40 second faster than second.

Stage five’s multiple rock gardens and loose shoots didn’t seem to faze Amy Morrison who fished first in Pro Women with a time of 28.09.9. Photo: Patrick D. Rosso

“It was really windy out there. It was nice when you got a tailwind, but a lot of the time you were just getting blown around,” said Morrison, 27, who calls Auburn, CA home. “Overall I had some solid stages and just wanted to stay on the bike and keep it upright.”

Gardner, 29, who rides for Kona/WTB/VP, finished the loose and graveled filled course with a time of 23.55.5.

“It was an awesome day of racing. I looked at the start list and I didn’t think I’d make it to first; there were some super-fast riders out here,” commented Gardner, who hails from Oakland, CA. “I was in South America [Enduro World Series] for a month and that was an awesome experience, so I’m trying to translate that pace to local racing and it seems to be working out.”

Ryan Gardner crushed the course Saturday and finished first in Pro Men with a time of 23.55.5. Photo: Called to Creation

Set at Peavine Peak, the barren, rocky point looms over the casinos of Reno, concealing a network of wicked single track that is getting better by the day. (Stage six was completed just two weeks before the race.)

“We want to make this a fun event. I want them to have a good climb and a good descent. We try to mix it up and give them a variety of trail,” explained Kevin Joell, who sits on the Poedunks board of directors. “What’s great about Peavine is how close it is to town. Reno is great and it’s getting better by the moment. By having a sustainable trail network on the mountain it enhances the quality of life.”

Scott Chapin headed down the final descent of the day on stage four. Photo: Patrick D. Rosso

Beginner and Sport racers faced a four stage course that covered 21 miles and 3,700 feet of elevation surrounded by leg-shredding shrub that guarded the most delicate yellow, red, and purple Sierra wildflowers. Two additional stages were added for the Pro and Expert riders who peddled a daunting 29 miles with 4,600 feet of climbing.

Riders faced multiple obstacles on the course, including an intimidating rock garden on stage five.

“It was so much fun out there. The temperature was great and the changes to the course really added some cool elements,” said Steve Gemelos, director of the California Enduro Series. “The local organizers really know how to put on an awesome event and that’s why we keep coming back. It’s a great race for everyone and really has a good, low-key vibe.”

The KOM/QOM challenge put $100 up for grabs for the fastest times on stage one. Ryan Gardner and Jackie Swider took the KOM/QOM for the Pros. Gardner had a time of 4.40.63 and Swider had a time of 5.24.20. Duncan Nason and Sarah Miller took it for the Expert category, with a time of 4.44.05 and 5.41.97. In the Sport category, Nye Yackle with a time of 5.07.60 and Paige Galeoto with a time of 5.46.28 walked away with the cash. Tayler Roberts and Rachel Seymour were the fastest in the Beginner category, Roberts had a time of 5.05.85 and Seymour finished with a time of 6.33.18.

The Rabobank KOM/QOM challenge is back, and extended to all four category groups for 2016. These stoked riders walked away with $100 each.

Pro Men Podium: (1) Ryan Gardner, (2) Evan Geankopolis, (3) Doug Thayer, (4) Kyle Warner, (5)Derek Teel.

Pro Women Podium: (1) Amy Morrison, (2) Allie Donovan, (3) Essence Barton, (4) Cicily Kessmann, (5) Ali Osgood.

Be sure to check out the overall individual standings for the series, as well as overall team points.

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