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Words by Michele Charboneau
Photos by Scott McClain
Video by Mitch Nuyens and Sebastian Bauer

The Wild Wood Adventure Enduro – produced by Mendocino Bike Sprite – served as the third round of the 2017 California Enduro Series, and took place over the weekend of June 16-17 at Jackson Demonstration State Forest and Mendocino Woodlands State Park in Mendocino County. Nearly 300 racers took on a scenic yet challenging course that favored racers with superior fitness and agility on tight and twisty trails.

After a hearty breakfast at Jug Handle Creek Farm, riders set out for their big day under sunny skies with a nice breeze. As the day progressed, light fog rolled in and out, making for comfortable race weather.

Pro/open/expert riders took on a total of 40.2 miles, with ten of those miles – and 4,619 feet of descending – spread over six timed stages, and the remaining 30.2 miles being on the transfers with close to 7,500 feet of climbing. Sport class raced one less stage, but still put in a solid day that totaled 35 miles of riding including 7.7 miles/3,518 feet of descent for the timed runs and 27.3 miles/5,826 feet of climbing for the transfers. Beginners crushed 26.8 miles in total, with six miles/2,602 feet of descending over their four timed stages, and 20.8 miles/4,626 feet of climbing on the transfers.

The lengthy transfer stages took place on both dirt forest road and impeccable singletrack. Riders had the chance to soak in the feel of their surroundings, with lush ferns and towering redwoods lining their route.

The timed stages on loamy terrain were just as scenic, but riders were too focused to notice. The race runs required riders to be on their game and ready for anything. Fast, flowy sections were abruptly interrupted by sharp, powdery corners, tight maneuvering through trees, and other technical challenges.

Riders returned to the farm after several hours of racing with smiles on their faces, despite being exhausted from their efforts. Bike Sprite served up a down-home feast and cold brew, and awards took place in a redwood-ringed meadow once all racers turned their timing chips in and results were tallied.

The Wild Wood Adventure Enduro proved to be a stand-out adventure indeed. Rustic camping and home-cooked meals, epic racing in ideal conditions, and abundant smiles and rider camaraderie all rolled into one incredible experience sure to evoke lasting memories.

Created to showcase the Mendocino area, the Wild Wood Adventure Enduro offered amazing trails, spectacular scenery and local flavor by way of food and brew. The event’s main venue – the bucolic Jug Handle Creek Farm located just off Highway 1 – surrounds a picturesque old farm house and included plenty of space for camping and socializing.

Rider meeting on a sunny morning in the redwoods.

Queued up for a pre-race breakfast of barley and oat porridge, crustless frittata, bread, coffee and tea.

Campin' vibes.

Janea Perry (Marin) seizing the day. Coming in first in the Pro Women category, Perry hangs on to her spot at the top of the CES leaderboard.

Ryan Gardner (Kona) was psyched to find himself on the top step of the pro men’s podium at day’s end after trading stage wins with Cory Sullivan all day.

The course’s narrow, twisty, redwood duff singletrack became more challenging the faster it was ridden.

Scott Chapin (Santa Cruz) pinned on a course that demanded a great deal of technical maneuvering and quick acceleration.

Lili Heim (Ibis) took that grit all the way to the podium, landing in 3rd place Pro Women.

Mike Lee (Felt / Dynaplug) making this twisty, loose bit look easy.

Team K-Man riders get ready to tackle their final stage of the day.

Dillon Santos (Ibis) put in a solid day that found him on the Pro Men podium in 4th place.

Janea Perry (Marin) in fine form as she navigates a sharp corner.

Joe Fabris (Trail Head Cyclery) taking on the 40+ mile course with confidence and determination.

Brianne Spiersch (Marin, center) all smiles on Road 500, the transfer to her final stage of the day, CCN.

Nick DiNapoli (Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) pinned on Motorcycle. The Scotts Valley Cycle Sport (SVCS) team is currently at the top of the series leaderboard. The Santa Cruz County-based bike shop is one of the generous supporters who made the CES new timing system happen. Here's to SVCS!

Eric Mellegers (Roaring Mouse / FOX) all fierce concentration.

Blaise Janssen (The Path) took 3rd place Junior Expert and stands in his category's top spot for the series overall.

Zephyr Sylvester (Yeti / Mike's Bikes) is a shining light both off and on the course. Currently in 3rd place in the series overall, she took 5th place Pro Women at Wild Wood.

Post race, riders gather at the CES Live! tent to drop off their chips and check results.

Timing chips are worn on the right wrist and riders activate them as they enter the corral for each stage. The chip then automatically deactivates at the finish of each stage. The CES timing system has proven to be an innovative and reliable asset to the series.

CES is excited to showcase the Canyon Spectral – a replica of the bike Canyon rider Joe Barnes is racing in the EWS. It surely would have been a great weapon for the Wild Wood Enduro. This fine steed will be on display at the remaining 2017 CES races, and Canyon will be on hand with their demo fleet at both the Crafts and Cranks and Kamikaze Bike Games events.

Big thanks to FOX for donating 2018 forks to be raffled at each CES event of the year. Congrats to Tyler, round 3’s lucky winner!

A number of families celebrated Father's Day weekend at the event.

Mendocino Bike Sprite co-founder Amy Wynn says, “The reason we created this event was to bring mountain bike enthusiasts together while showcasing the best our area has to offer. The enduro format seemed to be the ideal fit due to its tight knit, social community. And of course, the trail systems in Caspar and Mendocino offer the perfect mix of climbing and descending.” Wynn’s Bike Sprite partner Blair Foster adds, “We love where we live – we love our community, we love our trails, we love the food and the farms. We wanted to share all this and more, tying it into one big package and making it joyful.” Joyful indeed. Wynn notes, “It was great seeing everyone gather together after the race – still standing … and still smiling.”

Congrats to the pro women podium winners: 1st - Janea Perry 2nd - Essence Barton 3rd - Lili Heim 4th - Whitney Sutak 5th - Zephyr Sylvester

Congrats to the pro men podium winners: 1st - Ryan Gardner 2nd - Cory Sullivan 3rd - Paul Serra 4th - Dillon Santos 5th - Stan Jorgensen

View full results here. Cheers to another fantastic day of racing – huge thanks to the riders, sponsors, and volunteers who make the magic happen. Just around the corner: Round 4 – and the 1st round of the CES Golden Tour – the China Peak Enduro at China Peak Mountain Resort in Lakeshore on July 1!

About California Enduro Series

CES is a for riders, by riders non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting world-class enduro events that everyone from amateur to pro can enjoy, at a geographically diverse range of venues. The series is renowned for fostering an exceptional sense of community and encourages its participants to be involved in its planning.

The series is grateful for the support of VP Components, FOX, Clif Bar, WTB, Canyon, Kali Protectives, Michael David Winery, Cranked Naturals, Kenda Tires, DHaRCO, KMC, Adventure Sports Journal, Gamut, Voler, ESI Grips, Mike's Bikes and TrailWorks. Contact CES for information on sponsoring the 2017 series.

Check out the 2017 schedule and learn more about the series at californiaenduroseries.com.

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