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The California Enduro Series headed to the Eastern Sierra for its seventh round of the 2017 season, the Kamikaze Bike Games (KBG) Enduro at Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes. The race was part of the September 14-17 Kamikaze Bike Games which featured a variety of cycling competitions including the Pro GRT Downhill, the Boogaloo electric bike race, cross country and kids races, and of course, the Legends of the Kamikaze. The KBG Enduro—an EWS Qualifier—was the final round of the Golden Tour, the series’ pro triple crown that also included the China Peak Enduro and the Northstar Enduro.

The weather-fickle mountain gave Sport/Beginner racers a relatively mild afternoon of racing on Saturday, whereas Pro/Expert riders kicked off their race on a chilly, blustery Sunday morning that fortunately warmed up as the day went on. With Mammoth’s trademark “kitty litter” terrain, and stages starting at over 11,000 feet in elevation, the KBG Enduro is renowned as an especially physical and challenging course. Modifications to the course—such as the inclusion of additional pro line trails such as DC10 and Shock Treatment—upped the ante, even more, this year.

Stages included pedally sections that put legs and lungs to the test, as well as ridiculously steep, soft chutes, plus rock gardens and tight corners galore. Sport and Beginner racers challenged themselves on four stages including 12.3 miles of timed racing and 6,965 feet of descent spanning the entire mountain. Pro and Expert riders tackled those four plus an additional stage for good measure, for a total of 13.7 miles timed racing / 8,235 feet of descent.

The stacked Pro field included Brian Lopes (Ellsworth), Curtis Keene (Specialized), Marco Osborne (WTB/Cannondale), Kyle Warner (Marin), Kathy Pruitt, Anneke Beerten (GT), and Lauren Gregg (Fuji) as well as series contenders Evan Geankoplis (Marin), Cory Sullivan (Marin), Matt Guntert (Park Tool/Kamikaze Bike Games), Janea Perry (Marin), Amy Morrison (Marin), Essence Barton (VP Components/Santa Cruz Bicycles), Zephyr Sylvester (Mike’s Bikes/Yeti) and Brianne Spiersch (Marin).

After a tight fight between the sport’s top talent, it was Marco Osborne and Kathy Pruitt on the top step of the KBG Enduro podium. Golden Tour 2017 champs were Evan Geankoplis and Amy Morrison.

For the series overall, Geankoplis took Ryan Gardner’s spot at the top of the leaderboard while Perry defended her position. On the team front, Sierra Overhead Analytics snagged the lead by one point over 2016 winner Scotts Valley Cycle Sport, which has been leading the series all season up until now.

Get full KBG Enduro race results here and Golden Tour results here. View current series individual standings here and team standings here.

The view of the Minarets never gets old.

The day's Pro Men champ Marco Osborne crushing a Shock Treatment rock garden on Stage 2.

Kathy Pruitt all focus and determination at the bottom of Follow Me / Stage 4. She went on to take the top step for Pro Women at day's end.

Curtis Keene battled it out with Marco Osborne and Brian Lopes, finally coming in at Pro Men second place on the day.

 Amy Morrison took things "easy” so as not to risk her overall win in the Golden Tour—which she did indeed take, and still came in second Pro Women at day’s end.

Brian Lopes on Mammoth's famed Elevator Shaft. Lopes took the third step on the Pro Men podium.

Janea Perry pushed hard to third place on the Pro Women podium. Perry retains her spot at the top of the series leaderboard.

Evan Geankoplis took the podium in fifth for the day and defended his 2016 Golden Tour title. He is currently is in the top spot on the series leaderboard.

Tyler Weyman all focus and ease on DC10 / Stage 1. Weyman took 1st Open Men and retains his spot at the top of the series leaderboard.

Max Sedlak took 2nd Junior Expert for the day, and is currently 1st in the series overall.

Currently leading the series' Expert Men 50+ category, James Bradley took 2nd on the day.

Log roller on Flow.

Loose staircase on Flow.

Team K-Man pinned on a wood feature.

Hecklers on a tight kitty-litter corner.

Flow Drop.

That kitty litter. Need we say more?

Fast and furious.

Oof.

Elevator Shaft, bottom of Stage 5.

Kenda was again on hand to showcase its new enduro tires. CES appreciates Kenda’s support of the series. The long-time tire company has charged fast and furious into the enduro world with the addition of its latest gravity tires, the Hellkat Pro and Helldiver Pro. Featuring Kenda’s new Advanced Gravity Casing (AGC) technology, these tires can take on anything a course could throw at them, allowing for racers to push their limits with confidence and trust.

Kali Protectives was on hand as well. Cedar Kyes—aka the Road Warrior—talks to folks about what makes Kali a stand-out brand.

Damian Gonzalez of Cranked Naturals with sponsored rider Marco Osborne.

Massive gratitude to FOX for donating 2018 forks to be raffled at each CES event of the year. Winner Tasha Thomas poses with CES Director Steve Gemelos.

Pro Men Podium: 1st - Marco Osborne 2nd - Curtis Keene 3rd - Brian Lopes 4th - Kyle Warner 5th - Evan Geankoplis

Pro/Open Women Podium: 1st - Kathy Pruitt 2nd - Amy Morrison 3rd - Janea Perry 4th - Zephyr Sylvester 5th - Essence Barton

Open Men Podium: 1st - Tyler Weyman 2nd - Erik Szayna 3rd - Ashton Smith 4th - Brian Butler (absent) 5th - Heath Sherrat (absent)

Junior Expert Podium: 1st - Travis Claypool 2nd - Max Sedlak 3rd - Blaise Janssen 4- Cole Suetos 5th - Hayden Wenger

Golden Tour Pro Men Podium: 1st - Evan Geankoplis 2nd - Marco Osborne 3rd - Curtis Keene 4th - Kyle Warner 5th - Matt Koen (absent)

Golden Tour Women's Podium: 1st - Amy Morrison 2nd - Janea Perry 3rd - Zephyr Sylvester 4th - Tasha Thomas 5th - Essence Barton

Cheers to another outstanding event. Much gratitude to the riders, sponsors, and volunteers who make the magic happen.

Up next: CES season finale, the Ashland Mountain Challenge presented by Ashland Mountain Adventures on October 7, 2017 in Ashland, Oregon.

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 ComponentsFOXClif BarWTBCanyonKali ProtectivesMichael David WineryCranked NaturalsKenda TiresDHaRCOKMCAdventure Sports JournalGamutVolerESI GripsMike's Bikes and TrailWorks.

Learn more about the series at californiaenduroseries.com.

Words by Michele Charboneau
Photos by Scott and Melody McClain, Called To Creation

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