Transition Bikes Experience at The Dirty Sanchez Enduro 1

Build it, rip it, burn it down, repeat.

The Dirty Sanchez Enduro is an off-the-grid, invite-only mountain biking event on private steeps of hella NorCal. TDS embraces the paradox of true mountain biking. True mountain biking involves physically creating places to ride your mountain bike. Countless hours of sweat, swearing and shovel provide priceless few seconds of two-wheeled thrills, while at the same time, destroying the created place to ride your bike.  A mountain biker creates something so they can enjoy destroying it. The gnardoggies behind TDS (like Mark Weir and the Sanchez family for example) love to work, love to build and most importantly, love to destroy what they make with friends and family. Open it up, rip it to shreds, burn it down, build it back up, do it again next year. We're honored that the fun-loving crew at Transition Bikes shared their TDS experience and survival with all of us. Enjoy! -gordo


Waterworld on land, Disneyland for shredding, Burningman for bikes… We’ve been describing the TDS as such things. This is the setting when you first roll into the Sanchez family compound where the race is held. Adjacent to Empire Mine State Park which is considered to be one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest and richest gold mines in California. The plot the Sanchez family purchased is engulfed in poison oak and boasts perfect terrain for a 12 stage two day mountain bike fest. Upon arriving you are immediately greeted by Casey Sanchez with a huge smile, a big hug and directions on where to post up. This is one of the best aspects of the event; If granted an invitation, you are family. Just don’t step out of line, too much.

Tight but loose. There is method to the madness and one must live the life. Pretending does not stand a chance here. Kevin, Drew, Skye, Lars and Blake from Transition were all attending. Kev and Lars were racing with the others in support mode. Other TR family members included Logan Wetzel, Alex McAndrew, Marco Osborne, Cory Sullivan, Teddy Jamarillo, Johny Salido, Aaron Bradford, Ariel Lindsley, Craig Harvey, Ryan Beamish, Kevin Barrett and Ben Furbee. A crew of 6 drove down from Bellingham in the van over the course of the previous couple days, riding in Portland and Ashland along the way, sleeping under the stars and BBQ’ing. Fun fact, the last shower anyone had was Wed evening.“WOW! What the funk just happened!” - Drew

Alex shown here in full TDS mode, all smiles. As if the TDS crew didn’t already have enough work to do, they decided to build a dual slalom course for a seeding race held on Friday evening after practicing all 12 stages. The Red and Blue runs were combined to seed riders after the previous years top 10 finishers who were granted plate numbers 1-10.

Hannah Bergman (Transition’s adopted Kona rider for the roadtrip) synchronizing perfect left turns with Craig Harvey. The Slalom course was a masterpiece. 2 right’s and 3 left’s. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Lars N Bars in full ‘Jimmy’ mode with Ty Hathaway pushing up post first lap. Ty owns Golden Saddle Cyclery and is a full time Gypsy with his lady Julie DeConcini. They’ve been staples at many fun events for years including TDS.

There were many different approaches to the racing. Some more fun than others.

Ron and Casey Sanchez going over the do’s and dont’s of the weekend’s festivities. One of the rules not to be broken was to not stop at all of the many road crossings during practice. If not observed, you were to expect a 5 star warning, which wasn’t going to be pretty. The Sanchez family begins working on the event in early January and are pretty much full gas every weekend leading up to the event. There is a huge push to clear blowdown and winter carnage, all the behind the scenes operating logistics and many other tedious tasks. Every racer receives a Camelback water bottle emblazoned with the ‘Goggleman’ logo, a TDS shirt, a Tecnu survival pack, other goodies and a promise of good times.

Aaron ‘the sloth’ Bradford striking on an early Saturday morning race run. The Baron of Radford was on a vision quest of sorts, you’d have to see it to understand it. One of the most easygoing human beings you could ever meet. Past spirit leader and bringer of good times. Another fun fact - your heart rate goes down 5-10 bpm just being in his presence.

Alex on one of the toothier bits of Saturday morning’s race runs. There are 10 tracks you are allowed to pre-ride, and a couple of blind stages. Not all are technical but there is the perfect mixture of terrain to keep you on your toes. Approx 600’ vert on the property from the start to finish and stage times ranging from 2.5 - 3.5 minutes in length. Racers are given shuttles for 3 race runs each day and have to pedal to the top the other three. The Polaris shuttles can be as entertaining as the racing at times.

Look closely and you’ll spot an imported from Washington Transition/Kulshan ‘Party iN the Woods’ beer being tossed to a thirsty onlooker. Lars selected a few stages to carry libations down in a Dakine Party Pack to help the spectators stay hydrated. There were zero complaints from the crowd, and by 12:47pm people were already thirsty.

Kev, holding on for dear life while a gnome looks on.

Marco doing Marco things. His lesser known nickname given to him by those close to him is the ‘Arachnid’ because he has the uncanny ability to ride things out that shouldn’t be. Most racers were rolling this rock move, Randy hucked, scrubbed and aired through this tree like a boss much to the approval of the spectators.

Just follow the gnomes, they are the spirit guides for those that are lost. TDS is one of the rare events in which it can be just as fun to spectate as it is to race. Full engagement on all ends. The crowd travels across the hill to each stage, and no racer can depart until everyone is in place to watch each stage. There are activities that integrate spectators and racers such as, kick the can, whip the beer, ass slap alley and lots of cheering and heckling.

Charlie, the leader of the self-proclaimed Nerds. These guys come all the way from Marin to watch and party. They host an epic RC session on the track Saturday night surrounded by towering double decker shipping containers. On the race days they can be found on 50cc dirt bikes communicating with one another via two way radio, adorned with wigs and lots of ‘treats’ should you be in need.

Cory Sullivan ripping some rocks. Cory placed 2nd and is a full time employee at The Hive. One of the nicest and most modest people you could meet. He has been attending the TDS for years. #workingclasshero


A Nerd in his natural habitat.

Lars n Bars gingerly picking his way down one of the many hecklefests. 2.5 months post-surgery getting a 2nd plate put in his clavicle, the TDS was his benchmark for riding again. Taking it easy and enjoying the journey. He planted his foot on the last stage of day one and gained a grapefruit size ankle with plenty of color. He was unable to race on Sunday, but was out on the course sidelines bringing the energy on Sunday.

Logan Wetzel on stage 4 Saturday, the first blind stage. Skye said Logan easily displayed the most style off the roadgap kicker. Not bad for an ex-xc’er. “A day at TDS kicks off with an early morning horn blast; a signal to rise from dusty poison oak oiled sleeping bags, pull on dirty riding gear, and head for the smoldering fire ring. The mind is foggy and there is much to do. Practicing the race course means blitzing through each of 12 stages at specific time windows while hanging on for lap after lap of Polaris shuttles back to the top. This whole ride feeling in California spirit of Disneyland. Race days are much the same, but with a greater emphasis on survival. Poison oak, sharp rocks, gold mine arsenic dirt, and dust EVERYWHERE. Don’t leave the trail, crash, or touch anything. It’s all hot lava! TDS ideally represents the ‘tight but loose lifestyle.’ While the riding, racing, and long days are demanding and focused, the night life is an endurance event of going hard around the biggest campfire you’ve ever seen with some of the best people you will ever meet. Old friends, new friends, and veterans and badasses of Semper Fi share stories past and present. Besides the RC races, tail whips, supercross, raging fire all happening simultaneously, TDS nights are a reminder that life is about making memories and spending time with good people.” - Logan

The Baron. One of the 4 previous spirit leaders. Aaron gave a very heartfelt speech about his place in the spirit leader alumni at the awards ceremony about what TDS and being a spirit leader means to him. Each year an award is given to the individual who not only races, but goes full gas all day and night. The first leader award was given to Mark Weir, the second to Ariel ‘Loambowski’ Lindsley, the third to Aaron Bradford, and fourth to Ali Osgood (Who was unable to attend and present the current award). These four currently comprise the Spirit Leader board of directors. They, with oversight from the Sanchez’s, determine the recipient of the weekend’s award. This person gains the right to join the board the following year. There were a couple people in the running, but one of the requirements is that you must finish the race. Alas, our own Lars had to forfeit his candidacy. (There was discussion about throwing this rule out after the 2019 award was given).

Some people go all in in their support of the event. You’ll find this logo everywhere at TDS, which was designed by Buddy Newman. “I grew up riding, racing, and training with a core group of friends. Buddy was one of them. Pops bought the ranch so we had a place to train and ride. As we grew up and got real jobs buddy chased a career in graphic design with WTB. He was so good at it. We would often find him up late night designing the next wheel or saddle for production. When the race came along we wanted a logo and of course turned to Buddy. He was the creator of the ‘Goggle Man’ and we hold it very close to our heat after his passing on December 9th 2015. The Goggle Man keeps his spirit present and we will never forget where it came from!” - Casey Sanchez

And others sacrifice their body in different ways for the event. Ariel Lindsley here with Lars discussing the finer points of the day’s festivities. Ariel took a big slam in the slalom and broke multiple ribs and was unable to race, and could barely walk on Saturday. He was able to make it out on course Sunday and was a welcome addition to the crew joining Lars, Drew, Skye and Blake in the very large group of spectators.

The weather was hot and dry this year. Dusty trails, dirty bikes and bodies were plenty. The fire pit is the centerpiece of the central TDS compound. Transformed from a casual bench in daylight hours to a raging bonfire with 25’ flames at night. Tales are told, friends are made, and memories created around this fire every year. One of the criteria for earning the spirit leader award is to be one of the last people standing here every night. Many try, most fail

One of the most incredible and humbling aspects of the TDS is the inclusion of the crew from the Semper Fi Fund. Sam Tickle, the program manager, brings staff, disabled and non-disabled athletes to the event. Peter Way shown here ripping the post speed trap corner. The Sanchez’s, along with the help from Weir and slew of others host the Semper Fi Fund team Monday and Tuesday post TDS for a ride camp. Peter Way, Christopher Fezmire, Jeremy Mcghee (Esteemed civilian), along with upright racers Ryan Beamish and Art Sykes race with the rest of the competitors both days.

Kevin blasting down the speed trap chute. On Sunday, Kevin wore his FMD Transition World Cup team floral shirt with sleeves removed in honor of Tahnee’s victory at the first WC event. For every stage he successfully completed he unbuttoned one button at a time, so that by stage 12 he was fully undone and flowing with freedom.

Pete Way blasting 26 miles an hour down the speed trap. “We are now in our 3rd year attending TDS with Team Semper Fi mountain bike riders from all over the country. The Sanchez family has gone out of its way year after year to ensure our guys are set up to take part in and enjoy this week to the fullest. We had two service members racing for the third year in a row, while the rest of the Team takes time to enjoy the race but also volunteer driving bike shuttles, working the start gate and cleaning up after the race. New this year, Ron Sanchez and I wanted to showcase handcycles in a few stages of the race each day, bringing awareness to riders of all abilities. We had three handcylcle riders ripping through the crowd for 4 stages of the TDS this year and the support was deafening! Ron and Casey even went as far as to rebuild all of the wood features around the ranch last year to accommodate the width of the handcycles, and provide ride arounds for some of the gap jumps they might not be able to make. Every year I am just completely overwhelmed by the unconditional love and support we get from the Sanchez family and the TDS community.” - Sam Tickle – Director, Sports Program - Semper Fi Fund

Julie, Ty and their mini dog Oslo could be found all over the tracks on Sunday. Ty broke his hand on Saturday, and in true TDS form he jumped right into full spectator heckle duty. The camaraderie shared between the racers and everyone else is monumental. Fun statistic, 1 in 5 racers get broke off in some form by the end of the weekend and 99% of them stick around.

Cory sending the blind stage road gap. You can see the little timing chip on his right fork stanchion pants. Professional timing duties were handled by Clipped In Races out of Sacramento. Full face helmets mandatory for obvious reasons.

Dillon Osleger was one of the medic sweeps during the event. Even a lot of the staff shred!

No description needed.

Kick the can. One of various communal activities provided by both fans and racers. Cans are strategically placed at the end of a fire road crossing right as the trail drops off to the right then into a hairy left. The bigger the drift into the cans, the bigger the risk of not making it around the aforementioned turns. Another one bites the dust.

Marco ‘Randy’ Osborne. 100% contact with an Ol’ Republic Brewery can on one of the sketchiest jumps you can imagine. Ol’ Republic not only sponsors the event, they provided the water jet cutting on the awards. TDS is a full community affair. Marco eventually came out on top with a 36 second lead, and his first clean run through Vigilante in years.

Trikes can smash cans too.

Thank you for your service!

Logan Wetzel experiencing ‘Ass slap alley’. Just another interactive event to participate in. If you’re racing, you better be ready for anything.

Kevin getting some full contact.“Going into TDS blind is kind of intimidating to say the least, and that doesn't even take into account the racing. I was told imagine the movie Waterworld with Kevin Costner in mountain bike race format. Tales of loose and gnarly trails that will chew you up were also conjured up. All this added up to a giant lump in my throat before I dropped into the venue. As I slowly immersed myself into the TDS world I realized this is a family of riders that just want to have fun. No attitude or bravado, just an arms open wide environment that delivered one of the best race experiences I have ever had. Racing an all pro event when you aren't a pro was also on my mind but quickly dispelled as I met a band of brothers at the back of the pack. Art from team Semper Fi, Marshall a local shop employee and my wingman Kevmo from Shimano battled the 12 stages with huge smiles on our faces. What place we were in or how fast we went was irrelevant, this shared experience was something that we would never forget.” - Kevin Menard / Transition Bikes owner

Just another party in the woods.

Carly, Tandie and Casey Sanchez give Weir a special Overall Spirit Leader award because he’s the godfather of spirit. Look carefully, the heart that is on there is ‘for not dying, because that took the most spirit.’ In 2018 Weir experienced what is called ‘The widowmaker’. A 99% blockage in the lower descending artery. He says that if he hadn’t been such an avid biker his body wouldn’t have created the blood pathways around the blockage which eventually saved him in the end. Ron’s nickname for Weir is #peterpanmotherfu*ker because he’s the king of Never Never Land.

Patrick O’neil is one of the original TDS crew. He’s dubbed the enforcer, because well, he enforces. Fable has it he got removed from shuttle crew because a racer criticized his driving, and Patrick stopped the Polaris and removed said racer and bike from the vehicle. Contrary to his nickname, Patrick is a large human with a big heart. We love Patrick. Ringleader of Ass Slap Alley.

Ray Syron, eventual winner of the spirit leader award. There’s a time and a place for plugging sponsors at an award ceremony, this wasn’t one. What he really meant to say was - I feel like I’ve been training for this event my entire life and I’m humbled to have been given the last few days experiences to carry with me forever. TDS is a gift, and these last few days have been some of my best. I take home cherished moments of days and nights spent with some of my favorite people new and old. We are all so lucky to be able to share moments like this, and it helps us remember that everyone is not so fortunate. Thank you Sanchez family, spirit leader board and everyone else who makes this event what it is. I will do my best to remember what it takes to be a spirit leader and spread the love. And I will be back next year. We still love ya Ray, wisdom comes in due time.

Women’s podium - Rae Morrison, Amy Morrison, Martha Gill, Essence Florie

Men’s podium - Marco Osborne, Cory Sullivan, Duncan Nason, Warren Kniss

All the winners were provided an Axial RC car, Ol’ Republic Beer, and a custom award.

Mason Bond super local earned a well deserved Ice’ing on the podium. He endured every manner of heckling from the crowd. Silent cheers, quiet cheers, cheering someone else’s name… What a legend.

“Driving up to TDS, you are leaving the world as you know it, and entering the mountain bike version of Waterworld. Everywhere you look there's tents, vans, dirt bikes, fireworks, RC cars, ATVs, gnomes packs and many other wild and eccentric things you can't describe. Much like the movie, everyone is out there to survive. From the rugged tracks to the poison oak, racers and spectators are never safe. If you want to make it out alive, you have no option but to jump in, get dirty, and join the fest that the Sanchez family has created. You'll not only have the best time of your life, but you'll leave with more friends, probably a little less skin, a massive appreciation for the Semper Fi Fund, and an experience you won't ever forget.” - Skye Schillhammer / Photographer and video editor for all Transition TDS content

TDS would like to thank the following partners for keeping the TDS dream alive:

Fasthouse, WTB, Ol’ Republic, Specialized, Semper Fi, Onyx, Camelbak, Violich Farms, Bell, Transition, Julbo, Ride Concepts, BICS, Sock Guy, Canondale, Bosch, Shimano Steps, Modus, Tour of Nevada City, Roseville Cyclery, Clif, Body Logic, BPFM, Telestream, Fit Culture, Plaza Tire, Fox, Viva Tierra, Dynaplug, Dragon Graphics, Robinson Enterprises, Camp Chef, Dunn Vineyards, Grenon and Sons, Manito Construction, Herc Rentals, Hansen Bros., YBONC, Bistro 221, Clipped in Races

The Transition team would like to thank, in no order of appearance- The Sanchez clan, the Weir clan, our peripheral family that attended, the Lee’s Farola, the Grass Valley and surrounding area locals, the TDS racers, the TDS attendees, the NERDS, Skye Allsop, The Ride Concepts crew for putting a blanket up and saving us from certain death by throwing star misfires, the poison oak of TDS for being gentle on us and every other human in attendance for making the event what it is.


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