The state of Colorado is able to boast some of the most breath taking locations in the country, without argument. Whether it's a secluded lake at 12,000' only to be found after a six mile hike through mosquito infested woods, or the inspirational view that was the muse for "America the Beautiful", Colorado has no shortage of exhilarating places to fill your lungs with mountain air and get high off the beauty that you'll find laid before you, however, Telluride, well, Telluride is something truly special and unique...
The third stop of the 2019 Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro p/b Maxxis brings us to Telluride, Colorado. A year-round destination located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The town's history is based around mining, however, the town's history also includes bank robberies by Butch Cassidy and the formation of one of the top ten skiing areas found in the United States. But this weekend it played host to 450 mountain bike enthusiasts chomping at the bit to conquer the 9,000' of climbing (including lifts) and almost 10,000' of descending over 33 miles. This stop of the BME also played host to their inaugural Downhill Race which was to be held after the enduro event in Telluride Bike Park.
The one day event would include two backcountry stages sandwiched by two stages in Telluride Bike Park; this was a big day for all competitors and the Colorado weather did not make life easy for the athletes who were faced with scorching heats, high winds, rain and hail before their day was done.
The athletes who entered the sport category would race three out of the four stages, passing on one of the backcountry stages known to the locals as "Deep Creek" and "Stage 2" to the competitors who were required to pedal / hike a bike up approx. 2,000' of elevation to the start of Stage Two, this included donating at least 2 gallons of blood to the relentless mosquito population on the way; it definitely had many folk (mainly the writer of this article) rethinking their life choices.
The stoke was high throughout the event leading to some fantastic racing. Fan favorite, Richie Rude had a flat on stage one which would put him behind the winner of the stage, Carson Lange, by 21 seconds, Richie fought hard the rest of the day to gain that time back, but after some savage racing from both Carson Lange and Evan Geankoplis, Rude found himself in third place at the end of the day with Lange taking second and Geankoplis grabbing the top step of the podium. The Pro Women category saw big names such as Cooper Ott, Stefanie McDaniel, and Lia Westermann roll up to the start line, but this stop of the Yeti Big Mountain Enduro p/b Maxxis would see Westermann take a clean sweep of all four stages with an overall lead of 24 seconds over Ott, and McDaniel rounding out the top three 18 seconds behind Ott.
Hosting an enduro which spans both bike park riding and backcountry stages will always be inherent with a plethora of logistical challenges, however, even with the weather playing havoc, the big day that the athletes had on their bike, and the wedding planner who needed lifts shut down in what seemed like minutes after the weather hold was lifted - this was one of those events that all the riders were stoked at the end of the day - with a beer and a taco in their hands there were big smiles on faces all around the sponsor village. This event brought a high level of stoke; there are not enough positive descriptive words in the english language to convey how beautiful of a location this was for a race, the back country stages really displayed what Colorado riding is all about, steep and techy with magnificent views. Even while hiking a bike, with your sweat and drool becoming one, you couldn't help but look around and smile. The bike park stages meant that it was easily accessible for the fans to come support their favorite rider, whether it was Lia Westermann, Richie Rude or their granddaughter
There's a lot of great places to hold a race of this caliber, but this is definitely one of the best, no argument, and we hope that we see another BME in Telluride next year.
For all results go to: https://zone4.ca/race/2019-07-27/2d79291c/results/
1. Lia Westermann
2. Cooper Ott
3. Stefanie McDaniel
4. Lacey Andersen
5. Zephyr Sylvester
1. Evan Geankoplis
2. Carson Lange
3. Richie Rude
4. Todd Renwick
5. Clayton Otto