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Pro Women champ Anneke Beerten pinned on Stage 2. Beerten swept all five stages.

Racing bikes, sampling brew, enjoying friends and family… what better way to spend a mid-summer weekend? The California Enduro Series made its way to Southern California for its fourth round of the season — the Crafts and Cranks Enduro which was part of the 4th Annual Crafts and Cranks bike racing and beer festival at Snow Summit Bike Park in Big Bear Lake. The two-day enduro took place July 28-29 and gave racers a sweet taste of the terrain found in the San Bernardino mountains.

Riders took advantage of the lifts and course tracks being open for practice all day Friday as well as much of the day Saturday. Day 1 of the race (Saturday) kicked off with a late afternoon start — Pro/Expert riders got a lift to Stage 1 (Party Wave / Westridge) while Sport/Beginner riders warmed up with a 1,380-foot climb to Stage 2 (Miracle Mile), their first stage of the race.

Both Stage 1 and 2 are part of the Snow Summit Bike Park’s powdery, loose downhill trail system. Stage 1 started out on Party Wave and linked to Westridge. This high-speed run featured paver corners, wall rides, hips, jumps, and drops. It culminated with a new jump line at the bottom of Westridge and a sprint to the finish through a short, loose rock field. Stage 2’s Miracle Mile is a true bike park run starting with a sprint into the first of many paver corners. The track also boasts a rock garden, jumps, wooden bridges, dirt berms, and a tricky corner here and there.

After Pro/Expert riders finished Stage 1, and Sport/Beginner riders finished Stage 2, they wrapped up Day 2 by swapping stages. Back at the venue, riders enjoyed live music, a “best trick” contest and a premiere of the Redbull movie North of Nightfall.

It was an early start for Day 2, with all riders starting their 1,380 foot climb to Stage 3 at 7am. Stage 3 ran on Turtle — another Summit Bike Park trail — a wide open power run with high velocity corners. Quick paver corners, long dirt berms, some jumps, and monster four to five-foot tall berms coming into the finish make this track a racer’s favorite.

After a lift up, riders ventured out of the bike park and into the adjacent San Bernardino National Forest for Stages 4 and 5 which introduced some loam to the course giving riders a feel for another type of terrain than what was raced in the first three stages. Stage 4 — the day’s shortest stage — ran on Lower Plumbers, an all-natural, somewhat pedally course that weaves through the forest with no pavers holding the loose and slippery corners together. Short sprint sections throughout the stage demanded fitness and focus.

From Stage 4, riders climbed 700 feet to Stage 5, by far the longest stage of the race. Running on Upper and Lower Fall Line, this stage put riders to the ultimate test of lungs, legs, and skill with its uphill sprints, short rock gardens, and narrow, loose turns. Those who made smart tire choices were favored on this stage due to its sharp rocks and powdery corners.

After a hot, dusty day on the mountain, riders experienced the festival by sampling beer, getting silly on carnival rides, and hanging out trading race stories while waiting for results. At day’s end, Cole Picchiottino took the top step of Pro Men podium with a total time of 25:00.2, and Anneke Beerten took her place on the top step of the Pro Women’s, having had swept all five stages, clocking a total time of 28:23.8.Scroll down for Pro Stage Summaries.

Get the pro stage blow-by-blow here. View full race results and podium shots from all categories here; 2018 individual series standings here, and team standings here.

Pro Men champ Cole Picchiottino looking fierce on Stage 5. Zoom in on those eyes behind the dark lenses!

Riders get a feel for the powdery loose terrain in practice.

Hitting up Stage 2 in practice.

The 4th Annual Crafts and Cranks festival was a family-friendly weekend of bike racing, beer tasting and carnival ride fun.

Hanging out at the top of Stage 1 waiting for the course to open.

Ibis Cycles teammates Lili Heim and Paul Serra. Serra experienced an unfortunate crash after crossing the Stage 3 finish. A re-broken collar bone took him out of the race ... and the rest of the season.

Pro Women 2nd place finisher Essence Barton getting sendy on Stage 1.

Despite a nasty crash on Stage 1 that took out his front wheel, pro rider — and CES Ambassador — Matt Guntert stayed in the race and retained his lead in the series overall.

Master Pro Men 1st place finisher Jeff Evans on Stage 1.

Pro Women contender — and CES Ambassador — Brianne Spierch in fine form lifting off on Stage 2.

Junior Pro Men 1st place finisher Travis Claypool drops into a tight paver corner on Stage 2.

K-Man and DSENDIT team members enjoying the morning before the Day 2 racing.

Big, beautiful, bountiful berms on Stage 3.

Curtis Keene rails a Stage 3 berm. Keene took Pro Men 2nd place.

3rd place finisher Evan Geankoplis carves a nice line on Stage 3.

Pro Women champ Beerten attacking Stage 3 corners in perfect form.

Expert Boys U18 Coleton Zeller threads his way through the Stage 5 trees.

Expert Women 4th place finisher Mary Metcalf getting after it on Stage 5.

Beer vendors ready for action.

Free tattoos courtesy Team Big Bear and CES.

CES Director Steve Gemelos gives out the prize for the Zodiac Lights "Best Story" giveaway to this racer who competed in his first-ever bike race at Crafts and Cranks.

The top five Pro Men shared a $7,000 prize purse. The day's top five winners were: 1st - Cole Picchiottino / 2nd - Curtis Keene / 3rd - Evan Geankoplis / 4th - Brian Lopes (absent from podium photo) / 5th - Trevor McCutcheon.

The top five Pro Women also shared a $7,000 prize purse. The day's top five winners were: 1st - Anneke Beerten / 2nd - Essence Barton / 3rd - Heidi Kanayan / 4th - Janea Perry (absent from podium photo) / 5th - Madeline Bemis (absent from podium photo).

Matt Guntert slaying Stage 2 after his brawl with Stage 1. Guntert hung on to his spot at the top of the series leaderboard.

Current series overall Pro Women leader Heidi Kanayan shredding Stage 5 powdery loam. Kanayan took 3rd place on the day.

Mike's Bikes held on to their spot at the top of the Team overall standings. Here Expert Men 30-39 contender Jason Dias navigates Stage 3's turns.

Next up: Round 5, the Northstar Enduro at Northstar California Resort. Northstar is a favorite stop on the CES schedule for its physically demanding and burly, technical course, and on August 25-26, riders will take on two intense, action-packed days of racing the mountain’s steep, loose, and rocky terrain. Attracting some of the world’s most talented riders, it is one of the three prestigious events showcased on the CES Golden Tour, and this year joins the Enduro World Series inaugural North American Continental Enduro Series. (AND is an EWS 2019 stop!!) Register for the Northstar Enduro here.

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 grateful for the support of the following sponsors: FOX, CLIF Bar, Specialized Bicycles, Dynaplug, WTB, Kenda Tires, Kali Protectives, Cranked Naturals, Michael David Winery, Voler Apparel, Park Tool, Mynesweepers, Adventure Sports Journal, ESI Grips, Gamut USA, Zodiac Lights.

Words by Michele Charboneau with Matt Guntert

Photos by Kasey Carames

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