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

Round 2 of the 2017 California Enduro Series found racers charging the hills of Toro County Park nestled between the Salinas Valley and Monterey Peninsula on Saturday, May 27. Race director Keith DeFiebre has been running his highly successfulCCCXcycling races at Toro for 16 years, and although this is just the second year he’s produced an enduro event, it’s already a racer favorite for all levels and ages.

The Toro Enduro’s 20-mile course tested both fitness and handling skills with 3,200 feet of both climbing and descending on dry, loose terrain. Racers were happy for the cool, cloudy morning as they set out on extended climbs to their first timed stages. Pros and experts started their day with the heart-pumping, pedally stages 1 and 2, while sport and beginner racers kicked off with the steeper, more technical stages 3 and 4. The course sent riders through exposed grassy hills, down canyons thick with Spanish moss-hung oaks, and along streams lined with poison oak on steroids.

Between stages, riders swung by theCES Live!timing tent to check their standings. The event’s venue was perfectly situated for racers to refuel and compare times with competitors before setting back out for the next transfer and timed stage.

The clouds broke by afternoon as riders finished their races, they kicked back with friends, family and teammates to await results and podium. Judging by the smiles, laughter, and high fives all around, the Toro Enduro was clearly an event that racers of all levels felt great about.

View full race resultshere.

Stan Jorgensen makes his way to the first stage of the day. With that big smile on his face it's hard to tell if he's even working on this climb. Jorgensen took that smile all the way to 4th place pro men.

Brianne Spiersch, Caro Gomez Villafañe and Essence Florie take a moment in solidarity before taking on the day.

Top of the first transfer ... let's rock this day!

Ear to ear grins out in the Toro Park hills all day.

Ryan Gardner (Kona / DHaRCO) gets set to charge stage 1.

Blaise Janssen (The Path) – pinned here in the flat section on stage 1 – would finish 2nd on the day in the Junior Expert category.

Scott Chapin (Santa Cruz) contemplates _______________.

Brian Gordon rounds the corner of picturesque stage 1.

Brian Astell gave the course a good run on race day, after taking a group of riders out to pre-ride it the day before as part of his TrailWorks coaching program which is partnering with CES for the season.

By day's end, all three of these Marin riders found themselves on the pro podiums. Left to right: Cory Sullivan, Janea Perry, Evan Geankoplis.

Evan Geankoplis (Marin) rips past stage 2's jungle of poison oak. Riders were grateful for Tecnu's support of the series, protecting themselves against this much-loathed plant.

Brian Gordon, who works in R & D at Specialized, checks his stage 1 and 2 times mid-race using the new CES Live! app on the website.

Essence Florie (VP Components) – riding fast and furious throughout the day – led through the first three stages. Florie unfortunately dropped her chain in the final stage, allowing for Janea Perry to overtake her and nab the top step.

How about those soul-crushing steep transfers?

Rachel Anders still has energy left for a smile. She finished the day in 5th place pro women.

James Eves (Bicycle Blue Book) sending it on one of the stage 3 jumps. Eves finished the day on the top step pro men podium.

Zephyr Sylvester (Mike's Bikes) flying down stage 4. Her solid day of racing put her in 3rd place pro women.

Janea Perry (Marin) crushed the climbs and railed the descents, all the way to 1st place pro women.

Nick DiNapoli (Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) ready to get after it.

Ryan Gardner (Kona / DHaRCO) railing a stage 4 off-camber switchbacks. The dirt was loose and deep!

What a great day to give it all you've got!

Race promoter Keith DeFiebre is not immune to the steep bits on the course he designed. He says, “I’m a racer, and love to plan routes from a racer’s perspective. It’s important to me to offer races with clearly-marked courses that all levels of racers can have fun on and be safe riding.” He adds, "My idea of a great event is to race hard, then chill and go over the action afterwards.”

Yes, you go up. But then you come ... down. So many amazing trails out there on the Toro Enduro course!

Back at the centralized venue, racers and spectators fueled up with Clif offerings and Cranked Naturals.

100% lent its support to the Toro Enduro and set up shop to showcase its wares.

Although he didn't quite make podium, it was still a damn fine day for Ryan Gardner. (Well, who *doesn't* have fun riding in DHaRCO kit? !!)

Pro Women Podium: 1st - Janea Perry / 2nd - Essence Barton / 3rd - Zephyr Sylvester / 4th - Brianne Spiersch / 5th - Rachel Anders

Pro Men Podium: 1st - James Eves / 2nd - Cory Sullivan / 3rd - Evan Geankoplis / 4th - Stan Jorgensen / 5th - Tim Krentz

Here’s to another fantastic day of racing – high fives to all! Next up: round 3 June 17-18 – the Wild Wood Adventure Enduro in Mendocino, produced by Mendocino Bike Sprite!

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, Mike’s Bikes, ESI Grips, 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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