Sometime last year TGR put out an article called The Three (And a Half) Types of Fun, Explained. Since you probably are not going to follow the link I provided, I'll give you a blow by version here.
Type I fun: Always awesome, all the time. You could do what you're doing all day and it would never suck.
Type 1.5 fun: Mostly awesome, most of the time, except when it sucks.
Type II fun: Mostly shitty, most of the time. BUT you get to brag about it and 'cause, you know, the experience is everything.
Type III fun: Never ever fun because you're afraid you won't make it back alive.
Let me preface just a little more. At the end of last season, BME put out a survey and asked what we, the racers, would like to see this season. My answer was something like "no more chairlifts." I'm sure I'm not the only one that gave that answer either. It's not that lift-accessed riding isn't awesome, because it definitely is, but when it comes to racing in bike parks, it just doesn't have the same appeal as a huge day out in the backcountry. To steal a line from Ed Masters, the spirit of enduro, for me, is based in good 'ol backcountry single track that takes some time and effort to get to. Just like hiking to the bottom of the Canyon would be a lot less spiritual for me if they built a gondola to phantom ranch, taking a chairlift to the top of a trail has the same affect. Don't get me wrong though, I still love doing endless laps in Winter Park, or Angel Fire, or Keystone. I still grin like an idiot when I look out from the top of a mountain--even if I took a chairlift to the top--I love bike park dirt just the same, and the Grand Canyon would still be a beautiful place if they put in a tram--just a little less fulfilling.
Now that you know the three and a half types of fun and I've stood on my soap box, we can talk about the opening round of the Big Mountain Enduro series in Santa Fe this last weekend. It was epic, perhaps too epic for some, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. In our one day of racing we covered 4 stages, 35 miles, 7,500 feet of climbing, and 10+ hours on the bike. That's no small feat. I'm happy to report that I made it out alive and almost unscathed (I only shoulder checked one tree), and managed to finish 3rd. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy about it. The riding at Gloreita had me feeling very at home, with a lot of dry dirt, pine trees, rocks, and big drops. Though I was definitely feeling pretty flat by the time the pro women dropped on stages 3 and 4, I felt WAY better than I thought I would after 6,500', and then 7,500' of climbing and hiking--after a 7,200' day the week before I was feeling at least mentally prepared for SF, but I didn't think I'd feel as physically prepared as I was. Squats paid off I guess...
I would classify Santa Fe as type 1.5 fun, though many others would probably say type II, and some may even say type III. Regardless, I'm pretty sure that at the end of the day most everyone had a kickass time. Kudos to you BME, THAT was a race, and kudos to my ladies and everyone else that survived. You are awesome. It's off to Angel Fire for the second stop of the Enduro Cup in a couple of weeks, and I'm really looking forward to some sweet backcountry riding... and some chairlifts ;)
Race report and gallery from Eddie Clark/Mountain Flyer Magazine
Writing is something I have always been passionate about. I love sharing my stories, my thoughts, my advice, but mostly, I write to record memories and express myself. So here are a few of my fondest memories, best and worst moments, my most profound and boisterous thoughts, and riskiest advice. Enjoy!