Words by Lauren Gregg
Last weekend over 700 mountain bikers descended on the small mountain town of Mammoth Lakes, California, to compete in the 2014 Kamikaze Bike Games. Racers of all mountain disciplines were in attendance, with riders competing in the Pro GRT Downhill, Dual Slalom, Cross Country, Speed and Style, the legendary Kamikaze Downhill Race and of course, the Shimano Enduro.
The Kamikaze Bike Games Enduro was held on Sunday—it was a sold out crowd of 300 riders for the fourth stop of the California Enduro Series. The pumice trails on the mountain this weekend were extremely dry and loose, making for some sketchy conditions on Friday and Saturday, but by Saturday afternoon the skies were dark and riders hoped for rain. The clouds opened up Saturday night, and Enduro racers were thrilled that the trails would be getting some much needed moisture.
On Sunday morning, racers had a couple of hours to practice before the start and the courses' condition had been vastly improved by the rainfall the evening before. Just as everyone started gathering inside the lodge for the riders meeting, however, the sky opened up again and it started hailing and pouring rain. Due to the extreme weather, race organizers were forced to make some changes to the course and one of the four stages was cut from the race. After a somewhat tense riders meeting, with everyone staring out the window watching the the weather, the storm broke and allowed the first racers to ride the lift to the top of stage one.
The Enduro racers were in luck. The morning's downpour left the trails in all-time epic conditions.
During the riders meeting, race organizers explained the changes that needed to be made to the course due to weather. Photo by Bogdan Marian
The storm broke and the race began. Photo by Bogdan Marian
Rachel Throop looking fast and smooth. Throop won the first stage, but a collision with a tree left her with a broken pinky-finger in stage two. She still completed the race and ended up 2nd overall in the pro women's field. Photo by Bogdan Marian
Marco Osborne charges through the rocks on stage 1. Photo by Called to Creation.
Stage 1 offered riders a chance to get airborne entering Mammoth's Flow trail. Photo by Called to Creation.
Ryan Gardener looking focused, as he pinned it down stage 2. Photo by Bogdan Marian.
Follow Me, a trail on stage 2, challenged racers with technical rock and root sections. Photo by Called to Creation.
Brian Lopes was the fastest man on the mountain, defending his title and ending up on top of the Pro Men's podium. Photo by Called to Creation
Stage 3 required racers to pedal hard right to the finish line. Many racers found the race to be physically challenging at Mammoth's high altitude. Photo by Called to Creation.
Mammoth offers lots of technical terrain and many riders finished the day with stories of epic crashes. Photo by Called to Creation.
Men's Pro Podium: 1st, Brian Lopes; 2nd, Marco Osborne; 3rd, Tom Doran; 4th, Jon Buckell; 5th, Douglas Thayer
Photo by Called to Creation.
Women's Pro Podium: 1st, Amy Morrison; 2nd, Rachel Throop; 3rd, Jackie Swider; 4th, Lauren Gregg; 5th, Brianne Spiersch.
Photo by Called to Creation.
Previous California Enduro Series races:
Gallery: California Enduro Series round 3
Gallery: California Enduro Series round 2
Gallery: California Enduro Series round 1