Thrills & spills: Enduro Race Series excites racers at Powderhorn
Kevin Roof hit a tree.
Then another rider zipped, down the trail and a crash could be heard, followed by a profanity piecing the air at Powderhorn Mountain Resort.
In both cases, the riders hopped back on their mountain bikes and continued to the bottom with mostly bruised pride and no serious injuries.
Roof just smiled.
“I came away unscathed but two of the guys I came down with did not,” he said with a grin. “So, I guess one of three is good, or not.”
The Rocky Mountain Enduro Race Series came to Powderhorn over the weekend for two days of racing. On Saturday, mountain bikers raced a cross-country course, then on Sunday, they switched their endurance fortitude to full-throttle adrenaline thrills.
Even with slamming into a tree, Roof’s first time gliding down the downhill singletrack trails at Powderhorn left an impression with the 36-year-old from Denver.
“They’re good, they’re technical, they’re intense,” he said. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”
Powderhorn is in its second summer season of mountain biking after opening three downhill trails last year.
The enduro race series started with cross-country races on private property right below the resort. Winners were determined by a total combined time from the two days.
Saturday’s downhill races were made up of three runs in the fast and technical downhill trails that have berms, jumps and contoured corners so racers could hit top speeds and go airborne if they wanted.
The races had divisions for juniors and adults, and welcomed all skill levels.
As 17-year-old Nick Currier blasted down the course, his smooth riding and bike-handling skills were evident. Then he came to a small jump near the bottom. He didn’t only nail the jump but added a little style to his flight, twisting his bike sideways before pushing it back straight for the landing. He didn’t lose much speed, as he zipped through the next curve.
The Fruita teen enjoys mountain biking and loves the downhill thrills at Powderhorn.
“I come up here pretty much every weekend,” he said.
Since the downhill-only trails opened, he’s found a home close to home.
“Finally, we don’t have to drive for hours to get somewhere, it’s nice to have good trails right here,” he said.
Now that the trails are more packed down and bike-tested, it’s a major improvement over last year.
“They are so much better, they’ve done so much to them,” Currier said. “They added some sand to them, so even if it’s wet, we can still ride. It’s super nice.”
After a short morning rainstorm on Sunday, the trails were a little slick in places but still rideable and raceable.
The Rocky Mountain Enduro Race Series is a points series with five different stops in three states. Powderhorn was the second race after starting in Angel Fire, New Mexico. The series heads to Steamboat Springs next, then to Moab before finishing on Monarch Pass near Salida.
Around 50 mountain bikers raced over the weekend, which drew a number of riders from the Front Range and other areas.
Aiden Berk and his brother Owen came over from Golden to race, and they were impressed.
“The trails are awesome,” 14-year-old Aiden said. “The mountain is pretty new, is what I heard, but the trails are surprisingly really good.
“It’s a lot of fun and there’s some decent-sized jumps. The dirt up here is so amazing,” he added, before he headed back up on the Flat Top Flyer for his final run.
After taking on the technical and intense trails, Roof liked what he saw too.
“I think they’re in great shape, they have a good future ahead of them,” he said.
Currier raced both days but the downhill races were the highlight of the weekend. He admitted that he prefers the downhill speed over the cross-country work.
“I like downhill better, for sure,” he said, smiling. “I love the speed and you don’t have to pedal so much.”
The resort and the Flat Top Flyer are open on the weekends for mountain biking through October, weather depending.