The Northstar Enduro started out very cruel. I am pretty sure everyone had been riding the lifts all summer up the mountain as opposed to climbing the steep, long fire road. Because really who is going to climb when you can gleefully swing your legs from the seat of a perfectly good chair lift. This enduro was a 2 day event with 6 (7 for pros/experts) stages.

Stage 1 for Sport/Beginner was parts of Karpiel and Lower Sticks and Stones. Both of these trails are double blacks. Nothing like first thing in the morning hitting the steep, looseness of Karpiel. I can distinctly remember thinking ‘I COULD HAVE USED A WARM UP LAP’.

Jeni not using her brakes for once

Stage 2 for Sport/Beginner was Woods. Oh Woods. Woods was incredibly long, like so long I had snot pooling up in my goggles as it streamed out because I was breathing so hard. Woods took a few of our race team members out. Katrin broke her derailleur, ending her race weekend. Sara front flatted, rode her rim until almost the end where she crashed, picked up her bike and ran across the finish line.

Stage 3 for Sport/Beginner was Coaster. Coaster was the giggly joke of the weekend. It is a long blue trail that has little to no descending. Richie Rude, Enduro World Series winner, was racing this enduro. Everyone got a big kick out of the fact that the pros of this caliber were having to huff and puff their way through this trail with all us little people.

I saw Sara’s boyfriend at the end of day 1 and he summed it up well, “It was good! Well except the Woods. I could have done without the Woods.”

The next morning racers again trekked up the fire road.

Stage 4 for Sport/Beginner was some crazy trail outside the park that had the meanest uphill in it. Then we made our way back to the park where we proceeded to ride Sinuous, Flameout, Sticks and Stones, Manure Pile, to Kickback. I think I got that right- thank baby jesus for good taping. As I was entering Kickback to my horror I see a Specialized Academy jersey with a rider on a lesson. I am super weird about voicing my need to pass. It usually involves me hovering behind someone until they pull over. However not when I was unexpectedly off my bike earlier in this stage and needed to make up time so the rider behind me didn’t catch me. So there I was screaming like a banshee, “RACER UP! RACER UP!” Thank you to that instructor who pulled over.

Kim wrapping up the longest stage known to mankind on Kickback

Stage 5 for Sport/Beginner was Boondocks. Ah, good ole Boonies. Boondocks is double back with nothing crazy, just super loose with a few rocks. However you can have clean runs down Boonies or you can get taken out. There is a feature in the beginning with an awkward entrance. You dip to the right then left in a sandpit, go up a tiny bridge then down a narrow rock passage. For most of us non pros, we never did this feature during regular riding. We all reluctantly practiced it during training runs. Lots of whoops from all that made it through.

Stage 6 for Sport/Beginner was Gypsy. Gypsy is a blast with features. That was a great way to end a long 2 days of racing.

Rachel coming in hot on Gypsy

This was a really fun enduro with lots of great interactions with other riders. Northstar can be intimidating so it was hard not to be emotional when we finished.

Michelle and Kim still smiling after a long 2 days of racing

Congrats to all the podium winners AND all the racers that finish this race!!

Expert Women:
1st Syra Fillat
2nd Courtney Short
3rd Kristen del Campo
4th Christine Sodaro
5th Xylena Hopp

Sport Women:
1st Macy Craft
2nd Michae Musick
3rd Morgan Smith
4th Anne-Laure Strong
5th Emily Summers

Sport Women 35+
1st Jeni Boltshauser
2nd Rachel Kagan
3rd Nicole Falk
*we lost a few homies to DNFs- these rad ladies will get ’em next time!

Beginner Women
1st Erin McCaleb
2nd Ava Ahlberg
3rd Kim Rafter
4th Leah Kallen
5th Michelle Grady