By Ali Goulet
Park City, Utah July 21st 2012 – 6 all-mountain stages, featuring three picturesque climbs and three technical descents, saw Aaron Bradford and Mary Moncorge best a field of 150+ riders in the inaugural Bell Wasatch Enduro at Canyons Resort. Enduro comes in many forms, the most common being a multi stage event where timed descents are linked by untimed climbs. this un-intimidating format welcomes the enthusiast racer while still providing elite racers the ultimate test of skill and fitness. The 17-mile course provided 1,300-feet of climbing and three descents ranging from 6 to 12 minutes each.
The fourth stop on the North American Enduro Tour was the departure of the “fast and flowy” trails of Oregon, enter the rugged and technical trails of the Rockies. Still scary fast and flowy, Stage 4 catapulted racers down aspen lined trails reaching speeds upwards of 40mph, while Stages 2 and 6 had the additional challenge of huge water bars and steep off camber sections that had many competitors opting for a full-face.
The Women’s Pro race was a battle at every stage. Moncorge took the lead on the first timed stage, Powerade Lower Holly’s descent, grabbing 5 seconds over Wendy Palmer. Palmer struck back on the fastest stage of the day, Smartwater Upper Holly’s descent, winning by 4 seconds. Moncorge and Palmer would go into the final, Stage 6 Vitaminwater Insurgent descent with only 1 second to Moncorge’s favor. The ladies gave all on the grueling 12 minute stage and at the line Mary Moncorge (Santa Cruz Bikes) was crowned the winner with Wendy Palmer (Chile Pepper Bike Shop) in 2nd, Alisha Gibson (2nd Ave Sports) in 3rd and Kathy Sherwin (NoTubes Elite Women) making the podium in 4th!
While the top 3 Pro Men finished the day with barely a minute total separation, it was Aaron Bradford who ran away with the Bell Wasatch Enduro. Bradford started out the day putting 3 seconds into Nate Hills on stage 2, then continued that trend winning every stage on his way to the podium. The fate of the Pro Men’s field was decided on stage 6 however, the longest and most technical, Vitaminwater Insurgent descent. With 120+ racers seeing the course before the Pros, the only thing racers could expect was the unexpected. Adam Snyder (Jamis) was a victim of the unexpected as a flat dropped him from a comfortable 3rd to well outside the top ten.
When the dust settled, Aaron Bradford (SantaCruz/Fox/Easton) took top honors followed by Nate Hills (Sram/Wolf Racing), Kyle Mears (Whole Enchilada Shuttle Co. Moab,UT), Matt Johnston( Cannon Ball Racing) and race organizer Ali Goulet (Bell Helmets/Wasatch Area Ruff Ryders) rounding out the podium in 5th .
Participants wrapped up the Bell Wasatch Enduro with bellies full of BBQ and Epic Brewing Co. beers, all while taking in the sights and sounds of See-I on the Mountain Stage at Canyons Resort.