The Oregon Enduro Series stops in Hood River this weekend for the third race of its 2012 tour. The two-day, six-stage event is a mix of cross country and downhill mountain biking on the forested single-track trails of Hood River’s west side.
Formerly the Hood River Super D, this year’s event is presented by Santa Cruz and Shimano and is part of a statewide points series that stops in Bend, Ashland, Hood River and Sisters before the season finale finals on the southern slopes of Mount Hood in early September
Upwards of 250 entrants are already preregistered for the event, including many of the top riders from across the west and around the world.
“We are the premiere enduro series in North America, and the Hood River stop is definitely one of the best courses of the year,” said Jeremy Tufts, Oregon Enduro Series marketing and PR manager. “The majority of racers are from the West Coast, but people are coming literally from all over the world to race in the series.”
The event is broken into six stages over two days; starting Saturday at Kingsley Reservoir and finishing Sunday near the bottom of Post Canyon Road. Each section includes a timed downhill run and an untimed uphill transition to the next stage. Riders’ times will be added together at the end for an overall result.
For the professional category, racers will be pushing the limits of the trails, their bikes and their guts on the steep, rocky, tight-cornering trails that have become widely popular for the sport over the last several years. For others, amateur categories and well-spaced starts give less-serious riders the opportunity to participate in a structured race without fear of being overrun from behind by a trailblazing madman on a $5,000 bike.
“The race is absolutely open to everyday riders,” Tufts said. “It is a great excuse for everyday riders to race on their everyday trails. That said, there are a lot of very fast riders coming out of Hood River and we’re expecting to see some up on the podium Sunday afternoon.”
Saturday’s four stages bring riders from Kingsley to the bottom of Post Canyon. For those familiar with the area, the course starts on the 170 trail, follows the old Super D course, passes by FMX, down Blue Car, up to Mitchell Ridge and down to the power lines. For those unfamiliar, it’s about 6 miles of white-knuckle downhill and 3.5 miles of non-timed transition riding.
Sunday’s final two stages feature about 5 miles of downhill and 2.6 miles of climbing that starts at the Binns Hill Staging Area and again ends at the bottom of Post Canyon.
The Hood River race was originally scheduled for early June as the first stop on the tour. Organizers had to scramble to restructure the series due to severe damage to trails and trees caused by a January ice storm.
“We didn’t have access to some of the course until just a few weeks ago,” Tufts said. “The damage up there was crazy, but the course is in great shape now.”
Tufts said the storm gave Oregon Enduro Series organizers and volunteers the opportunity to help support the trail system by volunteering in cleanup efforts.
“In helping with cleanup from the ice storm, it allowed us to show the Hood River community that we’re not trying to just put on a race, tear up the trails and leave. We want to show that we are ready and willing to help better the trail systems where we hold the races.”
For info or to pre-register see www.oregonenduro.com. Registration fee is $90 for both days and includes food and shuttles to starting areas both days.