Big Mountain Enduro – Mobbing in Moab

From our friends on the Geronimo Racing Team

Brian Buell racing along Porcupine Rim in the shadow of the La Sal Mountains. Photo Dan Dunn

Concluding Interbike I battled the Las Vegas blues for a while, but finally my body couldn’t keep up with everything and I went down hard wednesday all day with a full body bug. This was not conducive to my preparation, but I rallied and made my way out to one of my most cherished places on earth late Thursday evening. After a fantastic dinner with Nat Ross and Holly, it was straight back to the Slickrock RV park and into my Kelty tent with an early morning Whole Enchilada shuttle.

An early morning Latte at the Love Muffin is a must do before any epic Moab day. Photo Brian Buell

Holly and I stoked on the day for different reasons, little does she know what is about to happen. Photo Brian Buell

She said “OF COURSE!” making me the happiest dude in bike shorts. Photo Stranger on trail

Little did Holly know, but I had been planning this day out for quite some time and I started it off right with a breakfast stop at our favorite cafe Love Muffin. Snow had fallen on the La Sal Mountains and the prospect of riding Burro down looked bleak. The Whole Enchilada Shuttle company head honcho and local shred hound Kyle Mears made the call and to my disappointment we would forgo Burro and headed to Hazard Trailhead. My initial plan to bring Holly back to our original meeting spot amongst the aspen trees for my planned proposal was a no go, time to figure out a plan B. The view from Hazard was amazing, but it was frigid and snow graced the ground so we quickly made haste. Holly and I were having a great ride moving quickly and by the time we knew it we were at the porcupine overlook. Holly was jazzed on the ride and was through with her snack ready to continue, it was now or never! While posing for pictures overlooking Castle Valley, on the 3rd photo Holly was ready to jump in the air when I went to a knee and asked the love of my life to “Marry Me”. It was an incredible moment, I captured it on both camera and Go Pro and had a group of older gentlemen congratulating me immediately following the proposal. The rest of the ride we had huge smiles on our faces as we floated down Porcupine, I couldn’t ask for a more amazing day/ride to share this experience with Holly. After enjoying an amazing dinner at the Sunset Grill overlooking Moab I fell asleep under the desert stars with my fiance by my side. How could life get any better? The rest of the weekend was just gravy!

This is one happy Holly taking a moment to share her stokage alongside Porcupine. Photo Brian Buell

Thanks for all of the support Devon Balet and Vitalmtb for the kind words and wishes. Photo Devon Balet/vitalmtb.com

Day 1 Stages 1-3

Working to find the flow on stage 2 while trying to navigate a tricky trail through the slickrock. Photo Dan Dunn

Riders taking and moment between stages to frienduro in the shade of a juniper tree. Photo Dan Dunn

Back up to the Magnificent 7 trails up in the Gemini Bridges area where the Enduro Cup was held back in May. It was a tough Stage 1 down Bull Run, close to 15 minutes of all out cross country sprinting awaited and my lungs burned as I inhaled the desert dust. I finished out of breath, tasting blood and the fatigue from the past two weeks was felt big time. Not one to give up I peddled the transfer stage to the start of stage 2 and took another break to find my wind again not feeling too hot. Stage 2 was about half in length and easier to find some flow, and once through the finish line I felt that the rust had finally been shaken off. Unable to pre-ride stage 3 would be a new one to me, so I took the opportunity to peddle up the transfer and rode it quickly before racing commenced. Stage 3 which was held on Gold Bar was a tough mixture of slickrock and tight blind turns, I kept it smooth and had another decent run and overall good day on the bike all things considering.

BME Day 1 Video

Results:

Stage 1:

Stage 2:

Stage 3:

Day 2 – Stages 4-5

Riders roll into the Archway Inn parking lot before sunrise to catch the early shuttle. Photo Dan Dunn

Team Geronimo would like to thank all of the photographers out there for their efforts and early days. Photo Eddie Clark

I rolled out of the tent around 5:45AM and made my final preparations before rolling down the dark road to the shuttle pickup outside the Archway Inn. A van full of bro’s cruising southbound to the La Sal Mountains stoked that the snow had for the most part melted and it was a go to Geyser Pass. I smashed a chia seed kombocha, banana and noosa yogurt and felt ready to make my way up the 1,000 foot ascent to the saddle of Burro. The sun baked the southern hillside and soon the trail up became slick as I approached the start of stage 4. Straight away off the startline it was apparent that zero sun had made an appearance on this north facing slope as the steep switchbacks had turned into one ice chute after another. It was a serious hoot chucking a foot here and there managing my way down the icy swath of trail. The adrenaline flowing through my veins would have to sustain me now for the rest of the day, because stage 5 from Hazard on would be one heck of a ride. I felt good and was having a great ride through kokopelli but once I entered the realm of Upper Porcupine I went into survival mode and kept the legs moving and riding smooth. Utilizing the strategy of picking an object in the distance and focusing in on it until I had past it and repeating was the only way I could keep pace, if I thought of the amount of distance to the finish it would have been a crushing blow to the psyche. After making a few passes I was within sight of the finish a few miles away and mostly downhill before all my momentum was halted by a mechanical, overall I spent a minute fixing it before moving again. I made my passes back and then was struck again with the same mechanical and again was off the bike losing time. Assessing the situation I eased up and made it to the finish in just over an hour and still a respectable time with setbacks. Slightly Bummed I couldn’t keep it together I was thankful to be physically feeling better and clean on the weekend.

Brian trying to hold it together as he prepares to plunge into the frozen creek crossing bottom of stage 4. Photo Alex Bamberger

North American Shimano fast guy Joe Lawwill showing those young whippersnappers how its done. Thank you Joe for a great 2013 season from Team Geronimo. Photo

BME Weekend Video

Results:

Stage 4:

Stage 5:

Overall:

A big pow wow would ensue as all of the friends I had made throughout the season came together to celebrate the end of it. This weekend was a bit of a bust racing wise, but it signified the beginning of a new chapter in my life and to be able to spend it with so many awesome, supportive people was incredible!

Riders slowly filtered in and filled the Archway’s backyard for an afternoon of food and hanging with friends. Photo Eddie Clark

These dudes are fast, congrats to all on a killer 2013 season. Bring on 2014! Photo Nick Ontiveros

MEDIA:
Velonews
Mountain Flyer
VitalMTB
Pinkbike

I would like to extend a huge thank you to all that have helped me this season, I’m extremely grateful for everything that you all have done for me and Team Geronimo in 2013 and look forward to the future.

Back to the drawing board to create a bigger and better 2014…stay tuned! Photo Andrew Wilz

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