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Big Mountain Enduro Round 1 Recap - XC Racers Try on Full Face Helmets

Big Mountain Enduro Round 1 Recap - XC Racers Try on Full Face Helmets
Posted in: Our Riders, Race Reports

Big Mountain Enduro Round 1 Recap - XC Racers Try on Full Face Helmets

The Big Mountain Enduro Series has had to make some serious changes to their schedule, event locations, and the total number of participants to safely hold any of their 2020 events. What started out as a four-race series was quickly cut to two and drew racers from different disciplines looking for any chance to compete. Staple BME racers and Stan's athletes, Stefanie McDaniel, Jake Ingram, and Trevor McCutcheon were joined by their XC counterparts Erin Huck, Evelyn Dong, and Rose Grant at Big Sky Montana for the opening round. We asked our enduro and XC athletes a few questions about how their race went and if they'd venture outside their discipline.

Photos by James Stokoe

Stefanie McDaniel - 2nd Place Open Women

Summarize your experience at the Big Sky round of the BME Series in one word?

Stefanie McDaniel: Camaraderie

How did the race weekend actually play out compared to how you saw it going?

SM: For me, 2020 has been a year of no expectation. I went into this race without any expectation other than going and enjoying the epic trails the venue has to offer. I definitely had some dust to shake off, but all in all I was happy with how things turned out and having the ability to race again was the cherry on top!

A handful of Stan’s XC racers ventured outside their primary disciple to race with you, would you ever consider entering an XC event?

SM: First of all, having Rose, Erin, and Evelyn racing at the event was so awesome. I love sharing the sport and who better to share with some incredible athletes?! Earlier this year I entered my first XC event for fun and realized that no one enters XC events for fun! But in all seriousness, racing an XC event gave me so much respect for the sport and the athletes who compete, they are certainly another breed, but beyond local XC events I probably won’t veer out of the Enduro lane anytime soon.

Is there anything about the XC format that you think you’d like better?

SM: One of my favorite things about Enduro is the format of you vs. yourself on the track. It would be interesting to play with shorter times between racers to introduce some of that XC race strategy. Might need everyone to sign another waiver for that though!

 

Rose Grant - 7th Place Open Women

Summarize your experience at the Big Sky round of the BME Series in one word?

Rose Grant: Epic

How did the race weekend actually play out compared to how you saw it going?

RG: Going into an event with so many unknowns, I’d say it played out as well as it possibly could have! Nothing really went wrong, and I wasn’t as deep in over my head as I was prepared to feel.

As an XC racer, what prompted you to give Enduro racing a try? Would you attend another enduro event? If so, what changes would you make to your setup or preparation?

RS: Well, a few things! First, I had an open schedule without the typical XC races happening. Secondly, I just acquired a Pivot Switchblade with Stan’s Arch CB7 wheels, and really only had two rides on it; but having the bike and the race relatively close to home were both big factors in committing to give the enduro a try! Equally though, knowing XC Racer friends Erin Huck and Evelyn Dong would be there with the rest of the Stan’s crew made the decision even easier; and when it worked out with family schedules, it was a no brainer all the way around. Not to mention, it also provided an opportunity to gain new experience and a way to measure progress since a year ago as I was really timid in my return to racing after a season of injury.

Would you attend another enduro event? If so, what changes would you make to your setup or preparation?

RS: I would definitely consider another enduro if the opportunity presents itself. For set up, I was really happy and comfortable with the gear that I had and my bike felt really good. I’m sure if I was better educated about this type of racing, I would be pickier about set-up! For preparation, continuing to dedicate a day a week for skill work on my Switchblade is a fun way to break up training and make gains in technical skill riding. s.

 

 

Jake Ingram- 19th Place Open Men

Summarize your experience at the Big Sky round of the BME Series in one word?

Jake Ingram: EPIC

How did the race weekend actually play out compared to how you saw it going?

JI: Overall, my race weekend played out pretty close to how I saw it going. My goals going into it were to stay smooth and consistent, have fun, and try and slide into the top 20 in the stacked Pro Men's field. Looking back, I achieved all three goals and had an absolute blast at Big Sky!

A handful of Stan’s XC racers ventured outside their primary discipline to race with you. Would you ever consider entering an XC event?

JI: Absolutely. I actually spend a lot of time training on an XC bike. I had ambitions to enter a few XC events in 2020, but the whole pandemic has made that a bit tricky. I have plans to build up a new XC race bike this off-season and hope to come out swinging at some XC races in 2021.

Is there anything about the XC format that you think you’d like better?

JI: For the most part, I love the enduro format; just you and the trail. No excuses, you just have to execute when it comes down to your race run. That being said, I think the head-to-head format of XC racing provides a different kind of adrenaline and excitement; especially when you find yourself in a heated battle, banging bars with competitors.

 

Erin Huck - 8th Place Open Women

Summarize your experience at the Big Sky round of the BME Series in one word?

Erin Huck: Enlightening

How did the race weekend actually play out compared to how you saw it going?

EH: I underestimated the mental aspect of enduro as well as truly how every second counts. There were a few sections that I was really focused on and I messed up all of them! I think I tried too hard and therefore wasn’t relaxed and it backfired. And in xc when you mess something up you can just pedal hard to make up for lost time...in enduro that time is gone and then when you try and make it up, you just mess up more!

As an XC racer, what prompted you to give Enduro racing a try? Would you attend another enduro event? If so, what changes would you make to your setup or preparation?

EH: I wanted to try something new and get outside my comfort zone. I’ve been working a lot on technical skills and being more comfortable going fast downhill so this was an opportunity to test myself in that area.

Would you attend another enduro event? If so, what changes would you make to your setup or preparation?

EH: Yes! I would definitely do more. It is addicting... there are so many things that I know I can improve at. Plus it’s exhilarating racing down things that are kinda scary. Ha! For changes, I would definitely try and spend more time riding my “big” bike. For this race I felt like I was just getting introduced to how capable my bike was and how to handle it differently than my xc bike. I would also relax and focus on having fun and not necessarily “nailing” specific sections.

 

Trevor McCutcheon - 30th Place Open Men

Summarize your experience at the Big Sky round of the BME Series in one word?

Trevor McCutcheon: Unexpected

How did the race weekend actually play out compared to how you saw it going?

TC: I saw it going well after months of training and time in the gym. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put runs together that I was happy with resulting in a poor performance and overall finish. I’m still learning to handle pressure and ride my own race.

A handful of Stan’s XC racers ventured outside their primary disciple to race with you, would you ever consider entering an XC event?

TC: Never in a million years.

Is there anything about the XC format that you think you’d like better?

TC: Out-sprinting tiny climbers, that was all I was ever good at!

 

Evelyn Dong - Open Women

Summarize your experience at the Big Sky round of the BME Series in one word?

Evelyn Dong: Learning

How did the race weekend actually play out compared to how you saw it going?

ED: I don’t think I had any idea how it would go so it just was. One thing that stuck out was how welcoming and encouraging everyone was, I guess I was a little surprised by that in a good way.

As an XC racer, what prompted you to give Enduro racing a try? Would you attend another enduro event? If so, what changes would you make to your setup or preparation?

ED: Well what I really wanted to do that weekend was go ride Teton pass with Erin and Andrew but they flaked and said they’re doing this enduro instead. And then they talked me in to going to the BME with them. I’m glad they did.

Would you attend another enduro event? If so, what changes would you make to your setup or preparation?

ED: Yeah for sure! I'd probably spend a bit more time on my bike. I got a demo bike from Pivot the morning I drove up to Big Sky so didn’t get a whole lot of time to get used to it. But in all honesty, it probably didn’t matter? It was fun dialing it in at Big Sky, getting suspension numbers figured out and all. I’d definitely bring more food though! I wouldn’t have survived without Rose feeding me dinner every night.

13 day ago
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