Competitive mountain biking returned to the North Coast last weekend for the first time in 20 months, with 90 racers showing up for the Mad River Enduro.
The annual event, which is organized by the Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association, was held over two days in Blue Lake on the trails built on Green Diamond Resource Company land.
And after the pandemic forced the cancelation of last year’s event, the racers were particularly enthusiastic to enjoy the occasion this year.
“We went all out to make up for lost time,” race director Steven Pearl said. “The racers were hungry, and the locals were really happy to be back.”
About half of the 90 racers on hand were from out of the area, as the popularity of the Mad River Enduro and the area’s reputation for great mountain bike trails both continue to grow.
“The word is out,” Pearl said. “And we’re starting to see a lot of people traveling to the area (for the sport).”
This was the third time the Mad River Enduro was held in Blue Lake after the Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association reached an agreement with Green Diamond to develop trails on the company’s land a few years back.
And those new trails have helped both the Enduro and the growth of the sport locally.
“The trails we’ve built have played a big role in that,” Pearl said. “And we’ve had a lot of community support.”
The club now boasts around 400 members, with some as young as 10, and includes both locals and out-of-the-area racers, with only members allowed use the trails on the Green Diamond land.
A local composite high school team, which travels several times a year to compete against the best high school teams in the state, also continues to attract more members and had 15 racers on hand at last week’s event.
“Their team has been very successful,” Pearl said. “The future is bright.”
Conditions for last week’s big event were also close to perfect.
“It was one month later than usual, so it was a little cooler, and we had rain the week before, so the conditions were incredible,” Pearl said. “It was absolutely perfect.”
Top Mad River Enduro Finishers
Junior Boys (U18)
1 – August Scrivner
2 – Luke Moxon
3 – Cadence Brown
Junior Girls (U18)
1 – Maggie Odell
1 – Jimmy Lucchesi
2 – Reilly Hohman
3 – Max Ramos
1 – Jeremy Black
2 – Brad Gordon
3 – Ben Wilson
1 – Elizabeth Odell
2 – Amelia Capuano
3 – Andrea Napoli
1 – Emily McBride
2 – Rosada Martin
3 – Becs Walker