Holy Snowshoe Batman—those trails are insane!
I was excited when I heard earlier this year that the 2017 Mountain Bike Nationals were going to be at Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia, only a few hours from home. Although the trails are close, I had never ridden there. I’d heard they were challenging with lots of roots, but I was blown away by how technical and exciting the rides were. I rode my Redpoint and used Maxxis Minions, a perfect amount of bike and tire that held up on the rough sections and was still quite efficient to pedal.
The Enduro category is a recent addition to Mountain Bike Nationals, and it was a popular event with a lot of riders. The race was in the middle of Nationals week; Stages 1–4 were on Wednesday, 5–8 on Thursday. The first day we pedaled about 20 minutes as a group to the first stage on a wide pedally trail with fast turns and a few tricky tech sections followed by a quick lift ride back to the top of the resort.
Stage Two started on fast, smooth rollers, with a, wait, “Why are all those people standing there?” Ah, yes. That steep, steep turn that I’d seen during practice. Thank goodness for practice! A few of the stages were on very intense trails, some of which were featured in the Pro Downhill course. I was able to pre-ride Stages 2, 5, 6, and pieces of 4 and 8 during the scheduled Enduro practice the day and morning before the race.
Stages 2 and 4 were on some of the most challenging trails I’ve ridden, requiring constant and demanding moves. Stages 1, 5, and 6 were more physical with more pedaling opportunities on narrower trails with flatter tech and root moves. The other three stages, 3,7, and 8 were just ridiculously fun, and everyone was smiling big after riding them. I couldn’t decide on a favorite stage as they all were so great. Major trail variety spanning from big DH root systems, rock drops, and optional road gaps to tighter, pedal-your-face-off, twisty-techy runs. The stages spanned from about 3 to 8 minutes, with either pedaling or lift access transitions between each. Each day took about 3–4 hours to complete four stages.
I was able to meet and spend time with eleven powerful women in my field. I was so impressed with their skills and capabilities, and thrilled to be around so many positive attitudes! There was an impressive number of Juniors—boys, and girls, racing as well—Enduro is taking over! I managed to finish third overall in the Pro Women’s category, with three stage wins and a tie for the Stage 1 win with the overall Enduro lady champ, Terri Watts.
It took me a few days to wash off the Snowshoe mud from my bike. I was sad to leave the enduro lifestyle and awesome scene of mountain bike racing, spectating, and enjoying the various events of Mountain Bike Nationals. Glad they will be in the same place next year!
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I love spending time on a bike in beautiful places with my friends. I enjoy challenging myself with technical mountain biking and some racing, but the main reason I ride is to adventure in the mountains surrounding my hometown in the Shenandoah Valley. I look for trails with some history, either because they were CCC projects, or are old logging access roads since made into singletrack trails. Getting to pretty overlooks only accessible by bike or foot is always satisfying, and sharing those moments with all levels of riders and friends is very special.