For 2014 the Los Ancianos club decided to put on the Tecate enduro once again. The last one was in 2010, it has been a hare scrambles format in recent years. This year the club swore to make it feel like an old school event. They boasted of how tough the event would be. True to their word, it was a long and challenging race. At a full 100 miles of nearly exclusive single track, it was a challenge just to finish the entire course.
With a bit of rain in the days leading up to the event, the ground was perfect. A slight fog in the morning broke into full sunshine by mid day. The temperature and ground conditions were nearly perfect. Adding in the miles and miles of fresh trail made for a day like no other. You could ride for years in Baja and never see a day of such ideal riding.
Except for the time keeping, the club used a restart format, this really felt like an old school enduro. Not only was it long and challenging, but by midday the club started taking time from the riders in the transfer sections and never gave it back. This is what a real national enduro used to be like. The whole day was just one big race with little opportunity to rest. Some of the trails were freshly cut. But there were also many that seemed resurrected from the days of the true Tecate enduro of decades past. The areas were familiar but used trails that seemed long since lost to time.
The second loop may have been the hardest. There were lots of climbs, downhills and ravines that were easy to get wrong. Riders on the later minutes were faced with some bottlenecks. The brush made it difficult to find alternate lines. There were long sections of first and second gear only trail. For the most part it was hard to get out of second gear for much of the day.
The third loop may have been slightly less difficult, but made up for it in length. The route climbed one mountain just to descend into a ravine and climb right up the next ridge. The section known as “Chi Chi’s Playground” was short but hard. Finally, after trails that seemed never to end, the last few miles of the day opened up into to a hare scrambles type course where the wet dirt made for some great berm blasting as it wound to the finish line at Rancho Santa Veronica.
The depth of talent in the sold out field was striking too. It was a who’s who of fast west coast riders. The long day really showed in the scores. Ian Blythe was the only rider in the 40 minute range for total test time. Ivan Ramirez was the only rider in the 50’s and then the times piled up more and more. Most of the field dropped route points. Of the 276 riders entered, only 86 finished the entire course. Frankly I expected it to be even less.
I had a good day of riding on the 2015 Beta 390rr. It was a perfect choice for me. It was super easy to ride and helped me on the long day, almost 6 hours on the course. I felt good on the day, but my score seems to say otherwise. But that is the way it goes some times. Watch for a full race report.