Green River, Utah has some awesome riding areas, which made it a perfect location for a desert race. This was my first Enduro Style desert race and me, my brother, and 3 nephews had a blast.
The format was a 4 man start and had special test sections with transfer sections in between. Overall, big bike novice and mini expert/amateur groups did 4 tests which added up to about 50 miles including transfer sections. Pro, expert, and amateur continued on to tests 5 and 6, totaling approximately 80 miles including transfers.
Row Assignments and Race Format
Row assignments were made as entries were registered online. First entry would be row 1 and so on. Four racers were allowed per row. This allowed each group to all start at the same time. This race used a system called Live Laps. The transponder mounted on the front number plate and was tied to the racers online profile.
I was able to sign up with my brother and his two boys. This made it really fun because we could follow each other through the race. Live Laps was instant as we started and ended each test section so people at home could follow the race and see how we did in each section. This also allowed accurate times, down to the second, for comparison and bragging rights among family and friends.
Test sections were different in length and had different types of terrain to test different skill sets. Course workers scanned the transponder when we entered the course and would give us a 5-10 second countdown before we could attack the course. At the end of test, another course worker would scan the transponder again to stop the time for that test. This race consisted of 4 tests for novice (C) riders, and 6 tests for pro, expert, and amateur (A,B) riders.
Race Report-Mini Novice
We spent the night in Green River about 20 miles from the pits. Woke up around 6am, grabbed some breakfast at the hotel and headed out. My 13 year old nephew was racing his first mini race and it started at 8am so we wanted to get him there a little early to get set up. He seemed pretty excited to get his new-to-him bike out and compete against his peers.
They started his race as a mass start, as opposed to rows like the big bike race that day. He got off to a good start and even though it was dusty, he charged through the dust and headed out for a 9 mile loop. Approximately 25 min in, we spotted him coming across the flat about to drop into a wash which ran behind the trucks. He has great endurance and was riding good as we cheered him on and the other racers as they went by.
He ended up doing 3 loops (27 miles) before the time ended for the race. The race took just over an hour and a half. He placed 5th out of 20 riders and 3rd in his class. I’d say he did pretty well for his first race ever.
Race Report-Big Bike Novice/Amateur
The weather was cool in the morning around 50 degrees and had warmed up close to 80 degrees by the time we had started. A little warm for race day, but no too bad. We started on row 67 based on how we registered which meant we started 1 hour and 7 minutes later than the first group.
I normally race the Amateur class but signed up with my brother and 2 nephews who have never raced before. They are in the Novice class. In order to ride together, the higher class needed to start with the lower class riders. This was just fine by me because that is what it was all about, riding with family.
I rode an old 1997 XR400 and my older brother rode a 2001 TTR-250 and he rode an impressive race. My two nephews rode 250’s, a WR 250 and CRF250R. These guys have some serious endurance and are some stiff competition. I loved trying to catch them throughout the race. This was definitely not an easy task.
We actually started as a whole group and began on a transfer section about 5-6 miles before we even began test 1. This gave us some time to warm up have a little fun playing around. Test one was pretty rocky and had some hard terrain that we like to call moon rock. This stuff was hard and has slick, loose gravel and dirt on top so every corner was a little sketchy.
I ended up going down about half way through and broke my clutch lever. Luckily I was able to finish the test and had a spare I could swap before moving on to test 2. My brother and nephews did well on the test were waiting for me when I crossed through.
After a fairly good transfer, we came upon about 50 riders waiting in line to start test 2. Not sure what exactly happened to cause the bottleneck but we ended up waiting about 40 min to start the test. This test was a little softer terrain and had a few elevation changes.
The test was a little bit better for me in that I was a little loose now and kind of settled in. I started behind my 2 nephews and in front of my brother and manage to stay ahead of him and actually catch my nephews. It was probably only due to the fact that they both had a little mishap and fell over which set them back a bit.
This test was a little bit softer terrain and had been beat down pretty good from previous racers by the time we arrived. The terrain has a few slight elevation changes, with a few tight rocky sections and a couple good flats.
I started behind everyone this time and somehow managed to catch them again. I think it’s because my nephews enjoyed laying in the sand too much! My brother on the other hand, was just being too nice and thought he’d make me feel better about myself and let me catch him.
After test 3 and a short transfer, we stopped at the remote gas check and filled up. Every bike has to hit the gas check so there were a million gas cans laid out. Our were fairly easy to find because we had only brought a milk jug. The course workers were awesome and brought us water as we arrived and were very helpful.
I started first in our group on this one and this one felt like the fastest of the loops as far as getting into higher speeds. Not too many elevation changes and soft corners and hard, rocky straights and roads made for some tricky riding having to switch techniques throughout. I managed to stay in front of the group but as I crossed the end of the test, they were hot on my heals.
After test 4 and a short transfer to a main dirt road, my brother and nephews split right and we said good bye as I peeled left to transfer to test 5. This transfer was by far the longest transfer of the race. I believe i spent 40 minutes of riding at a decent pace, before I found the start of the test.
This test was probably one of the most difficult for me. It was late in the day and we had already had a full day of riding. This test had some really sandy sections and was completely blown out by all the previous racers. This was good practice though. I was tired, but determined to finish and I knew I just needed to ride smart.
There were some fun, deep and tight washes and a couple good sandy hill climbs that I managed to make up the first time. Thank goodness because it would have drained me for sure. I went down in one corner and took a minute to get back up, but I was thankful it wasn’t in the hard stuff and nothing on my bike broke. I was able to make it through in decent time and had a 6-7 mile transfer to rest before tackling the last test of the day.
This was probably one of the funner tests. It was a bit slower going but took us down through some fun rocky washes with some really soft sand/gravel in the bottoms. This section was shorter than the rest at about 3 miles. I was fine with it though because by the end I was beat.
The transfer back was a good trip also at about 10 miles. This gave me some good time to rest and really take in the awesome scenery. I tracked the entire course with my GPS so now I can go back sometime and really see what it was I went through. Once in race mode, where your went and where you were, and how to you got through it all, just kind of becomes a blur!
For those who want to tackle the course on their own, here is a GPX file to load in your GPS and see what it’s all about. I use the App called Gaia , the GPX file can then be downloaded from the website. This is not for beginners and there are many roads and trails in the area, so know before you go.
Here are some things I recommend if ever doing an enduro race, or any desert type racing:
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Recommend Gear and Equipment
If you need some ideas on how to get ready for a race, check out my post- Checklist for Race Day
This was probably one of the funnest races I’ve done. The format made it fun and leveled the playing field a little bit. Breaks between test sections made it nice to build up a little energy for the timed sections. The best part about it was being able to race with family and see them throughout the race. The transfer sections made it fun to get in some good riding together while still chasing the time clock and trying to win the other riders in our individual classes.