The fourth annual Max Vert Enduro became a war of attrition, with crashes and mechanical failures taking their toll on the field. By the end of the race, three riders were chainless, two bikes were missing rear derailleurs, one rear shock was blown and another bike had the rear swing arm knocked out of place. Add in about five flats, various brake malfunctions, and literally dozens of crashes, and youll get an idea of what the riders went through in this years race.
Seven of the top riders all managed to make 12 laps of the course, which was in the Garbanzo Zone, and included No Joke and In Tight. With an estimated 2,200 feet of vertical, that means the top riders managed to fit in 26,400 vertical feet of downhilling in just over four hours. To put that into perspective, Denali, the highest peak in North America, is 20,320 feet.
Only the riders that completed a lap before the four-hour mark were allowed to attempt another lap.
Despite the length of the trails, the race went down to the wire for the top riders, with less than two minutes separating the top riders for most of the race.
Chad Onyschuk and Chris Dewar rode most of the day together, building up a lead heading into eight laps. They chanced a short bathroom break almost three hours into the race, not realizing how close their competitors were, and were caught with their shorts down when a pair of riders passed them on course.
Eager to regain the lead, they picked up the pace and took a few chances. Dewar proceeded to rip off his rear derailleur, and Onyschuk crashed. Both riders would later return to the race, Dewar with only a single speed, but neither rider was in a position to get the lead back.
Junior rider Kristian Short took over as the leader, but only briefly before Dave Mayers made his way to the front. Short tried to chase him down, and at the end of the race he was just 30 seconds back of Mayers.
"It was good, but it hurt," said Short, when asked how it felt to descend more than 26,000 feet of technical singletrack in just over four hours. "I hurt my thumb riding yesterday, so its pretty sore, and my legs are starting to cramp up a little, but it went pretty well.
"I had one crash all day, which was where the guy who won the race got past me. I couldnt reel him back in for the end of the race. I saw him a few chairs ahead of me on the chairlift, but that was it. I didnt know how close I was until I got to the finish."