By Carlina Grillo
The Mad River Enduro took place on Saturday, Sept. 9th in Blue Lake’s Hatchery Ridge trail system, featuring a few brave students from Cal Poly Humboldt’s very own cycling club. This race was a day long event consisting of long steep climbs, and gnarly downhills underneath the redwood canopy.
The race had plenty of out-of-towners who flocked to our backyard to get a taste of the incredible Humboldt hills (or, in this case, Blue Lake berms). Among these visiting riders was a team of local student shredders making Cal Poly Humboldt proud.
Cal Poly Humboldt junior, Mason Menna, has been biking his entire life and has raced enduro since middle school. He was repping a green and gold Cal Poly Humboldt jersey throughout the day, coming in first place for the Men’s 18-29 Expert Category, and 17th place overall with a time of 19 minutes and 50 seconds.
“Cal Poly Humboldt teams, straight dogs,” Menna said. “We’re always on the top. Don’t let anyone tell you different. I think we did really great today.”
The mountain biking trails in Blue Lake are not for the faint of heart. The initial, and steepest, climb was a 2.5 mile, 1,100 foot climb that took racers about an hour. After each slow climb was a quick descent, sometimes only taking racers a few minutes. The steepest downhill was in the fifth and final stage, with a slope of 25%.
Although the routes were tough, the weather was perfect and spirits were high. People crowded around singletracks beneath the redwoods and watched as racers whizzed by.
“It was riveting, action filled, death defying… I almost got hit by two riders,” said Hannah Flock, junior at Cal Poly Humboldt and spectator at the event.
Once every rider crossed the finish line, people headed over to Perigot Park for live music, food, drinks, podiums and a raffle.
“I really had a lot of fun. This was my first enduro and I’m really excited to do the next one,” said Henry Grand, who placed seventh in the Men’s 18-29 Expert Category with a time of 22 minutes and three seconds.
Grand is a Cal Poly Humboldt junior who is involved with the on-campus Bicycle Learning Center (BLC). The BLC is located next to the sports recreation building, underneath the stairs of the west gym, and is a great way to get involved with races like the Mad River Enduro.
“If you’re looking for some free bike maintenance, slide to the BLC,” Grand said.