With afternoon thunderstorms predicted every day, runners focused on handling all the elements of what turned out to be a race weekend for the books.
The terrain in this part of the country is vast. With everything from tight flowing backcountry trails, to technical rock descents and BIG descents.
Day 1 was a real test of uphill and downhill fitness as riders climbed and descended over 5,400 vertical feet over two stages – one with a descent lasting over 20 minutes for most riders. All in all, the day ended up being a 44 mile out and back pedal for the runners.
Day 2 was all about 4-track racing at Purgatory Bike Park where riders tackled the infamous World Cup and Links tracks. Spectators were in full capacity to cheer and heckle their friends, family and runners from across the country.
In total, the weekend featured over 13,000 feet of downhill and race organizers threw out all types of challenges to keep riders on their toes. With a huge day in the backcountry and steep tracks in the bike park, this event truly showcased the true meaning of enduro and is a must-attend event for riders in 2023.
You can see the Durango Purgatory BME running map on Trailforks.
After two days of tight racing, the Big Mountain Enduro at Durango Purgatory saw Jake Keller and Kate Lawrence take the wins in the Pro classes. Jake rode consistently all weekend taking a stage win on stage 2. Kate won stages 4 and 5 and did not finish less than 2nd on any stage this weekend. The race weekend was incredibly close with no more than 10 seconds separating the top 3 finishers for men and women.
Final results for professional women:
1. Kate Lawrence (Yeti/Fox National Team)
2. Porsha Murdock (Specialist)
3. Julie Duvert (Theory Race)
4. Isabella Naughton (Liv Factory Racing)
5. Lauren Bingham (Cannondale Farm)
Final results for men pro:
1. Jake Keller (Specialist)
2. Colton Peterson (Maxxis Factory Racing)
3. Aiden Chapin (Trek/Fasthouse)
4. Evan Geankoplis (DVO)
5. Mitch Ropelato (Cannondale)
You can see the full results here.
Big Mountain Enduro prides itself on equal payouts for men and women, in addition to offering tens of thousands of dollars in product prizes to its amateur categories which include Specialized frames and gear, Maxxis tires, FOX forks , Shimano pedals, POC protection and goggles, Stans No Tubes wheels, Industry Nine hubs, DT Swiss wheels, FSA components and wheels and 10 Barrel Brewing beer (for ages 21 and over). Also included in the amateur prize mix was a Specialized Enduro frame won by Amateur Men category winner Brooks Nablo for this stage. This is part of a specialty hook-up where amateur winners at every round of the BME will walk away with an all-new Stumpjumper or Enduro frame. A different amateur category will be randomly selected for each event for the Specialized prize jackpot.
The next Big Mountain Enduro stop will be in Brian Head, Utah on August 27-28.
Stay tuned for more videos, updates and coverage from this latest event in Durango. BME will keep all riders updated as the Rider Galleries go live, so keep an eye out on social media for all the pro snaps from the past weekend.
Words by Dirk Badenhorst
Photos by Eddie Clark, James Stokoe and Dirk Badenhorst