During the last weekend of the 5th and 6th of April in the town of Ojén (Malaga) it took place the the first round of Big Ride Enduro open valid for the Spanish Open. After a week of heavy rain on Saturday the sun was shining on the whitewashed houses of the village of Ojén, an Andalusian town located a few kilometers away from Marbella, in the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves. Ojén is well known in the rider scene for his fondness for Mtb, with "Poba" at the top, the whole town was thrown into the street to work and organize a variety of races.
On Saturday, the paddock was filled with vans and cars from different teams, despite the coincidence in timing with other international test of endurance, there were many pros who chose to participate at Ojén. After recognition of the circuit composed of 5 stages and as many links, the more than 200 registered riders became aware of what was coming the next day.
Sunday, race day, the riders were taking out in small groups from the stage erected in the town square. The first destination was the special number 1, located in the spot of "Los Cerezales", a beautiful recreation area with lots of wildlife and that shared the final stretch with the special number 5. The ground had dried enough, leaving the circuit with a spectacular grip.
This area, beginning at the height of the second tunnel of Cerezales, was characterized by a simple single trail first part in which the riders could be taking the measure to the types of circuits that are going to face throughout the day, followed by an intermediate flat section through a wide track, which is going to start screening those who were fit enought and a very funny final and slopier trail, that ended at the streets of Ojén. The times of the first partial began to be representative, with Antonio Perez that stood out from its rivals, with a time of 3:33" seven seconds ahead of Bishop, and Scott Rafferty that were above 3:40".
From there, the riders began a timed liaison to the area where the second and third specials were located. Both areas were fast stages in which technique and flow helped to save energy for what was left to come. The single track sections were combined with wider areas where it was possible to choose different lines and even the crowd could saw several overtaking. After these two zones Antonio Perez seemed foothold in the lead, while behind came stomping Joe Rafferty.
Lower numbers and faster riders began to climb to Juanar Refuge, on a winding road that wound its way up the mountain. We're sure that in "La Vuelta" this climb is considered top notch. The riders battled fatigue trying to reach the exit of the fourth special on time and not be penalized. Enduro is not only downhill, to fight for the top positions you must be strong and fit.
The fourth stage, was kept secret until race day. In the vicinity of Juanar, a short circuit was laid gently sloping ending to squeeze some forces and served warm for dessert for others. Joe Rafferty trimmed times the leader while others were reserved for special end.
Finally came the Juanar trail. A legendary downhill trail among local and international riders who visit the province. Some chose to participate in the test with downhill bikes, with the towering rocks and ramps that make this track. Others should have been good wearing hiking boots to walk downhill, seeing the number of riders who were choked slabs and stones result of tiredness and difficulty. This trail was the most punishing and which ultimately ended up deciding the final clasification, the figth for the victory led to some falls without any consequences away from some punctures and broken material, they are always part of the job in this type of races.
All the riders were finally guessed a smile out of the tunnel connecting the special 5 with the route of the special 1 that ended at the finish line. There, Mark Scott despite downgrade in 10 seconds Antonio Perez's time could not trim cumulative disadvantage and left the way open for Xtrembike rider to dress in red and yellow with the leader's jersey of the Big Ride. Aidan Bishop crashed and could not steal Mark Scott's first place in U23.
We do not forget the other categories, who had as much merit as the pros or more, by making the race in the same conditions than the pros and because they are the ones who really put the salt and pepper to the sport. In Junior winner was Francisco Venegas, while in females the everlasting Eva Castro returned to the victory ahead of Nicola Weaver and newcomer Natalia Gonzalez. In Master 30 the Scratch winner Antonio Perez dominated the race from start to finish, while we must thank the Master 40 and 50 with Eduardo Cuesta to head to prove that class and the pride aren't lost with age.
We must speak too about our new 203mm-RoseBikes Enduro Team, represented by Carlos Jimenez and Juan Antonio Benitez, for Carlos a former Downhiller, it was his first race in this category and got a relevant 6th place in the elite category while Juan Antonio Benítez achieved a good 28th position in Master30 category. We have to Thank the sponsors of this new team: Rose Bikes, Bluegrass and Spank (Distributed in Spain by MelicBikes).
As for the local highlight the excellent performance of Juan Antonio Pascual (XRC Bike Team) which ended the test skimming the podium in 4th place in cat. U23 and 11 scratch. Also Andrés Tapia (XRC Bike Team), did an excellent job finishing in 18th scratch. Jesus Garcia (Buendía Bikes) 28th scratch, Esteban Sánchez (XRC Bike Team) 31th Scratch and Raimundo (Cycle King SH) 45 º scratch. Surely we forget many of you, congratulations to all of you who were present.
Undoubtedly, we can say it's been a weekend of 10, with a perfect organization, and beautiful trails, a nice rider atmosphere of good cheer through the streets of Villa de Ojén fully committed to the race. We wish the same success to the organization in the upcoming events of the Big Ride, Enduro in this discipline that is gaining adherents every day. If you like our work and if follow us on our Facebook 203mmWebMtb
- Francisco Venegas Jiménez
- Eva Castro (Specialized)
- Nicola Weaver (Ciclo Montaña)
- Natalia Gonzalez (C.D. Tricicles)
- Antonio Pérez Da Costa (Xtrembike CC)
- Fernando Marcos (BikeSupport)
- Marcos Balbuena (MBike.TV Cany)
- Eduardo Cuesta (Canyon Amach)
- Miguel Angel Rodriguez (Emedoce)
- Israel Guisado (Cannondale)
- Mark Scott (Pro Ride Guide)
- Oscar Martinez del Campo (C.C. Bici Verde)
- Andres Fernández (Slopes)
- Joe Rafferty (Pro Ride Guide)
- Aidan Bishop (Cannondale)
- Santiago Lombo (Orbea)
Os dejamos con los resultados por categorías.