Enduro returns to Aspen/Snowmass August 4-5 with BME Finals | AspenTimes.com

Enduro returns to Aspen/Snowmass August 4-5 with BME Finals

For many of the Big Mountain Enduro competitors, all that remain are two days of races in Aspen and Snowmass to decide a whole lot of bragging rights for the coming winter.

"It's the final stop of the tour. We are excited to have it here in Aspen again," said Brandon Ontiveros, BME's managing director. "We are giving out $14,000 to the pro field, split evenly between men and women, so it's one of the biggest pro purses in the country."

The BME schedule included four stops this summer, with this weekend's mountain bike races in Aspen being the final one. The tour has been to Santa Fe (May 26), Crested Butte (June 23-24) and Keystone (July 7), with it all culminating Sunday in the Roaring Fork Valley.

With 11 divisions, highlighted by the pro men and women, and upward of 350 riders expected to compete, there will be no shortage of action on the local trails. After a final practice day Friday in Snowmass Village, racing gets underway Saturday with the first two stages in Aspen. The final three stages will be held Sunday in Snowmass.

Stage 1 is on Aspen Mountain and starts at 9 a.m. Saturday. Stage 2 will be the Sunnyside Trail on the edge of town and gets going at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The pro racers will be the last to head out on each stage.

"We are really pumped on the trails," Ontiveros said. "We added one completely new stage and we've combined some other trails to mix into a single stage that has never been raced entirely before. We've kept things evolving, even after having one of the best races of the history of BME last year with the World Series here. So trails are looking really good."

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Sunday will feature a full day of riding in Snowmass Village. Stage 3 starts at 8:15 a.m. and will be a combo of the Animal Crackers and Two Creeks trails. Stage 4 gets underway at 10:30 a.m. and will include Sam's Knob into the West Government Trail.

"I was over there personally digging and fixing a bunch of sections," Ontiveros said of the Sam's Knob section. "Really excited to get some tires on that new trail."

The racing wraps up with the fifth stage, which will be the famed Bonzai DH trail that finishes in the BME sponsor village in Snowmass. Stage 5 starts at 1:30 p.m., with the final awards ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at Snowmass Base Village.

The awards ceremony will include two parts: the individual race winners from the weekend and the BME overall season winners.

The men's pro division is a tight race between Richie Rude and Marco Osborne, who are separated by only 15 points. Rude, who rides for the Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Race Team out of Golden, missed the Crested Butte race but won the other two BME races this season. He is a two-time Enduro World Series champion.

Cooper Ott, who is based out of Crested Butte and races for the Trek/Bontrager/Shimano team, holds a solid lead in the women's pro open standings. She has won all three BME races this summer, and leads Lia Westermann by 230 points. Race winners receive 400 points, followed by 350 for second place and 320 for third, and so on.

"It should be some good racing," Ontiveros said. "A lot of guys and gals in that pro field gunning for that big check come Sunday. And per usual the amateurs have all kinds of great prizes provided from our sponsors."

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There is no cost to watch the races, although a lift pass will be needed to access many of the trails without hiking.

Big Mountain Enduro, which is a tier down from the Enduro World Series, has added to its partnership with the EWS through the creation of the Continental Enduro Series. The smaller series is actually three different tours, one each in North America, Europe and Asia. South America and Africa tours are currently being developed.

The Aspen/Snowmass race this weekend through BME is the first of three stops on the North American Continental Enduro Series, which allows riders to earn points toward qualifying for the 2019 EWS season. After Aspen, there will be a race Aug. 25-26 in Northstar, California, and a final stop Sept. 15-16 in Burke, Vermont.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

BME Finals schedule

Friday

8 a.m.-11 a.m. Stage 3 practice

Noon-3 p.m. Stage 4 practice

2 p.m.-5 p.m. Stage 5 practice

Saturday

7:30 a.m. Journey start from BME sponsor village in Snowmass

9 a.m. Stage 1 start (Aspen Mt.)

12:30 p.m. Stage 2 start (Sunnyside Trail)

Sunday

7 a.m. Journey start from BME sponsor village in Snowmass

8:15 a.m. Stage 3 start (Animal Crackers into Two Creeks)

10:30 a.m. Stage 4 start (Sam’s Knob into West G’vt Trail)

1:30 p.m. Stage 5 start (Bonzai)

5 p.m. Awards ceremony