The TDS Enduro is a family run affair. Hosted by the Sanchez family of Grass Valley, CA, they’ve built one the most enticing Enduro events in the nation. Hosted in their 240 acre private property with about a 700 foot hill, the best racers in the country compete in this invite-only event. And with Marco Osborne and Jerome Clementz often at the top of the leaderboard, the riding is certainly world Class.
This year, about 70 men and 15 women participated in the event that comprised of 14 stages run in two days. Stages are fairly short with under a thousand feet of descent and an occasional climb sprinkled in. Racers sometimes climb to the top but Polaris ATV shuttles are available for the climb up on most of the stages.
The descents are world-class. Imagine a trail network with about 20 singletrack descents that are constructed by some of the best descenders around. Jumps, berms, wall rides and rock gardens are all thrown in the mix to cater to the advanced descender with no regard for hikers, uphill traffic or other public park concerns. Everything is optimized for aggressive riding.
6 years and counting
Very quietly, this race has reached its 6th year. The first year barely counts as it was a race among a dozen or so friends, but it did happen. And slowly but surely, the race has stepped up in all aspects while staying true to its core. There’s a Redbull truck now and a dozen Polaris vehicles shuttling riders all day. So the scale of the operation has ramped up a bit.
Mark Weir and the Sanchez Family
The Sanchez family is anchored around Ron, a larger than life character who loves to play and party at 56 years young. His wife Debbie and the two kids Casey and Carly are ever-present in the event as they’re integral in the planning and execution of the race. Why do they do it? Well they love life and they love people and the TDS Enduro brings riders and the community together. When they met Mark Weir and his entourage of riders and sponsors, it was a match made in heaven. Mark has used his expertise to create help create the best trails and race today.
Ron mentioned that he bought the 240 acre property seven years ago when Casey got involved in High School mountain bike racing. They created a playground where they could pursue their passion together and they could invite and hang out with friends. Now, they have a haven for biking, rc and all things moto.
It takes a village
There’s dozens and dozens of miles of finely crafted trails and they’re in fine shape by TDS race time. Friends and locals are allowed to ride this trail utopia but only if they work on trails.
And the race is a massive logistics operation. There’s so many pieces to ensuring that this 14 stage race runs smoothly and volunteers seem to know their part in this production.
An example is the shuttle system to get the racers up the climbs on some of the stages. A dozen Polaris vehicles require a competent driver in each one. Traffic managers and trail marshals are stationed all along the narrow fire road to ensure no collisions occur during peak traffic. That alone is a mind-boggling volunteer operation.
Unfortunately, the Sanchez land is prime real estate for poison oak. And with so many trails going in and out of creek beds where there is a good water source and good sunlight, poison oak is ever-present specially this year where the area experienced record rainfall.
Racers and spectators are all at risk so the key is to cover up and wash up. Knowing exactly what the plant looks like and avoiding it at all costs is key. Washing up and doing everything right and you’ll still get it, a little.
What if you had a buddy with a huge tract of land? You’d build some trails right? Do some shuttle runs, ride some moto, ATV’s. Then you can invite a ton of friends and run a race. Yeah! Then you can build an RC track and a pump track and maybe some jumps. Folks can camp out with their RV’s and fancy tents and party. Then we can shoot some fireworks. Yeah!
In a nutshell, that’s what TDS is. It’s a rocking good time among mountain biking friends, a non-virtual utopia for mountain bike fans.
TDS is invite only since the trail difficulty is very high and it can only accommodate so many riders. Rock gardens and gap jumps are all in the mix and the last thing the Sanchez family wants is injuries.
Thus only the best of the best are invited. Racing quality is maintained at a very high level and injuries are minimized even in inclement weather conditions. The invite list has grown from the personal network of the best West Coast enduro racers so there is definitely a West Coast slant to it. But slowly but surely, riders from around the country are making their way in
What does the future hold for the TDS Enduro? The TDS Enduro does not turn a profit and it takes thousands of hours to run. So it has no motivation to scale and expand. Also, the trails can only accommodate less than a hundred riders at any one time safely. The trails criss-cross each other to maximize the prime real estate. Climbing fire roads intersect the single track descents often so marshals have to be stationed at each crossing to racers have a clear path.
We predict that it will stay the course and continue its pursuit towards quality. Sponsors will want to be associated with it because it is the embodiment of the mountain bike enduro lifestyle.
It will continue to attract the finest racers in the country and the world so world-class racer will squeeze their way in the tight invite-only list as long as their schedules allow it.
1. Joanna Petteron, 45.46.5
2. Ariana Altier, 45.50.0
3. Amy Morrison, 46:11.5
4. Janea Perry, 47:16.6
5. Rachel Pageu, 49:32.4
1. Marco Osborne, 35:16.3
2. Dan Chiang, 35:45.8
3. Scott Countryman, 35:56.4
4. Mason Bond, 36:01.5
5. Cory Sullivan, 36:15.0
For full results, please click here.
We conclude this 2017 wrap-up by opening a can of the awesome IPA created for this event by Ol Republic Brewery.
The sponsors listed below make an event like the TDS Enduro possible. They are not after ROI or impression counts. Rather they want to support what makes mountain biking great:
Winderness Trail Bikes
Ol Republic Brewery
Clif Bar Company
Tour of Nevada City
Fox Racing Shox
Auburn Bike Company
Semper Fi Fund
Fit Culture Studio
Modus Sport Group
and Hills Flat Lumber.