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Racing in Ely, NV?

Check out this report we recieved from Felt athlete and Nevada resident Casey Coffman. Apparently, he and some friends went to a race in Ely, NV called the Fears, Tears and Beers Enduro. This race has quite an interesting format, with only certain sections being timed, and more of a “group ride” mentality as there is no timing between these stages. We could go on a long tirade about how cool this format is, but Casey did a pretty good job himself, so instead of wasting more of your time with an intro, here is what he had to say about the event, as well as a few photos:

  Last weekend Jon Wilson (Team Northstar) and I made the trip across the “Loneliest highway in America” to the small town of Ely, NV for the 6th annual Fears, Tears, and Beers Enduro stage race.  Jon and I had never ridden out here, but the race format had us both very excited. There were 4 different courses for different ability levels. Fun Run:  Shorter in length and less climbing than beginner class.Beginner:  17.5 miles, 2300 elevation gain, 2 timed sections.Sport:  26.6 miles, 3500 elevation gain, 3 timed sections.Expert/Pro:  33.3 miles, 5400 elevation gain, 6 timed sections.  The cool part about this race is they only time certain downhill sections of the race! Most timed bits were about 1.5 to 2.5 miles long, and anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes long.  The hard part is you have to haul your butt up the hill to the start of each stage, and with elevations ranging from 6400 up to nearly 9000 feet, oxygen is scarce.  But the format allows the racers to take it a bit easy on the climbs, so we were able to meet a lot of the other racers, and talk about our home trails and anything else that helped keep our minds off the climbing. 

        I started the day by packing my pack as full of food and water as I could, knowing this would be a long day.  The race rolls out of the city park at 9am, and because we weren’t on the clock, we were able to casually start the 1900 foot climb to stage 1. In fact, the race starts out going through a few local businesses, including 2 downtown casinos! Pretty unique! The first climb started pretty mellow while climbing alongside a bunch of sweet doubles, and even some teeter totters and other stunts. After hiking across a huge snowdrift, we arrived at the first timed section, which was a really fun super d style section with ripping turns, and a few small climbs. Stages 2, 3, and 4 were more of the same before we rolled back into the park for a short rest/refeuling (at your own leisure!) until the expert/pro riders went on to tackle “Whorehouse hill” (HA!) Stage 5 was about 5 minutes of nearly flat pain along a powerline, then the really tough climb to the stage 6 start. 1500 more vertical feet and it was nice and steep!  Really hard on tired legs for sure. The cheering section at the top was a welcome sight as we prepared for the final “expert only” timed section. This section was really fun as it descended right back into town. It had some loose rocky turns, and a final pitch that was really steep and rocky, which made me thankful I had a 8″ rotor in the front! I rolled back into the park at 3:30 pm. 6.5 hours total for the day! The locals were grilling up burgers as racers told stories over hard-earned cold beers in the park. What a long, sweet day on great trails!  

      Awards were held in the Jailhouse casino, but not until the huge raffle and amazing FREE buffet dinner were taken care of. I was happy to end up 3rd place on the day, 3 seconds behing a ripping local rider, and Jon ended up in 1st place! We were stoked, having ridden the entire course blind, with no knowledge of the trails. After awards beers were accompanied with talks of more local trails in Cave lake state park, so we made a plan to ride there on Sunday, before we left town. The trails at Cave lake are relatively new, but they were some really ripping trails! Just another reason to come to Ely and race, or just to ride!

     This was one of the best races I have ever attended, for many reasons. The unique format, the trails, the organizers, the volunteers, the new friends, and the great value the town of Ely provides for a great weekend of riding.  Thanks to Felt bicycles for providing me with the perfect weapon for a long, fun day in the saddle!

US 50. The Loneliest highway in America

Riding bikes in a Casino!

Almost to the top of stage 1

Singletrack through the high elevation shrubs

View after stage 1

Riders take a quick rest before the final expert loop

3rd place! Stoked!

View of Cave lake from Sunday’s ride

Getting to the top of the Twisted Pines trail

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