St John’s Enduro Series in Eastern & Western NL 2021
Contributed by Conor Flanagan, St John’s Enduro Series Organizing Committee
The 2021 series included three events on both sides of Newfoundland
As summer comes to an end, the St. John’s Enduro Series (SJES) closes their books on another successful season. The 2021 series included three events on both sides of Newfoundland. It started out west with a Corner Brook race in July, then returned to St. John’s for races in East White Hills in August and September. The weather sided with the mountain bikers this year – each race had sunshine and dry trails.
you really have to earn your descents through endless rocks and roots
The west and east coasts of Newfoundland offer different styles of riding, but the local communities are happy to get together for events. Corner Brook offers mountainous trails with long descents, spectacular scenery, and lots of flow. St. John’s provides coastal views where you really have to earn your descents through endless rocks and roots.
12 women participated this year, and that number continues to grow
This was the third season of the St. John’s Enduro Series and the most successful yet. The number of registered participants grew from 107 at Race #1 to 127 at Race #3. This continues the trend of increased numbers at each event, and things have come a long way since the first race with 36 racers. 12 women participated this year, and that number continues to grow too. The SJES team expects these trends to continue heading into 2022.
The series split into two categories this year: sport and expert. The sport group provides an option for those who are more focused on having fun than setting records, and provides a less intimidating option for those new to racing. The expert category includes more difficult trails and a longer ride for those who want to battle it out for the honour of being crowned the fastest mountain biker in Newfoundland. Both categories allow riders to enjoy the social side of enduro racing, since most of the day is spent riding the transfer stages with a group.
The 2021 series winners were: Julie Halliday (Women), Lachlan Roe-Bose (Men’s Expert), Carter Stratton (U19 Expert), Mark Glynn (Men’s Sport), and Jefta Merkuratsuk (U19 Sport).
SJES was happy to welcome several racers from other provinces
Everyone loves to share their local trails with visitors, and SJES was happy to welcome several racers from other provinces. Sheldon Smith (British Columbia), Michael Snider (British Columbia), and Erin Woodrow (Alberta) travelled the furthest to compete in one race each. But the most dedicated out of town participant was Scott Carvery. Scott lives in Nova Scotia and travelled to Newfoundland on three separate occasions to complete the full series.
saw a huge increase in the number of sponsors, spectators, and volunteers
It wasn’t only the number of riders that grew this year. 2021 also saw a huge increase in the number of sponsors, spectators, and volunteers. The biggest sponsors of the series were Volkswagen St. John’s, Freeride Mountain Sports, Western Toyota, and Cycle Solutions. These companies, along with too many others to list, supported the series and allowed many improvements to happen. Sponsors helped provide more timing equipment, t-shirts and race plates for all participants, better prizes, bathroom facilities at the events, first aid coverage, improved course marking, and the list goes on.
riders were lucky enough to be cheered on by roaring crowds with chainsaws revving
The number of spectators seems to grow bigger and bigger too. This year riders were lucky enough to be cheered on by roaring crowds with chainsaws revving and handlebars banging off rims. In East White Hills, there is an area where three trails converge on the Atlantic cliffs above Quidi Vidi Village. This area provides a unique vantage point for spectators to watch and cheer as riders fly down from all directions, which proved to be the highlight of the series for many riders and supporters alike.
It is the local trail builders who deserve credit for creating this venue and all other trails we are lucky enough to ride. The West Coast Cycling Association and Duncan’s Gulch Development team lead the way in Corner Brook. And in St. John’s, trail building credit goes to the Avalon Mountain Bike Association and Freeride Mountain Sports. Just two weeks before Race #3, St. John’s was hit by Hurricane Larry and the trails suffered severe damage. There was an immense cleanup effort and volunteers worked every day to fix up the trails and allow the race to go ahead. Many trails were not only repaired, but also improved to be even better than before.
The SJES team would like to thank every volunteer, sponsor, racer, spectator and supporter who made the 2021 series successful. The SJES team includes Conor Flanagan, Chris Hearn, Michael Kenny, Brooke Lundrigan, Samantha Kenny, and Jeffrey Au. This team plans the details of the series behind the scenes starting in January. On race day, Brooke and Samantha hold down the fort so Conor, Chris, and Mike can go ride and Jeff can shoot photos. There are more than a dozen additional volunteers who help on race day and the series would not be possible without them.