By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR d’ALENE — The slopes of Canfield Mountain felt the tires and determination of about 100 mountain bikers during the Coeur d'Alene Enduro through the weekend.
“It’s the first enduro up here," said pro participant Mike Gaertner, owner of Vertical Earth. "We’ve been dreaming about such a thing forever."
The inaugural event welcomed competitors of all ages and abilities to bike up Canfield's steep trails at their own pace and sail back down during a timed race. The "enduro" means those who participate will need endurance to make it through from beginning to end.
"There’s good trails all over the front side and the back side,” Gaertner said. "It gives you a little bit of everything. Good climbs, but then good long distance, and everything from really technical rough stuff to super fast and flowy, which is always fun, it’s always my favorite."
The race was formed after much deliberation by race directors Chris Caro and Alex Castagno, who drew inspiration from races their friends have organized as well as Trans-Cascadia, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest mountain bike events.
The Coeur d'Alene Enduro features five competitive levels: pro, expert, sport, hard tail (lacking full suspension) and junior.
"We knew what we wanted to do with the race, the vibe we wanted," Caro said. "It's not necessarily a hardcore race."
It's also a family-friendly event that includes camping. Caro said the race was truly made possible thanks to the generosity of local Realtor Wade Jacklin, who provided his property for guests to use.
"He told me where he lived, and the first thing I said was, ‘Hey can we throw a race at your house?’ and he said ‘Yes,’" Caro said. "It’s been a whirlwind from there."
The two-day Enduro gave participants the opportunity to enjoy more than 30 miles of trails as they connected with nature, hit some dirt jumps and engaged with their fellow biking enthusiasts.
“I love enduro racing and I’m extra excited about the fact that there’s a local event,” said pro rider Matt Chynoweth of Coeur d’Alene. "Enduro is a really fun activity for families and it’s good to support your community. We want other people to see our trails and to enjoy what we’ve come to love."
Caro said with such a strong turnout for the debut event, he's sure the Coeur d'Alene Enduro is going to be a Lake City tradition.
"I think it's going to catch fire," he said. "Our goal is to bring mountain biking to the forefront and get more people involved in it in more ways than one."