The Return of Mammoth: Marco & Ben Shred their way to the Podium
09 September, 2013
Marco Osborne taming the powdery pumice Mammoth's famous for. Photo Credit: Ben Cruz
Mammoth Mountain is appropriately named. It towers, stately, squarely, and in a wide, unapologetic stance 11,059 feet above sea level, chest puffed, full of volcanic gas. Three members of the Mammoth Mountain’s ski patrol died from volcanic gas exposure while on the job in 2006. It’s also home to some of the loosest, granular pumice riding to be found.
Life's tough here riding a Volcano. Rock and debris strewn everywhere put the guesswork back in riding.
Famous for its early 90s Kamikaze downhill race, riders clad in skin suits hit speeds upward of 50 mph in flat out fury down drifty fire roads aboard early mountain bikes that were still coming of age and in a state of squirrely uncertainty. WTB played a part in the early days (see this post to check out a rad video of Myles Rockwell battling Velociraptor-equipped Jurgen Benneke) and reasserted its Mammoth racing heritage with Marco Osborne, Team WTB’s newest ripper, and Ben Cruz taking 3rd and 4th place in the Enduro on Sunday.
Smoke from the seemingly endless Yosemite fire drifted down to Mammoth, mixing with opaque pumice dust to create a searing haze riders were forced to pedal through. You’d almost want your perfect Mammoth tire to be composed of a bed of shovels rather than tread blocks in order to dig loose granules out of the way. Big rock slabs punctuating the drifts put this idea to bed - cringing uncertainty and trepidation seem somehow appropriate when describing the terrain.
Ben and Marco conquered it all with a tireless devotion to consistency and focus. Ben and Marco ran Vigilante 2.3 26” Team Issue front tires to combat the deep conditions. Marco opted for a Weirwolf 2.3 rear tire while Ben chose a Wolverine 2.2. Moto-X Clamp-on grips and Volt SLT saddles kept them hanging on despite the punishing descents. Brian Lopes also chose a Volt, winning both the Enduro field as well as the Legends of Kamikaze field against many of the mountain’s seasoned greats. This marks yet another great accomplishment to an already stellar year for the youngest Team WTB members and it’s great to see Lopes winning two categories in trying conditions.
Up north, Nathan Riddle stormed to a fourth place finish aboard a Volt Team and some prototype WTB tires he’s testing – apparently they’re testing well. Kyle Warner also had a strong showing, taking 5th with Vigilante 29” TCS tires and a Devo SLT saddle, way to go Kyle.
Next up for Marco is the series finale of the North American Enduro Tour and race five of Big Mountain Enduro’s series in Moab, Utah down the Whole Enchilada. Jason Moeschler and Mark Weir fly out this weekend for the Ischgl OverMountain Challenge for some beautiful high alpine competition in Austria alongside OverMountain teammate and Enduro World Series Champion, Jerome Clementz.