Racer's Perspective of the 2017 Dirty Sanchez Enduro

18 May, 2017

Words by Jordan Carr

Captions by Clayton Wangbichler

Photos by Abner Kingman and Jeremiah Newman

I’d heard the murmurings from many of my racer friends, about Dirty Sanchez this or Dirty Sanchez that. Its catchy name, invite-only registration style and rowdy, no-holds-barred party reputation piqued my interest when I first heard of the event. Luckily, the event fell on the weekend after Sea Otter Classic, a weekend I had free and would already be in the area for work. I was psyched that it all came together.

Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

With many similar style events taking place on public lands, permitting can be a huge challenge. TDS is a unique model in that it takes place exclusively on a privately owned, built and stewarded trail network near Grass Valley, California. This unique property is the result of lots of hard work and negotiations by the generous and enthusiastic Ron and Debbie Sanchez. Who, with immense help from their son Casey, daughter Carly, Mark Weir and many other Grass Valley locals and trail volunteers, are able to put on the growing annual event.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

After a few busy days at Sea Otter, I was excited to finagle my way into the event and spend a weekend shredding new trails with friends new and old despite my lack of preparedness. TDS is run as a simple enduro-style format, meaning short, timed segments interspersed with non-timed transfers or shuttles. Seven stages filled both Saturday and Sunday for a total of fourteen stages, with a mix of shuttle and pedal transfers between the stages creating a communal vibe of extensive shredding with an eclectic group of top-notch riders.  

Friday’s practice was highlighted with seemingly endless shuttle runs aboard Polaris side by sides as we grappled with the technicalities of each stage.  Signs emblazoned with photos of cheap cans of beer marked each track as we piloted our way through the rocky, jump laden tracks in hopes of finding the fastest, yet most attainable line choices.


Photo credit: Abner Kingman

After a full day of thrashing our bikes, tires and bodies, we set off for Ol’ Republic Brewery to start a night of antics among the TDS community. The emphasis on social time is what makes the TDS unique from a lot of other races out there. Riders are not only encouraged, but it is expected that you’ll be a part of the parties both Friday and Saturday night during the event, making for a solid weekend of mountain biking in its truest form.


Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Saturday was filled with more rugged trails, high-speed jumps, gripping shuttle rides and copious amounts of Ol’ Republic TDS Beer at the end of the day. Somehow I kept things moving forward.


Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Saturday night brought more debauchery this time without having to leave the venue. The evening began with amazing wood-fired pizza, libations and a whip contest, later finishing off with s’mores, spectating RC truck races, and roman candle firework wars.


Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The final day brought more great trails and a full day of riding. After two full days of bashing rocks and a long night, I awoke a bit stiff and sore, but enthusiastic nonetheless. Unfortunately, stage 4 of the day sent me off a road gap and sailing into the a tree and a forest of poison oak. Though I walked away with only minor bumps and bruises, and quite of bit of future poison oak rash, I decided my focus was fried. Racers continued to shred the final three stages and I was glad to get to see the event from the spectator’s eyes for a short bit.


Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Whether you get invited to race at the TDS or not, it is one of the most enjoyable events to attend. Ron, his family, and all the local trail stewards have created a world-class trail network and an amazing event. Cheers go out to everyone who makes this event happen both from the volunteer side to the financial contributions from companies like WTB, Cannondale, Camelbak, Ol’ Republic, Red Bull, and many other great local partners. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Need a greater taste of this year's TDS? Here's a handful of photos to hold you over until 2018:

The fastest riders made this section look easy by skipping over the tops of the rocks. Marco Osborne took the approach of making sure none of his tires even hit the rocks. Less trail contact equals Marco taking the top spot. 

Noah "Bearbait" Catropa G'd out in the corner and somehow his bike still has some travel left in it. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The whip-off competition went into the night on Saturday, as the participants fueled off the stoke of oner another. When whips weren't enough, riders started manualing into the whips, then manualing out of the whips, while some even through some 360s. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

This isn't a "throw down some laps and leave" sort of race. If that's your approach, you're doing it all wrong. Good food, sufficient libations and great times are in abundance during each of the evenings. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Coming all the way from the rolling hills of Arkansas, Tandie Bailey brought her Midwest skills out to the rocky playground coined the Sanchez Ranch. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman


Nathan Riddle's line is always the correct line. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He remains Velcro'd to the ground when it seems impossible to do so. No need for flare when you have blazing speed on your side.

Antoine Caron taking the outer, yet more consistent, line during practice. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The 2016 TDS delivered full-on "bring your mud spike and best luck with you" kind of weather. While the weather was warm and sunny for the entire weekend this year, the streams were at full flow. Some of these streams also happened to be the trail at times. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

WTB and TDS are for the children. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

We followed up TDS weekend with the annual WTB Semper Fi Fund Mountain Bike Skills camp, where a group of 15 service members join us for a few days of riding with Mark Weir, Jason Moeschler and the rest of the WTB crew. Here are two of the service members, Ryan Beamish and Arthur Sykes displaying proper SENDAGE during practice. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Ariana Altier (kicking up dust in the photo above) gave reigning champion Joanna Petterson a run for her money throughout the entire weekend. With four stage wins and a second place overall finish, there's no doubt she'll be a contender for the top spot in future years! Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Taiwan's Most Famous Dan (likely called Dan Chiang by his family) had laser focus the whole time and it paid off with an overall second place finish! Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Both of them hit the can, but who whipped it better? Mason Bond (left) or Duncan Nason (right)? Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Polaris provided a handful of rigs for the event. I'm sure they were returned in "excellent" condition. Just a bit of dirt and scratches. It'll all buff out... Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Cory Sullivan taking the inside line. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

99% of the time, Bobbie Chandler is a master of style and grace. This is what he does during the remaining 1% of his day. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Lauren Gregg coming in hot! Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Take a second to see how it's done, then show everybody else how it's done. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Taiwan's Most Famous Dan showing us that the start is just as important as the finish. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

The band could be heard from everywhere on the course throughout Saturday. Although the trio transformed into to a group of bearded Vikings on Sunday. We're not sure which provided more support for the racers, but we support both ensembles. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

SEND IT LARRY! We looked through 80 photos of riders hitting this same jump and there's no doubting that Larry Sussman boosted it the highest. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

And the winner of the spirit award is.....Aaron Bradford, the Baron of Radford! Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

"Scott Countryman...who is he!?" We heard that many times throughout the weekend as a stage win and incredibly smooth style earned him a third place podium spot. Turns out, he's a super shredder atop a Kona Process 134. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Whips became bigger, longer and more stylish as the night went on. 

Nick Dru is a demo driver for G-Form Protectives. Does this count as product testing or proof of product function? Either way, he walked away unscathed. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

It seems a bit unfair to follow up the previous photo with one of Marco Osborne absolutely crushing the same section of trail, but meh, that's what Marco does. He constantly shows us that our struggles aren't his struggles. Photo credit: Abner Kingman

This is Louisa Sussman. Not only does she shred trails relentlessly, but she also builds the meanest wheels this side of the Mississippi. Lucky for us, she does it for WTB, from the Nevada City office. She's the best. 

Dan "Danimal" Riley sits in the hot seat as Ty Hathaway delivers a whip and point. 

Jace Moeschler, son of Jason Moeschler, leans up against a tree while deep in thought about the future race win he'll experience here. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

For all you ladies out there...interested in getting this guy's digits? Whelp, here you go: 415-389-5040. It also happens to be the number to call if you have any questions for or regarding WTB. That'll be Jordan Smoke who picks up the phone when you call Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm PST. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

CLEAR THE COURSE! Jed Colvin has the important role of making sure the stage is clear before sending 80 racers down it. Luckily this approach didn't clear out the spectators as well. Hey, at least his knees are protected. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

Whoever said the go-around isn't as much fun certainly hasn't seen the smile on Liz Miller's face in this photo. Photo credit: Jeremiah Newman

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