“I just really wanted to do well on the hometown trails”
by Than Acuff
Cooper Ott put the finishing touches on another successful season on the Big Mountain Enduro series circuit placing second among pro women at the races here in Crested Butte last weekend and finishing the season second in the overall points series.
Ott has been on a whirlwind racing tour this summer but the travel and racing schedule ultimately caught up with her over the past three weeks. Ott jumped into the deep end of enduro racing competing at a World Series race event in Aspen July 26-29. While Ott suffered a crash on the first stage of the first day, she rallied back on day two and climbed five spots to finish the weekend in 19th place.
“I met my goal, which was top 20, but I didn’t finish as high as I was really hoping,” says Ott.
She then headed to Whistler, British Columbia for another World Series stop two weeks ago but fell ill and was sidelined for the races. She then returned to Crested Butte last week to get ready for the Big Mountain Enduro stop Saturday and Sunday, but spent the time still battling a horrid illness.
“I was still feeling really sick but was thankful it was a Crested Butte race because I’ve ridden all the trails so I know them really well and didn’t have to pre-ride anything,” says Ott.
Sitting in third place in the overall series standings, Ott was looking to move up but had more immediate goals in mind.
“My goals are more short-sighted than something like the overall series,” explains Ott. “I just really wanted to do well on the hometown trails. The overall series is kind of the icing on the cake.”
The series stop in Crested Butte is notorious among all enduro riders. While most series stops have lift-served stages, or at least stages mostly accessible by vehicle, the Crested Butte stop is unique in its pure backcountry setting.
“The stages here are definitely the longest and most brutal to get to but they’re also the most beautiful,” says Ott. “I think most people going in know it’s going to be a tough weekend.”
Day one opened with two stages, the first on Doctor Park and the second on Cement Mountain trail and Rosebud. And while the uphills aren’t factored into the times, riders still have to get themselves to the start by bike making for a long and heinous ascent to the top of the second stage that day.
“It’s just so steep and it’s hard to walk a lot of that because you know you can ride it but you don’t want to waste your legs,” says Ott.
Once there, Ott then had to find just the right moment to drop in on her descent.
“It’s a balancing act trying to recover at the top but not cool down too much,” says Ott. “I was still seeing stars when I started down but shook it off pretty quick.”
Racers then woke up Sunday for two more stages starting with a ride up Warm Springs trail, walk up the “wall” at the top of Walrod and then followed 402.5 all the way to the start of the first stage down 409.5. From there they had to go up Teocalli Ridge to get to the start of the second stage that day, down the Teocalli Ridge trail.
Ott finished day one in second place and rolled through day two with two more second place finishes to complete the weekend second overall among pro women, just 43 seconds out of first place after four stages of racing. Her Crested Butte result was good enough to move up one spot and finish the Big Mountain Enduro series in second place overall.
Ott is now headed to Park City, Utah to race in the Scott Enduro Cup race at Deer Valley.
“It’s the final race of the season for me and I’m just gritting my teeth to get through the third week of racing in a row,” says Ott. “I’m definitely getting tired but it’s so fun that it’s hard to stop.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Ott, who is also a coach for CB Devo, and another CB Devo coach took four CB Devo girls on the Crest Trail Tuesday morning before loading up the car and heading to Park City Tuesday afternoon.
“Every day I think I’m just too tired to ride those girls make it so much fun that I forget I’m tired,” says Ott.