The TDS Enduro is a race you have to experience for yourself to truly understand, but we’ll do our best here to capture what this epic event is all about. On the surface, it’s a wild party in the woods with top pro racers and enough energy in the air to get to the moon and back. Behind the party, however, is the story of the Sanchez family uniting riders and making memories. The event is held on privately owned land, almost 250 acres’ worth, and caps its racer count at 125. TDS is an invitation-only race that just wrapped up its 8th consecutive year. While racing is a major part of TDS, it’s not the primary focus. In fact, spectating the event is arguably more fun than racing it. Crowds of people wander through each stage, witnessing high-flying action, carnage and all-around good times. You don’t go to TDS in hopes of glory; you go to escape, make new friends and share an unforgettable experience.
The TDS Ranch is nestled away in Grass Valley, California, originally used as a getaway spot by the Sanchez family, where Ron and his son Casey would ride and build moto trails. Casey found mountain biking through the NICA Nor Cal League and developed an interest in Super D racing. The family began reworking its trails to add more flow. Wood ramps, berms and jumps were all placed on the property to give it a true mountain bike feel. Ron found a passion in building trails and spent his hours after work and on the weekends working on new trails. Ron told us that he rebuilt the same trails five different times in order to get them to feel just right. The ranch has all its own heavy equipment, allowing massive amounts of dirt to be moved. The end result is a location with only 762 feet of elevation that flows better than some bike parks. It’s truly an unreal place to ride. It’s not for the faint of heart, either; this course will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not at the top of your game.
Back when TDS started, it was a simple single-day event hosted by the Sanchez family and brought to life by Mark Weir, along with a dozen industry friends. TDS grew from its small roots into one of the best mountain bike parties on the West Coast. This year the event had 12 grueling stages spread out over two days. Top pros filled both the men’s and women’s fields, all with the hope of earning bragging rights. While this event is really about the fan experience, someone has to go home with a gold medal. This year pro EWS racers Marco Osborne from WTB-Transition and Rae Morrison from Liv Racing earned the top spots in the men’s and women’s categories.
After the racing, the party begins. We sat in awe at one point while we simultaneously watched an RC car race go down with riders hitting dirt jumps in the background under stadium lights and listened to the sound of Supercross racing blaring from a bigscreen TV. This event is an adrenaline junky’s dream, with enough going on to please any interest. This year the TDS crew even added a dual-slalom track to the ranch to further spice up the fun. Along with plenty of action there is amazing food, including pizzas cooked in a stone-fire oven. A massive bonfire sits in the middle of the ranch, calling all riders to come together and share their experiences. The TDS Enduro is so much more than racing. We could go on and on, but we figured we’d leave it up to the spirit leader of TDS to tell you what it’s like.
Pro Mountain Biker and TDS Spirit Leader
“Don’t know if there was a real plan to turn TDS into what it is today,” said Weir. “Maybe Ron had the vision back then. For me, it was always more than just a race. We wanted to create a fan experience more than a race—camping, big fires, BBQ, no rules, and high energy. It’s nothing new—what we are doing—but when you can control every part of the event, it makes it easier to be successful. It’s just one of those things; if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. Casey and Ron work with big equipment at their day jobs, but when they get to the TDS property, they use that equipment to create art on a dirt canvas stretched across the forest. As the years go by, we are getting more racers coming back not to race but to volunteer. There is enough going on at TDS that it will leave you only seeing 50 percent of what’s happening, unless you become a spirit leader. That’s a whole different kind of prize and person. Building a community has always been the goal, because you could never do TDS like this without a great crew of people giving their free time to make others smile. We get a lot of flack from people about the event being invitation only. We can’t make everyone happy, and, sorry, we are not trying to. We are just showing there is a way to build community and create something special. Don’t wait for the invite; make something happen on your own by getting involved.”
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