New riding trail provides enduring recreation for Moffat County at Sand Wash Basin
With his bright race suit, complete with matching heavy boots and helmet, gloves and an off-road motorcycle to go with it all, Eric Severens looked over Enduro Colorado’s new trail race track at Sand Wash Basin on Saturday, May 11 and squinted.
“I can’t pre-ride it,” Severens said as he peered through the sun from a vantage point high enough to see at least the first few miles of wild, brush-covered trail.
The race was the culmination of much sweat, blood, and paperwork by Phil Vallem and Rocky Mountain Enduro Circuit volunteers, whose Sand Wash Basin race on Saturday began about 9:30 a.m. with more than 200 riders near the intersection of Colorado State Highway 318 and Moffat County Road 67.
Vallem’s Enduro Colorado group cut the race trails and plans to use the trails every year.
Severens drove from Cody, Wyoming for the race and said he’s been trail racing since the 1980s — which was when he said Moffat County last held an Enduro trail race for motorcycles.
Though he trail races his Enduro motorcycle often near his home, he said riding locations like Moffat County’s are few and far between.
“We got mountain riding, but it’s pretty restricted,” Severens said.
Bruce Sillitoe attended the race. As field manager of BLM’s Little Snake River field office, Sillitoe said he and his agency are working to get more events like the Enduro race to public lands on Moffat County.
“This is the first effort of its kind for our Little Snake Field office,” Sillitoe said as riders congregated at the starting line. “As you can see this is an important community that wants to come to Moffat County. BLM, as a multi-use organization, wants to bring meets like this to the area.”
An announcement from a race volunteer that the race was about to start yielded an audible cheer amongst the hundreds who’d gathered at the starting line. As motorcyclists fired up their motors and arranged themselves into their assigned classes, volunteers spread out across the track to check for areas in need of additional trail markings as it was easy for riders to miss where Enduro Colorado’s new trails began and where Moffat County’s prickly underbrush ended.
Jeremy Sears, 39, drove from the Denver area and was waiting his turn for a start. He said he’s been riding since 2014 and as racers revved their way one at a time onto Enduro Colorado’s new trail race, Sears said he was just hoping to enjoy the ride.
“I hope to just have fun, keep it on two wheels, and maybe pass a few guys on the way,” Sears said.
Sillitoe said his office has been working some three years on the permitting for Saturday’s race. While the public can come to Sand Wash Basin for just about any recreational use, the completed permitting cuts some red tape for any other commercial users who might be thinking about bringing their event to Sand Wash Basin.
“If it’s a commercial event, then it has to be permitted and comply with various state and federal laws,” Sillitoe said.
With a show within a show, the actors of Craig Middle School are learning the value of stepping out of their comfort zones.