Enduro challenge

LEHIGH – When it comes to dirt bikes, Quintin Davis said he’s been riding them competitively ever since 1979.

Davis, of Scotch Grove, was one of 79 bikers competing in the Gnarly Hills Enduro event in Lehigh on Sunday.

Although he’s been riding for years, Davis said the course, which rode through the woods of rural Lehigh on a trail, was very challenging.

“It’s very technical,” he said. “And the heat was a big factor. The ground’s also a little bit wet, but it’s not bad.”

Not even missing a leg prevents Davis from going out and riding on his dirt bike.

“I tend to ignore it,” Davis said.

The only time it gives him trouble is when he needs to make a sharp turn, but he said his bike is modified with a rear brake that helps prevent him from going out of control.

He did admit that because of the course’s intensity, he decided to end the race early.

“I probably could have made it the rest of the way, but it was just going to get worse,” Davis said. “When I overheat, I’m done. That’s where people start to make stupid mistakes.”

The course also proved a challenge for Michael Asel, of Waterloo, whose first enduro race was Sunday.

“It was really tough,” he said, adding he wished he would have done a better job preparing for it.

But he said he was willing to give enduro racing another try in the future.

“I just need to get in better shape,” he said.

Eric Burghardt, of Omaha, Neb., said going up and down the hills was a challenge, but he also enjoyed it.

“It was a lot of fun,” Burghardt said. “It’s long and there’s lots of big hills. At least it’s not 100 (degrees).”

Shane Millsap, of West Des Moines, had biked the enduro trail before, but for a “hare scramble” event, which is smaller than an enduro.

“I know some of the layout, but there’s also a lot that I’ve never been on,” Millsap said.

Another bike rider, Brock Anderson, of Platsmouth, Nebraska, also enjoyed the course.

“Some spots were pretty nice, but others were slick,” he said.

The race was sponsored by the Iowa Enduro Riders Association, a collection of clubs from throughout Iowa and Illinois.

An enduro is an off-road event that is a race against the timer rather than other racers, and is composed of two circuits on a 28-mile track.

While the competitors described the enduro as a challenge, many agreed the best part of the event was the quality of people who attended.

“Everybody’s here to have a good time and everybody’s willing to lend a hand,” Al Mast, of Waterloo, who took part in his first enduro Sunday, said. “Everybody’s so friendly.”

Davis said he has experienced the kindness first hand; during one of his previous races, his helmet was missing its liner. A fellow rider let him use a spare helmet he had for the race.

“It’s a bunch of true enthusiasts doing what they love,” Davis said. “If somebody’s on the side of the road or hurt, they’ll stop and help.”