The 2023 Black Buffalo National Enduro was an experience for the record books. The Wilderness Rider Buffalo Ranch gave us picturesque views of rolling hills that had the richest green grass and deepest blue skies. The peace and quiet we found atop our basecamp perch was accompanied by the rustling sounds of grazing Buffalo. Those sights lulled us into a sense of calm that would be quickly ripped away 100 yards into the first test of the day.
What you couldn’t see from our humbling vantage point were the 55 miles of rocks that awaited us racers. From the very beginning, it felt like I had decided to WD40 my tires because I enjoy that much suffering. The moss covered rocks in Test 1 were slick, stealing momentum while weighing heavy on my Sunday morning soul. As the day progressed, the single track hidden in these Central Arkansas hills flowed us up, over, and across all manor of rocky terrain. The trails were reminiscent of Sargents, CO, a teeth-chattering experience that I would normally drive 14 hours for. But today, I was lucky enough to have only driven six.
As if all the tree dodging, side-hilling, and rock ricochets weren’t enough for one day of racing, Test Six put it all together to wrap the day in a proper enduro bow! All the A racers who stayed upright on the downhills to the start of the test were excited to see what we were about to be offered. The slick boulders we bounced our way through stole all momentum, forcing us to leverage every ounce of energy left in our upper bodies. The Enduro Gods were smiling down on us this day, some with a pretty wide sh!t eating grin.
Personally, I think the race should have had 10-15 more miles added to it somewhere throughout the day, but I enjoy those times where true attrition sets in. We need more National Enduros like this, where technical prowess on the bike breaks up the speed and pace of WFO trails.