Lift Off.

El Trial de España, number forty-eight, is in the books. One hundred and seventy-six riders grappled the Cahuilla terrain and were physically and mentally tested, for two days. Arizona was definitely in the house as well, with some twenty folks making the eastward trek to the gusty and wonderfully green terrain of MotoVentures, located on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation.

The Pro riders were phenomenal. Saturday was the Pro Exhibition: Extremely dramatic sections had been crafted by legendary trials champion Geoff Aaron, and the rides he coaxed out of the rocks (and riders!) were stunning. Josh Roper, mid flight off a twenty foot boulder. Alex Niederer and Daniel Blanc-Gonnet were somehow always airborne under my camera, doing artful aerial maneuvers. The weekend, however went to Wisconsin native Pat Smage. Pat completely owned the course, never once touching the ground, scoring a perfect clean for the entire WEEKEND (yes, really). Pat, riding for RYP/Sherco USA, took home the coveted El Trial Sword, and his part of the $1,000 purse. Next, he heads to the opening round of the NATC Nationals this weekend in Roswell, New Mexico. Happy travels, Pat and Hannah!

The club riders were awesome as well, and the scores showed that this was not an easy affair. Two loops of 12 sections were run on Saturday. Sundays trial contained 30 sections, and was also the SCTA Trials Championship season finale! Even now the scores are being tabulated to determine the season champs. We will keep you posted for sure!

Meanwhile, enjoy what I feel is a most epic photo, no retouch or even cropping. Daniel Blanc-Gonnet, you are indeed cleared for landing. Beep.

Josh Roper and that mid-flight thing I was rambling on about. Also stunned are Paul Oswald scoring, then L to R; Vernon on his camera, Cole planning El Trial 50, and DJ Jared lugging the gear. Below right, Pat Smage captures it all on the helmet cam.