Vezina, riding his Reign Advanced Pro 29 and wearing Giant Line shoes, had to overcome an injury to earn the title at the series finals, which covered five stages of dry, dusty and rutted out terrain at the Snow Summit resort in Southern California. The U.S. Open has been part of the North American mountain bike scene since 2003, but this was the first year the event was held on the West Coast.
“The last round of the North American Continental Enduro Series was made up of five relatively short stages,” Vezina said. “I was feeling great in practice until a silly little crash led to me getting eight stitches in my shin.”
To win the overall in the North American series, which consisted of three races this year—in Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Revelstoke, Canada; and the finals at Big Bear Lake, California—Vezina knew he had to turn in a podium performance. He had finished first in Arkansas and fourth at Revelstoke earlier this summer.
“With the overall on the line, I decided to give it my best shot,” said Vezina. “I struggled with it being very painful to pedal, so I focused on riding as smooth as possible. I ended the day in second place, and that gave me enough points to win the series overall.”