Mountain Creek Bike Park – King Of the Mountain
This was a race that taught me a lot about Enduro Racing and ways to be better prepared for it.
There were 5 stages to this race. The first two stages were primarily XC style course, with a little bit of downhill. Stage three was definitely a good mix of Mountain Creeks Trails, and especially some of the high speed dh. This stage also ended on their Indy Cross course. Stages four and five were aggressive dh, with a lot of natural rock and terrain. All of the stages used the exact same finish line.
I’m going to try and make this write up a little shorter than my typical stories. I felt I did a fair job on stage one with only some minor bobbles and mistakes. Stage two taught me a lesson about truly inspecting the course the day before or the morning of if possible. When we pre-rode the course the day before we were shown one line, and there was a direct straight line next to it. I was under the assumption that the other line would be taped off, as it straight lined an entire section. However I came to find out that it wasn’t. I was disappointed as this section probably cost you between six and ten seconds. Oh well, live and learn. Stage three would turn out to be good and bad for me. About half way down the course there was a long step up gap. As I reached the gap I caught the rider that started before me. He literally hit the lip of the jump a few seconds before me. I didn’t want to lose all the speed I had brought into this section, so I passed him in the air on his left. This put me into a rough section of trail. About two seconds later I heard psss psss psss psss. Yep, I had puncture through the tire a Stans was shooting everywhere. Not exactly sure what to do I continued to pedal my ass off. The tire somehow managed to seal but left me with about ten psi. It felt as if I was riding on marshmallows. The last part of this stage went through the Indy Cross course. This is a high speed section of berms, rollers, and jumps. I knew I would have to go slow so that I wouldn’t roll the tire off the rim. Exiting the last turn it was basically a straight line to the finish, and I pedaled knowing I had nothing to lose. So, here’s what’s funny about this stage. Even with my flat and having to baby down half the course I still had the fastest time of the day on this Stage. Boy, I can only imagine the time I could of made up, but that’s not how it worked out. Once across the finish line I began to fix the flat and put a tube in. I would have to run it at extremely high pressure so that I wouldn’t flat in the stages yet to come, which was a very bad option considering the conditions were very slick, and high pressure would cost me traction. Stage four went ok, with the biggest problem once again being catching the rider in front of me and being forced into a horrible line, and then having non-racer get on the course in front of me and stop dead. For next year this is something the mountain needs to get under control. I heard a lot of stories about people being on the courses that weren’t racing. The last stage would prove to be the nastiest of the day. Large slick rocks covered in moss, and a very tired body trying to ride it as fast as possible. I wasn’t happy with my run, but it got the job done.
My efforts from the day put me in fourth place, missing third by two seconds. This race went in the books as a great learning experience and a fun day of training. I learned to do a better course inspection if possible, and to be better prepared by having two tubes, and more than enough food and water, as I ran out of both by the fourth stage. Live and learn.