This past weekend was the kick off race to the 2017 ESC Enduro series. The race was held at Glen Park in Stroudsburg, PA. The dirt and trails at Glen Park are at the top of my list for local trails. The dirt and the terrain are unlike anything else around. The day before the event the trails and courses (5) were open to practice and line scoping. I went hoping to see how the trails were holding up to everyone practicing and what lines were developing. Mother nature had decided that she would treat us with rain on and off all day, and as a group of us were on the last stage the skies decided to open up and turn traction into slipping and sliding. I was glad to get a practice in on each course and called it a day.
The weather was the complete opposite on race day, Sunday. The weather could not have been more perfect. The sun was shining, the dirt was tacking up nicely, and I was surrounded by friends and smiles. I didn't have enough time to do any practice runs, so after catching up with some familiar faces I began making my way to the top. To begin each stage you had to ride from the bottom to the top. This separated those who ride a lot, from those who are just beginning to work on their fitness. As I was on my way to the top I saw the first Pro rider come through stage one. I thought the race started later so I quickly pedaled to the top. I was the last Pro male rider to go on stage one. In actuality the timing worked out well, since I was warmed up when I got to the top and was ready to hit the course. My luck would drastically change on stage 2 and it is the purpose behind this article. I swiped my timing chip and was racing my way down stage 2 when in the middle of pedaling through a choppy rock garden my chain came off. My instinct was to just do the best I could and to brake as little as possible. In my racing career I have been unfortunate enough to deal with this before, so rather than panic I just did my best. This stage had a few small uphills and as I came into them I jumped off the bike and ran with it. I was doing my best and continued to have hope that I could keep my momentum and speed up. As I entered a long fast straight away I decided to try and pedal to see if I could re-engage the chain. My guardian angel was watching over me because it somehow got lined back up and I was able to pedal. There wasn't much course left, but I went all out for the remainder. As I crossed the end of the stage and time out I was filled with sacredness and negative thoughts. "oh man, I can't even believe that just happened" "I'm screwed, I can't make up that much time now". I did not want to let this effect the rest of my day and how good I had felt earlier. I lowered the guide that keeps the chain on, fixing the issue, and pedaled back to the top. Slowly the weight of what happened disappeared and I reminded myself that this is fun, should be fun, and I'm here because it's what I love.
I finished the next three stages and felt good with how I had ridden. As I turned in my chip, I was happy. I had done my best and even more importantly I never gave up, and I kept my smiling rocking all day.
It felt good to get out of spandex and riding gear and just relax for a bit. Lillie my dog had gone to the event with me so we slowly wandered back to where everyone was gathered. As we walked we passed a fellow racer, he told me I was in second. My jaw dropped, and I thought he surely was wrong. I walked up to the results and saw that I actually was in second, and I would hold that position for the day. If I had let my misfortune get the best me it would have taken away everything that was positive about the day, and it definitely would have taken my result away from me. Riding is such a rewarding sport in so many ways. It is a great way to meet and make friends, relieve stress, enjoy nature, and to stay healthy. I chose to race that day and even more importantly I chose to believe in myself and to not give up. I hope that whether its with riding or in life that you to can look inside and find the strength to stay strong and believe in yopurself.