My first Enduro and first race of 2016. Not being in prime physical condition and not racing any previous Cross Country or Enduro races this year I didn't have the mental focus that I am accustom to heading into a race event like this, but what I did have was the bike. Now I will be the first to tell you that a better bike doesn't make a better rider, but having the right bike can make the difference between fun and disaster. Now was this the first time I raced the Mayhem enduro? No. But it was the first time on I raced on a bike with over 6 inches of travel, 36mm forks, and 27.5" wheels.
My goals were to be able to do the bike some justice and at least jump all of the more natural dirt built jumps and maybe, just maybe, a wooden feature like the road gap or the new and improved creek gap "2". And most importantly, have fun.
Saturday's pre-ride didn't look promising. Physically I felt good but I just didn't have my "mojo" whether it was riding with unfamiliar teammates and not having at least some of the usual rowdy KSD crew around, or having those big welcoming rocks stare at you from the landing side of the jumps, or not riding the Wilds in two years? I don't know so I just cruised the course until we met up with some dudes hitting the creek jump on stage 4. We watched them hit the jump a few times and then one asked "anyone else want to try?" I replied " yes, I want to check your speed" so as I followed him to the approach of the jump the speed felt too slow but I stayed on his back tire to complete the jump. This was the little boost I needed. Saturday evening - free beer provided by Weasel Boy brewing of Zanesville, the party was on.
I did a morning pre-ride of stages 1 & 2 with Mark a team member that couldn't be there Saturday for warm up. My legs felt weak. During the transfer to stage 1 I tried to keep my speed up to help keep my flow for the stages. However, we caught up to another slow moving team and I got bored so I tried to "bunny hop" a small roller, only I didn't have any speed and my back tire caught a tree root to drop my front tire on the downside of the hill and over the bars I went. Usually this is something of the norm for me and I was quite amused with myself and Matt's comment "I think I heard you say every cuss word in the book before you hit the ground" (or something like that ) anyway, this could have been the kind of thing that gets my blood flowing for the rest of the day only to ruined by disappointment as I found my Garmin screen shattered.
The stages went by a little rushed with me more worried about searching for rhythm on the man made berms and jumps which left me forgetting about the rock garden on 2, a big jump on stage 3 that I had to roll and almost ended my day and even crashing in the cross country stuff on stage 5.
All in all despite what seems like a gloomy review the experiment was a success. I accomplished the goals I set out to and I know I had a good time when frustration leaves me not wanting to walk away, but return for more!
Thanks for reading,
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