Monday, October 7, 2013

BME #5 Moab Finale

The Big Mountain Enduro series finals took place in Moab, UT recently and saw us racing some great trails in perfect desert fall weather. Not too hot, maybe a bit too cold for a small portion, fantastic sunrises/sets. Does it get any better? (no, it doesn't. Stupid question)


I was going into my last race of the season with a comfortable points lead for the series. Short of something catastrophic, if I rode consistently, I'd win the overall.

Talk about a position I never thought I'd be in when randomly signing up for a single race just to have a little fun.

So, big weekend goal #1-prevent catastrophe and win the overall.

But, we are racing. And the first day wasn't overly risky to bike or body. Hence, goal #2-win a stage

Goal #3, lets not break anything. I'd really like to enjoy fall riding, after all.


Day 1

Our first day was to be 3 stages on some of the newer trails in the upper Mag-7 area. Parts of these same trails had been used in the spring as part of the Enduro Cup, but this was before I'd ever heard of enduro racing. (late to the party, right?) However, I'd ridden these trails a time or two and knew they were a lot of fun. Not difficult, not very downhill, but lots of fun and with good flow. They could be raced hard without a huge risk of bike or bodily injury. Plus the scenery can't be beat (not that I could see it through the lactic acid haze).  

Stage 1

Ah, stage 1, upper Bullrun. You're so much fun when trail riding, but you really hurt when racing. The first stage of any race is always tough for me and that goes double when it is also the most pedal intensive stage of the day. Despite a nice 2 mile ride from the parking area to the start line and thinking you're warmed up, think again. 

5 seconds. Beep. GO! Pedal, stand-up, brake, turn, gas, turn again. Turn harder, stay on the trail. Make a pass. Seat up. Pedal. Seat down you pansy, pedal. Pass again. Keep pedaling. My legs hurt. Slam on brakes. There goes the turn. Shit. Really pedal. Pass. Sit, stand. Turn. Oh hey there's someones Garmin in the dust. That sucks. Pedal. Am I there yet. There's the finish. Yes!! Its over!

2nd for the stage. Two more to go and two more chances to get my goal of winning a stage. I'm awake now.


Stage 2

An easy ride down the road took us to stage 2, the Great Escape. I'll go out on a limb and say Great Escape is the funnest trail in this area. Any day of riding that included the full Bullrun and Great Escape would be a good one, but if you've only got time or energy for one, make the Escape. It's a bit less pedally, a touch more techy, has a few more sneaker turns, and is just plain fun. Even at race pace. I managed to find all the turns and control the sideways slides down slickrock rollers and pulled off the stage win! Weekend goal #2 accomplished. 

Stage 3

Another easy transition ride and I was at the bottom of the Gold Bar singletrack. However, the timing guys and equipment was not. Nor were they at the top. But lots of riders were. What to do, what to do. I can ride up the trail and ride down! Great idea. A short ride and I was at the top among hordes of racers napping, tanning, chatting. I did a little chatting then turned and rode down. Uh, where's the trail? I can't find the yellow dots. Oh, gee it's over there. The yellow brick road went left and I went right. Note to self, remember that one for the race.


At the bottom, the timing guys were showing up so I began pedaling up the official transition, a.k.a the long way round.  

A short wait at the top and I was lining up for the final run of the day. Then off I went. Making turns, feeling strong, having fun. Uh, where's the stupid yellow dots? Where am I? Oh, yeah. This is that "note to self" spot. Fantastic. Pull a 180, look left so I don't smack the guy behind me and go. Cross the line, shake head, and wonder where my 30sec guy was. He came down almost exactly 30sec behind me. So I lost about 30sec and finished 6th for the stage and 2nd for the day. I also secured the overall BME series win. Goal #1 for the weekend accomplished!

Looking at my time for stage 3, I finished 29sec in front of my 30 sec guy who got 4th on the stage. I figure I lost ~29sec on my little excursion and had that time not been lost, I was knocking at a top 10 finish in the pro class. What if….


Day 2: The Enchilada 

After day one's racing, we got official word from the USFS that enough snow had melted and we would be able to race the Whole Enchilada. We were also told to bring a jacket. 

I was in the second shuttle wave and loaded around 830. It was still 40 in Moab. It was a good deal more chilly at the drop off point. With snow still lingering in the shade and soupy mud in the sun, I slogged up to the top of Burro Pass and a full 7,000ft above the finish line.



Since I had secured the overall on day one, I planned to ride conservatively, not break my body or bike (Goal #3 for those keeping track), and just enjoy the ride. Since Burro was covered in snow and ice, this was kind of nice. It was a total blast slipping and sliding down! I clearly remember laughing my way through the snow and just having fun on my bike while taking a 10th place finish.


One more to go. 

A golden ride to the top of Hazard County and there was the last start line of the season. Hazard was perfect. Fast, smooth berms and turns. No need to brake for them. Just lean, push, and smile. On to the Kokopelli road. No brakes, bomb it. Then the UPS-LPS with its techy, chunky, twisty fun. And onto the not fun Porcupine Rim. Yes, that's right. I said Porcupine Rim isn't fun. At non-race pace it's okay, but not great. Racing it just isn't fun at all, not in my mind anyway. It is challenging in some ways, but doesn't feel overly rewarding. Mentally, I think this was the most difficult portion of the BME series. The unending roughness that constantly tries to rob your speed and shake parts off the bike goes on and on. Of course the saving grace is the final few miles of singletrack, which is certainly world-class. 

With a mentality of enjoy it as best you can, make it down in one piece, and a broken derailleur cable I pulled of a 6th in the stage, 6th for the weekend, and the big win for the season.


Then it was time for a burger and strawberry shake at Milt's.

Season Summary:

Gunny LTR enduro: 3rd Am men
BME Angel Fire: 1st Am men 30-39
BME Crested Butte: 1st Am men 30-39
BME Keystone: 4th Am men 30-39
EWS Winterpark: 6th Am Master Men
BME Durango: 1st Am Men 30-39
BME Moab: 6th Am Men 30-39

1st Overall Am Men 30-39, Big Mountain Enduro Series





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