The Scott Enduro Cup in Sun Valley Idaho last weekend was awesome! They had a great race venue, and the trails were really unique and fun! Not only did I have an outstanding race but I received reassurance that PREPARATION PAYS OFF!
Let’s take a flash back to the Wildwood Enduro, to show how much not preparing can cost you. We arrived at the Wildwood Enduro venue noon, the day before the races started and inadvisably we only were able to pre ride one of 8 stages. That turned out to be a huge mistake, because I didn’t preride 7 out of 8 stages. So at Sun Valley Enduro, unlike at the Wildwood Enduro where we didn’t pre ride the course, we were determined not to make the same mistake twice!
We arrived in Sun Valley Idaho late Wednesday afternoon two days before the races started. On Thursday we went out and rode the Backcountry Stages. Stage 1 was very pedaly during the beginning of the stage. Once it started going down, the trail turned very steep with lots of baseball sized rocks. Stage 2 had 30 seconds of pedaling right off the gun. Then it turned into a super, steep, narrow and rocky trail. After about a mile there was a steep 15-20 percent grade climb then back to a steep descending trail to the finish line. Saturday was the Resort day so all of the stages were on the ski mountain. With no chair lift running we rode up 10 miles with 4,000 ft of climbing, but since one of the 3 stages was closed we only rode 2 stages. Stage 2 had a mile and a half, nearly flat section of trail before the tight and windy single track began, and continued for 3 miles. Stage 3 was a 5 mile long, on an exposed hillside, twisty loose and very pedaly stage and it was super important to pre-ride.
The Enduro Cup had only one class for Juniors, 18 and under, as a 14 yr old I knew I alway have to be at my best against my older competitors and PREPARATION is a must! When day 1 started I was confident that our pre-riding would pay off, and it did! On stage one all of my lines were smooth and I had the 2nd fastest time. Stage 2 was super fun and techy, but I felt like I had a great run. In the end I came away 3rd! So for day 1, I was sitting in 3rd overall, 8 seconds behind 2nd. Pre-riding the course was paying off!
Day two was very hard! Stage 3 (the one we didn’t pre-ride). Was by far the most technical, especially with nearly the entire trail covered in baseball sized stones and blown out tight corners. I had a hard time on that stage. The rocks were difficult to maneuver through, and I was being jolted and bounced all through the stage. After that stage I looked at results and was 8th place in that stage now 40 seconds behind 2nd. If wanted to get second place back I was going to have to go full-out! But I had high hopes because I was one of the few racers that pre-rode stages 4 and 5 which were so pedaly the could have been part of a XC race course. On stage 4 I felt awesome. Being a XC racer defiantly helped me do well on this pedaly stage. I came in 4th and the top 4 were all within ten seconds of the winner. On stage 5 I felt even better than stage 4. I pedaled on every section possible and when I finished I literally fell to the ground from exhaustion! My time was only 2 seconds from the winners time! I thought about how much that stage would have sucked if I haven’t pre ridden it. By the end of the day I had placed 2nd 15 seconds ahead of 3rd! If that doesn’t show that Preparation Pays Off I don’t know what will!
The Scott Enduro Cup in Sun Valley is the Perfect example of how pre-riding and preparing pays off and in the converse the Wildwood Enduro, where I finished 7th shows the opposite. Without pre-riding stages 4 and 5 there was no way I would have made up 40 lost seconds and gained 15 seconds on the rider who was in third! Now that I have proved to myself and every one reading that Preparation Pays Off, I’m never going to be unprepared (if it’s at all within my power) again!