Learning from experiences is important. Finding your mistakes and improving, gives me better race results, keeps me safe and prevents bike and equipment damages. This year has been very unique and I’ve gain so much valuable experience.
This year I’ve had some important lessons in bike management. During the 3rd Stage of the Bend Enduro, I failed to chose my line correctly through a rock garden. I allowed my derailleur to impact a rock. It bent over into my wheel, snapping some spokes and warping my rim. The wheel is ruined and un repairable. That was a big mistake, it cost me results, the loss of a wheel and was a dangerous situation. I’ve been working harder than ever now to make sure I watch the line I take with my bike.
Last Season, I really became acutely aware how much I needed to focus on Safety for all the bike disciplines we race! Early this year my brother had a real potential bad road race crash in California. During the sprint a racer wasn’t thinking safely, swerved across the entire peloton and wrecked the entire field. Jake had to make a quick decision to crash onto the pile of racers or ride into the ditch. He chose to ride into the ditch because he quickly decided his chances for severe injuries would be lessened. Thankfully he got away with just a little bit of road rash and a flat tire. We both learned to not only watch where we put our bikes but to watch other people as well. Being careful in Enduro is important too, you go fast and there are lots of jumps, rocks and trees that can cause life threatening injuries. Its dangerous but if you ride, think smart and have the necessary protectives you can really improve your safety.
Being prepared was something I didn’t do at this year’s Northstar Enduro Race. Enduro racing is very hard on tires and wheels, so before races I need to have ready a back up set up wheels. This insures that I can my best shot at finishing the Race. Prior to the race I should have set up both sets of our new FSA Carbon SLK Wheelsets but I only readied one set. Raceday morning, my coach learned I had no back up wheelset prepared. That made for a super messed up morning, as I had to put on the cassettes and rotors. It was work that I hadn’t planned for and time that I really didn’t have. I got really stressed out and that messed up my morning preparation for racing and my race results were proof positive. During the week leading up to the race I placed my bike chain and didn’t use a brand new chain pin. On one of the stages and broke my chain, likely from the used pin. It cost me lost me a lot of time and ultimately many places in the Overall Results. I learned a lot from that race!
Prior to the Kamikaze Games my coach was always checking up on my preparation, because of what happened at the Northstar Enduro. I know my Coach has other things he has to do. I want to be and need to be responsible and mature. I know it is my job to do that and I did! We had all of our bikes, components and equipment prepared and we even made the long trip to Mammoth the weekend before to get more practice. It paid off a ton. During the race I had all of my lines dialed and managed my bike through the many, drops, rock gardens and didn’t have one problem. In the biggest and tough field of racers all season, I did well, enough to keep my 3rd overall place in the California Enduro Series and I had a blast, too!