Kona Endurance Team rider Spencer Paxson, flying the red, white and blue of Team USA, rallied to a passionate 6th place finish in the Men’s Cross Country Mountain Bike event at the 2015 Pan American Games in Ontario on Sunday. This was Kona’s first representation in a major Games, and Paxson was one of only two men from the US selected to compete (the other being Stephen Ettinger, 2013 National Champion). Like the Olympics, Pan Am Games happens only once every four years, and is one of the major “Games” of the world. Needless to say, it is a special opportunity for all of the athletes to compete on a big stage – in other words, make the most of it, no matter what happens!
How it Played Out
After a good start and less than ten minutes into the first of six laps, calamity struck when Spencer tagged a rock coming out of a high-speed technical descent, flipping over the bars and blasting all the air out of his front tire. Unable to re-inflate the damaged tire, he took to running nearly half a mile to the race pit, falling deep in to last place. The day seemed hopelessly over. But things were just getting started for our resolute XC boy.
Like a train building steam, Spencer began to pick riders off one by one, and soon was plowing through the field like a man possessed. Over the next five laps, he fought his way from dead last to 6th place, a mere 8 seconds away from top-5. It was a memorable performance that had the crowd on its feet at the end of the day.
Though Spencer may be coming home empty-handed in terms of medals, his full-hearted performance at the Pan Am Games was full of enough mettle to earn a special notch in the Kona racing chronicles.