My last race was the EWS in Whistler, it was super tough and left me feeling pretty down about my riding. I knew I shouldn’t let that get to me, but I could not help thinking about how poorly I rode. So coming to Truckee, California for the second round of the Continental Enduro Series was either going to be a repeat or redemption.
The first day of practice went okay. The terrain is pretty challenging in Northern California. It’s extremely dry and loose and almost comparable to the EWS in Chile early this year. Needless to say, there is a learning curve on how to ride it and even though I have ridden there many times, I was still struggling to figure it out again. I cruised through the day taking everything slow and easy hoping to spare my bike and body from the ground.
Second practice day it finally started to click again. I made a tire change and put a WTB Convict on the rear to match the front and I also got my suspension dialed in. My Process 153 was feeling unstoppable. I could push in corners and find some flow in the rough rocky tech sections.
Northstar is unique in the number of line choices on any given trail and this makes practicing a bit more difficult. Instead of just riding the trails and remembering key features, I was having to stop and look at sections of the trail and decide what was going to be fastest. But not just what was fastest right then but what would be fastest in a few days after the trail had been ridden another thousand times. And what would be fastest when I was totally gassed in a race run. I generally chose the middle ground of more technical faster lines that were not anything crazy or wild.
Race day one had three stages, two full pedal transfers, and one chairlift ride up the mountain. The race stages were less tech and more pedal. I had one small off-trail excursion on the first stage but the day was very clean and smooth otherwise. I was 14th overall going into the next day. If I stayed smooth and clean, let everyone else make mistakes, I could potentially move into the top ten on day two, my goal for the weekend.
Race day two had four stages, one and a half pedal transfers and two chairlift rides up the mountain. The race tracks were very rough and technical which would play in my favor. The day went almost perfectly until exhaustion caught up to me on the last stage and I blew all of my lines in the two gnarliest rock gardens of the weekend.
All in all, I would say it was a stellar race weekend and those few mistakes I made did not cost me anything overall. I rounded out the weekend in ninth place and my goal was a top ten so it was a great success. This was the redemption I needed to get me back on track for the last race of the Continental Enduro Series. Looking forward to racing in Vermont in a few weeks and finishing the race season strong!