Super Grasroots rider Ryan Gardner Balances Work and Play with a Top Ten Finish at the Northstar Enduro

Trying to keep competitive on the bike while holding down a full time job can be quite the juggling act. It’s not always easy to find the right combination of training rides and late nights at the office that allows me to feel like I am making progress on both fronts.  This past weekend at the North American Enduro Tour/California Enduro Series stop was a shining example of when all goes to plan. In my consulting job, this past week is the single busiest of the year with a major deadline looming on September 1st. It just so happens that one of the most competitive enduro races on the west coast fell in the same week. I knew getting my projects done on time and under budget was going to be tough as it was, and even tougher if I was going to take Friday off for practice and then race all weekend, but you only live once right? I packed my laptop in with my race bag and headed for the mountains Thursday night. Friday practice was rapid fire combination of finishing reports, taking a practice lap, sending emails, taking a practice lap, conference calls, taking a practice lap… and so on. It was a little stressful, and at times difficult to focus on the tracks, but some practice is better than no practice!

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With work behind me for the next two days I got down to the business of riding fast and loose in the dusty and rough conditions of Northstar. Notoriously a difficult venue for me, I think after 5 years in California I am getting this dry dusty stuff figured out. I had a great series of runs on Saturday and finished off the day with a seventh on stage 3 which got me fired up for more on Sunday. The courses we ran on Sunday were straight up DH. Literally, I raced a Pro GRT on the same stage a few years ago. All I could think was how good my Process 153 felt on these gnarly trails! I also realized, as racer after racer left with broken bikes and injury, how durable my bike is. I can’t think of many other racers at this level whose bikes last more than a season, yet this thing is still kicking well over a season in.

I had some of the best feeling race runs of my life on Sunday, enough to put me in 7th overall in a field consisting of some of the best enduro riders in the business. I returned to work on Monday with a renewed vigor and finished off my looming projects with approximately 24 hours of office time over two days! My big take away this weekend? Just get it done. Don’t fall into complacency. There are a million things happening in work and life all the time and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and start cutting out the things that really make you happy. There is plenty of time to excel on multiple fronts, just make it happen.

Full results are here.