By Ambassador Kyla Forsberg
Months ago my friend Susan convinced me and a few other friends to race in the North American Enduro Cup. I had never raced an enduro, and I’ve never raced in an event this big. To be honest, I always thought racing was for the really good riders. In my mind I was just your average shredder. Slowly making my way down the trail, catching some air here and there.
Over the course of months, I put in so many miles, climbed thousands of feet of elevation, tested my limits riding down more advanced trails and doubted myself countless times.
Did I have a ton of anxiety before hand? Yes. Did I almost cancel my registration? Yes.
Am I glad my amazing, encouraging, supportive friends wouldn’t let me quit? YES! The North American Enduro Cup was legit one of the funnest experiences I’ve had.
I raced sport category so we didn’t have to do as many stages as the expert and Pro racers.
First up, practice day. It didn’t take long for me to start saying “What the hell have I done?” The trails in Idaho are different than my home turf. It was dry, loose and rocky. I was able to mostly get down the trails but not at speed. There were a couple corners I walked and that concerned me. How was I going to get down with speed?
Regroup Kyla, keep your expectations low and the stoke level high. Big deep breath.
I realized something in Idaho. I hit the jackpot with my gal pals. They were real. They were honest and we 100% had each others back. I wasn’t the only one who was experiencing anxiety. We all talked about it that night over tacos. Real, honest tears, real honest encouragement. We got this.
The next morning I put on some lipstick and loaded up my bike. I didn’t know how I would do, but damm it, I was gonna look good doing it.
I gotta admit, I was a bit stoked on the climb. I felt ready for it. I had trained for it. If I had known it was going to be 85% hike a bike I would have done more hiking. Thankfully this was the only climbing we had to do, the expert/pro riders had to do a lot more. I knew after we reached the top it was all gondola and chairlifts.
The actual racing part is kind of a blur. I don’t really remember all the trails, all I remember is what was going through my head.
“Go, go. Go faster. Did you really just brake through a berm? Come on Kyla! Get your shit together. Oh damn my shoulders hurt. Don’t roll this, you have to send it. Knees over toes. No brakes. Oh damn, here comes that corner. Holy hell! I made that corner! This is rad! Going fast is rad!”
I’m happy to say I made it down only getting off my bike a couple times. And it was involuntary. I wiped out, I went over the bars. No damage done but I did get a stick stuck in my chainring that took a second to dislodge.
Stage 2 was pure bliss. Hands down my favorite stage.
Stage 3 was fun too. Until we reached the last trail. I don’t remember what is was actually called. Daisy something. Off camber spider roots, loose dirt. Raw and fresh. I had to dab my whole way through it. There was lots of swearing and some of us left the trail feeling defeated. Zero love for that trail.
We were done for the day after that. As we sat around the team tent stuffing our faces with tacos (again) I felt totally at peace. I didn’t know what place I was in and honestly didn’t care. I had already achieved what I set out to do. I rode my hardest and had no regrets. I enjoyed myself and realized I was a much better rider than I give myself credit for.
I was excited for the next day. Stage 6 was a top to bottom pull. We had ridden stage 6 on practice day but I felt like that was 100 years ago. The only thing I remembered from that day was that there was a tech section in the middle and I was here for it. I love me some gnar.
When it was finally my turn, I gave it my all. I rode faster than I ever had before. I was feeling super confident. My Process 153 was so responsive and snappy, I’ve learned to trust it and trust my skill.
By the time I crossed the finish I was dead. I honestly rode as hard as I could. I knew I had done my best and I was proud of myself. I couldn’t not have done any better.
I just wanted to finish without hurting myself or breaking my beautiful bike. I succeeded. I was not expecting to stand on the podium at all. For me, I had already won. So to end up in third place was a total shock.
Maybe I’m a better rider than I give myself credit for.
My summer dream had been completed.
(And my lipstick stayed on all day 🙂