I think this used to be the Endurance Championships a few years ago and it was always a fun race so I was excited that it they finally brought back an October race in Big Bear- it’s the perfect time of year to race up there. It was also held in conjunction with the Crafts and Cranks beer festival, and… the return of down hill racing at Snow Summit. Kind of a big deal. Shannon and I drove up early Saturday morning and parked amidst the hundreds of downhill racers in the Snow Summit parking lot, in spandex, clearly we were in the minority.
We lined up as usual on 2N10. It was a smaller field so they started every category and group together:one mass start, which, is fine because the climb is so steep and long off the start that the field immediately separates, and separate it did. Nick Beechan and I immediately took off and put a minute or two on the field by the time we hit the new Pirates singletrack. We sped along together until we hit Skyline, I was leading him out and felt a little bad because the twisty, sandy turns of Skyline aren’t my strong suit. I offered him the chance to pass but he declined. This was going to be fun. Back on 2N10 we hit the rolling fire road climbs and each time we started to ascend we’d punch it, testing the waters. Finally about halfway in at mile 10 I could feel my legs not responding as quickly. We’d been putting out 400-500 watts for the last 45 minutes and they were a little toasted. Nick began to slip away. I kept him in sight for a while until he disappeared on another section of Skyline. I saw him on a section of Wet Dream and clocked him at about a minute up at mile 16 so I kept on the gas but couldn’t reel him back before the downhill finish into Snow Summit and he got me by about a minute and a half in just over an hour of racing.
After all these endurance races the XC was such a welcome thrill. I could actually walk afterwards, was coherent, and was ready to spin again. It was the most fun I’d had racing all season. Shannon and I went for a little ride up Fern Trail and spun around until we settled down for some cold margaritas back in town. Pretty much the perfect day of racing. Oh, winning would have been more fun I suppose. Watch out Nick, there’s more to come. Can’t wait to do it again.