Kenda Cup #1 EnduranceVail Lake 2017

Not exactly how I wanted my day to end…

The alarm went off at 4:30 am in Oak Park and it was pouring rain and 42 degrees. Awesome. Almost hit the snooze and went back to bed but made the coffee and loaded the car. On the road at 5:15 and poured rain the entire way to Temecula and the temperature never got above 46 degrees. I was having deja vu of the Vail Lake race 2 years ago but something magical happened about a mile from the venue. The skies lightened, the rain became a drizzle and there was even a little sun peeking through the clouds. By the time we lined up there was a rainbow. “This is going to be an awesome day” I told myself.

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We lined up. All the usual suspects were there: Tinker, Stephane Roch, Stuart Gonzalez… we all lined up. I’ve only beaten on technicalities but I was ready to hang with him today. Immediately the field separated. The pace was quick and relaxed. I asked Tinker if he wanted to lead into the singletrack but he told me to go ahead. We were followed by Stephane and then a gap opened.

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Ryan Steers Giant Tinker Juarez Vail Lake Kenda Cup Endurance

Lap after lap we rode a few seconds apart and I pulled and set the pace. Finally on lap 5 Roch popped. Now it was just Tinker and I. The legs felt amazing. Topical Edge? I kept waiting for his attack but it never came…until 3/4 mile from the finish line, right after the last climb and into the last flat and descent. He took off and I chased on his wheel for a few hundred yards before…crunch, stars, searing pain. I still don’t know what happened but suddenly I was upside down in dirt. I jumped back up, adrenaline pumping, and hopped on the bike. The bars were crooked- no problem, been there before, but I went to pedal and my crank wouldn’t turn. Crap.

broken chainring

I put my hands on the bar and my left arm collapsed and searing pain shot from my shoulder to my neck. I’m totally screwed.  I clipped in one foot, held the bars with my right hand and kicked down the hill to the finish stretch. So close. I hopped off and jogged the last hundred yards and collapsed at the line. “Medic!” Still nabbed second.

endurance podium vail lake 2017 kenda cup ryan steers giant cofactory tinker juarez

As the adrenaline wore off the pain set in. My collarbone was toast and my back was raw and helmet destroyed. In all the years of racing this was the worst crash, I’ve been lucky. Suddenly I was surrounded by staff and friends offering to bandage, drive, medicate. It was amazing. Eboz gave me ibuprofen and cleaned my wounds while the Zubicks dressed and iced me. Shannon drove my car all the way back to the ER in Woodland Hills. I felt so lucky.

Ryan Steers Giant Kenda Cup Vail Lake broken collarbone finish

broken collarbone surgery kaiser

X-rays confirmed what I already knew and Kaiser was able to get me into surgery the next day. Now one day post op I’m recovering, researching fancy trainers and dying to get back on the bike. Four weeks and I’ll see you back out there!

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Santa Ynez Kenda Cup #5 Pro XC

Ryan Steers Pedalers Fork Kenda Cup Santa  Ynez

Well that was faster and shorter than I’m used to…

Ryan Steers Rex Steers Los Olivos Kenda Cup Santa Ynez

Post race wine tasting

Since working with coach Billy I’ve come to the realization that my hard days weren’t hard enough and my easy days weren’t easy enough. I guess that’s what coaches are for, right? Under the ever present eye of the powermeter my workouts have stepped up in intensity and I my legs felt better than ever before under heavy acceleration. Even though I got 7th I probably could have maintained my speed for another 2 laps/20 miles. Shoot, does that mean I was going too slow? Probably. Considering I woke up sick on Sunday morning and almost didn’t race I’m pretty happy with the way things went. Oh and the whole family came along for a beautiful weekend in Santa Barbara so I’ll chalk this up as a big win at life.

Let’s just hope poor Zach’s face recovers. Poor guy. First MTB race and he ate it head first down a loose descent.

Zack Manhan

Heal quickly Zach. Ladies love scars

As long as you learn something from the race you’re a winner right? Heal quickly Zach.

Rex had a good time. What other venue has a playground at the start/finish and a vineyard to roll around in afterward. Those tiny fingers are perfect for dropping clusters.

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I don’t always race XC, but when I do, I make sure it’s in wine country.

Oh, and hey look, I’m on the Moots page. Do yourself a favor and go ride one.

http://moots.com/communityblog/ryan/