The race weekend started with a bang on Wednesday when D'Arcy realized that his passport was still in the mail. Whoops. Turns out that the people at Passport Canada are actually a team of super heros that truly care about the people of Canada and their travel plans, and with a day of frantic phone calls to sort out references, the D man had his passport in hand by 4 pm on Thursday. D'Arcy is still looking into the address to which he can send a thank you card and maybe some balloons.
|At the border, passports in hand, no big deal.|
With all that drama behind us, we were on the road. The Deli was packed with our two new Rocky Mountain Element 999s. With a fresh set of Maxxis Ardents, a Sram 1 x10 drivetrain, and a Fox Talus 36, I was definitely feeling well equipped. We crossed the border uneventfully and were able to drive all the way past Seattle before we stopped at a rest stop off the I-5 to sleep in the back of the Deli. In 'merrica rest stops are a lot more elaborate than the ones we have here. This one had free coffee, bathrooms, and a guy with a giant white parrot selling pink frosted cupcakes. No joke. I was going to take a picture but it was 1 am and I couldn't decide if parrot guy would oblige.
|Deli Camping, comfy and cozy.|
Friday was a bit of a whirlwind day. Breakfast in Portland, a beautiful scenic drive down to Bend, then straight to the course for afternoon shuttles. We geared up at a parking lot part of the way up the road to Mt. Bachelor. We dropped into the first trail "Funner" which for the first 5 minutes was just to get to the start of the course. As we did our first lap, even taking it easy, getting to know the course these trails were super fun. Flowy, open, little jumps here and there, only a handful of rocks many of which you could just jump right over. We stopped at the bottom of stage 1 with giant smiles on our faces. This was going to a be a fun weekend of riding.
|Near Sisters, Oregon, on our way to Bend|
|6 PBR tall cans for 5.49. D'Arcy is incredulous.|
Saturday we raced the first 4 stages. Stage 1 was about 8 minutes. When we got to the bottom we rode out to the road and were shuttled up to the start of stage 2. Stage 2 was only 2.5 minutes of super fun awesomeness, so you can imagine how sad I was that the best stage was the shortest. It was big berms and gap jumps that got progressively bigger, the last one being about 10 or 12 ft. I hucked my sh*t but got a little out of control in one corner and lost some precious seconds. Stage 3 was longer, about 8 minutes, and definitely my second favourite. It had some tricky punchy climbs over some rocks and a section of loose dusty corners that were tough to nail at speed. Oregon is a dry, dusty place and so a lot of corners on the course got pretty blown out over the course of the weekend. Stage 4 featured the most uphill, it took about 10 minutes to ride. There were a couple of straight-aways where I found myself spinning in my biggest gear...that doesn't happen much in B.C.! By the time I crossed the line on the last stage I was spent.
|Here we are getting in trouble from a Safeway worker for taking pictures. Apparently it's not allowed.|
When we found out that some of the motels in Bend were only 45 bucks a night we opted to spend a night in a real bed with a real shower and some wifis. We were pretty dusty after two days of riding and it seemed like a more restful option. Also, as a bonus, it allowed us to get up early and watch the Val de Sol WC on my android phone in bed. It doesn't get much better than that.
|Motivational signage in Bend.|
|Post race stout and sandwich. Yum.|
Overall I was pleased with my result. I learned a lot from the race and can now see what elements I must include in my strategy and race script for enduro races in the future. The best parts about finally being done racing were Dechutes Obsidian Stout, getting told off by the burrito truck guy for eating a ham sandwhich instead of one of his burritos, and having to change all my clothes before the drive home because they were soaked in champange :)
|Pro Men's Podium|
|Pro Women's Podium|