As soon as the schedule was announced I circled the event thinking that the Enduro Cup in Moab would be a great early season test for myself and my bike. I actually committed to the full 3 race series in anticipation of the Canyons Enduro that is apart of the NAET series and another venue that is TBD. Since coming back from NZ I haven't gotten as much ride time as I would have liked due to a lengthy winter that dumped snow on me so I went into this race knowing that I may be at a slight disadvantage due to the lack of saddle time, but I would treat it as a training weekend and also a great opportunity to gauge myself against the rest of the competition.
Team Geronimo's mechanic John Hartmann and I made our way out from Carbondale Colorado to the dry, sandy desert of Moab, Utah. Moab is definitely a major mountain bike destination that I have been to a lot, but I was extremely excited to be riding trails that I have yet to explore. The race took place up Gemini Bridges Road and there was a grand looking start/finish line and rider village that greeted us Friday afternoon. I came out a day early to do a pre-ride on the different segments to see what the fallowing day had in store and after riding at a party pace I realized that it was going to be a very physical race day. The race course was broken up into 4 race stages and 9 stages in total counting transfer roads and connector trails. The course started at the Magnificent 7 trailhead and would take races along Upper and Lower Bull Run that overlooked massive canyons and slick rock playgrounds. The terrain was very undulating with a lot of steep pitchy climbs. This portion of the trail composed segment 1 and 2, section 3 was Arth's Corner that started at another small trail hub that also encompassed the start of Great Escape and segment 4. In general all timed segments were between 1.5-2 miles long, but they were extremely rough and tough on mind, body and bike.
A crack of the dawn shotgun 7:30 start saw us off and up the first transfer road to Bull Run and the first timed segment. Being from a gravity background, rubbing elbows with the likes of JHK, Ross Schnell and many other shaved legged high posters I felt a bit out of my element as we party paced in a large peloton. I knew that strategy was going to play a role in how my performance would shake out, but I wasn't set on one going into the race so I changed it on the fly depending on how I was feeling. After racing a strong first stage I shook out the legs and started stage 2 almost immediately after as I was feeling good. The second stage was more anaerobic and since racers had the choice of when they would like to go I made a full recovery before lining up for stage 3. Stage 3 was tough, but I had enough in the tank to really go for it on stage 4 and the final race segment. The majority of the trails required a strong focus on vision, looking ahead was key as trying to ride em at 100% was tough proposition. It was a balancing act for me trying to keep it pinned but still on the trail as the slickrock was flanked on both sides by tire grabbing sand. It was a very unique race and something that I've never really been apart of before. The vibe like most enduro's was very laid back, but once I heard that starting beep it was full on for around a total of 25 minutes of combined race time in just under 7 miles.
I never really found my rhythm and was still testing some bike setup, but I was incredibly consistent posting a 9th, 10th, 12th and 13th in the 4 stages for a respectable 9th Place overall in a pretty stacked field of extremely talented riders and a former Olympian.