GO time!! The first race of the Enduro season kicked off this past weekend in Bend, Oregon. This was rd 1 of the Oregon Enduro series and also doubled as rd 1 of the North American Enduro Tour (N.A.E.T.).
It has been a long process to get back to this weekend’s race and after the debacle of 2011 and i was more than excited to get back into racing and finally sink my teeth into this new Enduro format of mountain biking! Life had also finally settled down in Vancouver after Lisa and i found a more permanent place to live, sussed out the local area and sorted out the best chocolate milkshake in town. I have been able to get some solid consistent training under my belt and also threw the ‘Nimby fifty’ XC race in too to open the legs up and burn out the lungs in preparation for rd1.
The Nimby was a brutal race to say the least! The temps were nice and hot and it was wicked to race in the sunshine and heat again after getting use to the wet and cold in van. It was held in Pemberton, BC. A 2 ish hour drive from Vancouver up the sea to sky highway and by the time we got into town, it boasted some scenery that made you feel like you had just driven all the way to Champery, Switzerland! Nestled in under the snow capped mountains, this course had some brutally hard climbs and kinda gnarly descents that required 100% concentration at all times.
I was pretty happy with how i felt and rolled in for 8th overall and absolutely spent! The chilled atmosphere post race, and beers and burgers to celebrate made the whole feel of the event awesome and left everyone with a positive take on the weekend.
Next stop was Bend, Oregon. For the brief few days i spent in town in 2011 for the ‘Blitz to the Barrel’, i was excited to head back there and get my shred on to see where my speed and form was at for the first race of the season. We were able to check the track out all day Thursday and Friday and lucky enough to have a good crew around to shuttle back up to the top with. There were 5 stages on offer with 4 of them being spread out on Saturday and the fifth and final deciding stage on Sunday. The stages were short, fast and super pedally! The shortest of Saturday being a touch over 2mins and the longest being around the 8min mark.
I felt pretty good on the track and my GIANT Trance was awesome! Come race time i felt pretty good and i was flooded with excitement, nerves and questions leading into my 11.19am start time. It started off with a 10min transition stage before the 1st race stage. It was a pretty cool set up and with a super high quality pro field, the competition was gonna be tight as! With names like Adam Craig, Carl Decker, Brian Lopes, Curtis Keene and so on, and so on. Hard to name everyone coz there were so many amazing riders!
I started well and made sure to ride more on the conservative side to make sure i finished every stage, and also to make sure i didn’t blow my whole season within the first 7 mins of racing.
First stage done, safe smooth and reasonably fast. 4th place.
1st- Adam Craig- 6min51.5
2nd- Lars Sternberg- 6min57.2
3rd-Brian Lopes- 6min59.0
4th me- 6min 59.4secs
A short pedal back and a shuttle to the top and onto stage 2 after another short transition stage. Stage 2 was awesome! super short, full of double jumps and nice banked berms and short aggressive pedally sections. With some rain overnight ALL the tracks were in optimus prime condition!
Stage 2- 3rd place by .1 of a second!
1st Brian Lopes-2min12.5
2nd Adam Craig- 2min12.7
3rd Me- 2min12.8
As the stages went on, they began to get more and more pedally and stage 3 was just as fun as it was hard!
Stage 3-3rd place
1st Adam Craig- 6min44.
2nd Brian Lopes- 6min57.5
3rd Me- 7min02.5
The final stage 4 for Saturday was probably the most pedally of them all with a few short little climbs mixed amongst the shredding also. All the stages seemed to flow into one another reasonably well and provided enough time to recover in between and prepare for the next smash fest! No one had any idea of how they were standing in the overall or what our times were so it was a matter of laying it all down without crashing and see how goes it!
Stage 4- 2nd place
1st- Carl Decker- 7min 56secs
2nd- Me- 8min00.8
3rd- Brian Lopes- 8min02.9
This last stage hurt like hell i made sure i pedalled my guts out to make up as much time as possible! As the results turned out, i ended Saturday in 3rd overall. 3 seconds behind Lopes and 9 seconds behind Adam. Happy days!
With times so close i was super excited for Sunday! The pro men didn’t get started until late Sunday arvo, so it gave me a bit of time to have a practice run of the track and relax until race time. Stage 5 was the longest of the weekend with times expected around the 20min mark. I was feeling way better on Sunday then i did heading into Saturday’s races and i was frothing to make back as much time as possible on the top 2 guys. Once again, i focussed on being smooth and pedalling hard as possible! This worked out a treat and i felt great throughout my race run. I finished the stage a spent unit!! I thought my eyes were gonna pop out of my head or i was going to faint after crossing the line but in the end, it was worth it.
Stage 5- 2nd place.
1st Adam Craig- 17min56
2nd Me- 18min 14
3rd Carl Decker- 18min18
4th Brian Lopes- 18min30
Pro mens podium-rd1 Bend
I finished the weekend in 2nd place overall and super stoked on the weekends racing! With such a quality pro field and wicked weekend of racing, i was pumped to get 2nd and start the race season off on a positive note.
Thank you to everyone’s kind words of encouragement and support! It means alot and I’m very appreciative of your interest in my racing. It makes it all the more exciting when i get to share the journey with you. Bring on rd 2!
Keep in touch with Josh through his site http://www.joshcarlson.com.au of which this report is a excerpt. Get on there and support one of Australia’s best mountainbikers!