Lessons learned from the early season

It's early April, and I've already raced 12 races. Twelve races! It's awesome!

After my car fiasco and my first race at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, I headed south to Texas to prepare for Mellow Johnny's, the first round of the Pro XCT. I stayed with friends, the Bond family, in San Antonio and that weekend raced the TMBRA Hill Country Challenge in Comfort, Texas. I won Saturday's enduro (which was really more of a super D since it was only one stage and took less than five minutes), and the next day Tristan Uhl and I battled it out in the cross country. We took turns leading the race for two hours and he eventually beat me by half a wheel in a sprint to the finish line. It was a great race.

The next weekend was Mellow Johnny's, and I went into the race hoping to get some UCI points. I had a great start, moving into the top 15 by the end of the start lap, and was feeling strong when I heard the terrible sound of air escaping from a tire. My tire. I pulled to the side of the course and tried to re-inflate my tire with a CO2 hoping that the hole was small enough to seal.

In hindsight I should have known better. I should have realized that if the hole hadn't sealed immediately, it wasn't going to, and I should have just put in a tube. Instead, I used my only Big Air trying to inflate it, realized it wasn't going to seal and then started running. I ran for about five minutes before another racer who had gotten caught up in a crash tossed me a CO2 as he passed. I stopped, put in a tube, and started trying to catch the rest of the field. I rode as hard as I could for the next two and a half laps, and then flatted a second time. This time because I hadn't filled the tube up enough and pinch-flatted it on a rough section. At that point, I got passed by the race leaders and slowly made my way to the finish line to finish one lap down. Okay, I thought to myself, that was too light a tire for the trail. Lesson learned.

The next day was the Mellow Johnny's Cat. 1/Open race, and I learned another important lesson, make sure you know how many laps you're doing before you start the race. Otherwise you might think you're finished a lap early, stop for a couple of minutes, lose three spots and look like a complete fool. Not that I'm speaking from experience.

From there, it was back to Arizona for the MBAA Hedgehog Hustle, which I won, a clinic with AZ Devo and then on to California. I raced the second stop of the Pro XCT at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California and finished fifth, 10th and 15th in the super D, short track and cross country, respectively. And then I realized how tired I was. It seems that racing nine races over five weekends, combined with a lot of solo driving, had taken a toll. So I spent the next two weeks recovering and hanging out with Syd, who had flown out for her spring break. We hiked, went to the beach, cooked, watched Disney-Pixar movies and rode. It was great.

Then this past weekend, I raced the third Pro XCT at Southridge Park in Fontana. I finished one spot better in the cross country (14th) and made podium appearances in both the short track (fifth) and the super D (third). I also finished third in the Fontana Triple Crown (a combination of results from cross country and the better of either short track or super D for any riders who raced all three events). Syd was still on break, so she came out to support and kept me smiling throughout the short track by yelling things like "You're so hot right now" every time I passed her. My coach, Adam Pulford, also came to the race but didn't mention anything about how I looked in spandex.

Now I'm off to ride with the Laguna RADS (Google them) in preparation for my first real enduro of the season this coming weekend!

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Mountain bike racer Macky Franklin hails from Taos, New Mexico but has a difficult time answering the question "Where do you live?" Spending most of his time on the road chasing summer or traveling to race he generally answers "my little orange car".

After holding a cross country pro's license for six years, in 2014, he will be focusing on enduro. Read this blog to follow Franklin throughout the 2014 season as he races four of the seven Enduro World Series races, Inca Avalanche, the whole Big Mountain Enduro series, Downieville and the Kamikaze Games.

When Franklin was 13 and learning to ride clipless pedals, he was given the "Turtle Award" as the rider who spent the most time on his back, still connected to the bike. Fortunately, he has moved past that stage and is now focusing his energies on learning to corner like a downhiller.

Visit his website at www.mackyfranklin.com (opens in new tab).