I love Moab. And I love racing. So when I heard that the first race of the Enduro Cup series was going to be in Moab, you can imagine how determined I was to attend it.
So after the Whiskey Off-Road, I loaded up the Rockmelon yet again (you’d be amazed how much that car can hold) and headed to Moab. Seven hours later, I pulled into the Lazy Lizard hostel and headed to bed.
Over the next four days, I rode some of my favorite Moab trails (Amasaback, Captain Ahab, Jackson's, Rockstacker, Pothole Arch), pre-rode the Magnificent 7 trails (the race course) twice and did a Slickrock Trail photo shoot with Daniel Dunn. I did both pre-rides with Daniel Dunn and Krista Park, and the second time Heather Irmiger and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski joined us.
We had a great time goofing off and practicing tough spots, and I'm really glad I saw the course before I raced it. While it wasn't too technical, there were some surprising five-second climbs that killed your speed if you weren't in the correct gear, and it helped to have ridden the sandy corners a few times before I raced on them.
For some reason though, I didn't wear my POC knee pads on the pre-rides and thoroughly regretted that decision after I washed out in a sandy corner and got some rock burn on my knee. I also learned the hard way not to get too close to trees. After these intimate reunions with the ground, I decided to focus on being smooth instead of being fast. Not only am I less likely to crash when I do this, but I'm also usually faster.
The race was broken into four stages: Upper Bull Run, Lower Bull Run, Arth's Corner and Great Escape. They were all quite short (between five and seven minutes) and had a lot of pedaling for enduro stages, which suited me just fine. The thing that was the hardest for me was not knowing how I was doing. Because we started in one-minute intervals and there was no way to get the results from each stage to a central location until everyone had ridden all four stages, I had no way of knowing my results. I just had to ride as hard as I could and hope that I was faster than everyone else. Which I wasn't. But I was close.
While we were waiting for results to be posted, I hung out with everyone at the finish enjoying some Santa Fe Brewing brews, eating the complimentary hot dogs and hamburgers and swapping stories. It was the first time my whole team, Santa Fe Brewing - Pivot Cycles, had been in the same place at the same time since we had become a team, so we took some photos and admired our matching Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon race bikes.
When results were posted, I learned that I finished third in the first two stages, fourth in the third and fifth in the final stage, which put me in third overall with a total time of 25:11.9, 26.2 seconds behind Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (second) and 39.5 seconds behind Ross Schnell (first). I was stoked!
After the excitement of the past fe weeks, I'm taking a bit of a break from racing to get in some training. And I'm excited for enduro racing to come to my backyard with the Angel Fire Big Mountain Enduro in mid-June. Hope to see you there!
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.
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