Well, that's a wrap.
As of last weekend, my 2013 season is officially over. Here are some race stats:
Race weekends - 21
Race days - 41
Average place - 14.98th place
Best place - 1st
Worst place - 47th (not including one DNF)
States raced in - 8 (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, California, Texas)
And year-to-date riding stats:
Miles ridden - 3,300
Hours ridden - 318
Feet climbed - 403,428
And some other stats:
Miles driven - 20,000
States driven through - 18 (Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Maryland, Nevada)
Nights of lodging paid for - 3
Cacti (physically) encountered - 1
Photo shoots - 5
Visits to Moab - 3
Games of Bananagrams - 25
Honey Stinger chews consumed - 10,000 (approximation)
It was a great season. As mentioned above, I raced 21 individual weekends. My first race was February 16th, and the last was October 12th. That's a time frame of 35 weekends. So I essentially raced two out of every three weekends for the past eight months. And I loved it. I got to race cross country, super D, short track, enduro, marathon, stage and 24-hour races. But there were so many cool races that I had to skip some. 21 race weekends wasn't enough. And it's only going to get worse. With the growth of events like Breck Epic, the Whiskey Off-Road and the Big Mountain Enduro Series, we're going to have even more choices in the next couple of years. That's a pretty cool problem to have.
My last two races were the Big Mountain Enduro finals in Moab, Utah and the Santa Cruz Super Enduro. Moab was, as always, a blast. I got to ride the new Pivot Mach 6 and fell in love with it. It had all the snappiness of a small-wheeled bike and the stability at speed of a big-wheeled bike. In my opinion, the perfect enduro race bike. Unfortunately, I had to give it back to Pivot because it was one of only three large frames in the US, and they needed it for Outerbike the next weekend.
The race itself was also a blast. Three stages on the Magnificent 7 Trails on Saturday, followed by two stages on the Whole Enchilada on Sunday. The top of the Whole Enchilada was covered in snow and the first stage was icy and fun. Unfortunately, I had a bad mechanical on the second stage of the Whole Enchilada, which cost me almost 20 minutes and took me out of the running in the overall. But I still got to race on some of the coolest, most epic trails in the world, so it's hard to complain.
The Santa Cruz Super Enduro was, well, super. The trails were fast and smooth with tight turns and cool optional jumps. Total race time for the winner was just over 20 minutes after three stages of racing. I finished 17th, not to bad for being the only non-California racer in the pro category. And after the race they provided dinner and screened two mountain bike movies, "Arrival" and "Not Bad", which was a great way to relax after the race.
I learned a lot about racing enduro this year and a lot about my own strengths and weaknesses. Admittedly, there were some rough spots this season due to mechanicals, burnout and injuries. But that's a different story that I'll save for another post.
Instead, I'd like to thank everyone who made this year amazing. Thank you to the race promoters, race staff and volunteers who ran the incredible events, all of the people who let me crash on their floors/couches/extra beds and all of my fellow competitors. Thank you to my family and friends for their support, guidance and for believing in me. Thank you to my partner in crime, the lovely Syd Schulz, for making sure I don't take myself too seriously. And thank you to my sponsors, without whom none of this would have been possible. I'd like to mention them all, but instead, let me put it this way. If you're ever wondering which beer, bike, tire, brakes, grips, bag, rack, helmet, power meter, bike stand, speakers, gel, drink mix, coaching, bike wear, water bottle, peanut butter or sunscreen to buy, I should be able to point you in the right direction.
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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.
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