It’s already Tuesday but seems like the race was a couple hours ago. Well, let’s say it was more like a ride. I have hard time to believe we rode between a low 18 and 28 degrees for 30 miles, because it was cold. Like really cold.
This race is already kind of an experience on its own. No trees, nothing, just endless field with a sneaky trail going up and down around a canyon. Some birds. Some rocks and it’s dry like a desert. The silense is kind of scary, when you come from Portland, it’s definitely weird to face nothing but the sound of the wind. Just this weird vibration of the wind in my left ear. It makes the whole place surrealist. The landscape reminds me of a painting by Dali, somewhere between something really organic and the weirdness of a dream, the same field as far as the skyline — the infinity of repetition.
Yes, it’s what I’m thinking when I ride my bike.
I can hear those Oregonian saying “it’s no bad weather, only bad gear." Ok champions, remember you are made of 80% of water and so as far as I know, water freezes. Like my face. Yes, this lady on the start line with goggles was about right. But we started and did it with our regular old California radarlock Oakley. It might have take us 2h50 to lap those 30 miles but at the time of the year, I always think, whatever how, just do it, it's better than nothing.
Yes, we I did give him my tube. One of the three I have with me.
Abby send it to me this morning from the OBRA list:
I wanted to compliment the racers out at Echo today. Every pass was courteous, all the attacks were aggressive but safe, and a super rad racer gave me her tube when my spare utterly failed me. And to top it all off, the executive director of OBRA drove all the way from Salem to volunteer and take photos. Thanks to all for making it another rad season opener.
Well, you are welcome Eric, I appreciate your note.
It’s true that there is always a good spirit at this race, also, in Oregon and OBRA races in general. People are somewhere between being fit and competing but also wanting to have fun, which is to me the most important part.
We were seriously 15 miles away and he was just pushing his bike. I have been on this situation and it’s baaaaaaad. Also, I was riding with a Camelback and pretty much all the tools I could find in the garage including 3 tubes. Never not cautious.
I was worried to be by myself out there and have a problem. Which can happen while mountain biking. I thought it was a smart move for Abby and I to stick together. Just to prevent the end of our lives frozen while being eaten by wild foxes. Can happen, you never know, it’s really Oregon.
This is Abby wrote about the race:
First off, what’s with the Red to Red portion of the name of this race? I need to figure that out before next year.
I always do this race as a kind of early season catalyst to get into shape and as a way to ride some dry trails in (typically) sunny and warm eastern Oregon. All previous years I’ve done this race, it’s been in short sleeves and I’ve come away with a bit of sunburn. That is always a welcome feeling in March, and reason enough to make the drive from Portland.
This year, however, things were different. In the week leading up to the race, the forecast called for a high of 23 and a low of 18. UGH. I tried to ignore it, with little luck. I’ve never raced a MTB in weather like that and dreaded the thought of having a mechanical or a flat out there with no tree cover in those temperatures. So, as race day approached and I readied my all mountain Trek Remedy for an XC race, I may have taken some measures to avoid flats that wound up working against me.
Mango hubs and sweet STAN's wheels. time to put some dirt on those! follow @chriskingbuzz on instagram for all their last fresh news!
I just got new wheels with flashy mango Chris King hubs and Stan’s rims so I finally have my bike setup tubeless again (YES). When I inflated my tires, I may have kept things a little on the firm side (in my mind, as a way to insure against getting flats). I also messed with my suspension a bit, adding some air since it’s been sitting a while and thinking that, if anything, I wanted my bike to ride a little stiff. These were moves I later came to regret during the race.
I really expected I would have to chase Abby going down or flat as it’s really bumpy and wait for her on the hills. Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with us, but her 28 pounds full suspension bike didn’t have any problem to keep up going up while I was waiting on the technical section. It didn’t make any sense as I was riding a 20 pounds carbon 29’ and she is usually fearless when we go shred at Sandy. Sometime life doesn’t follow rules and it’s great.
So, day of the race, Julie and I set off to Echo in her new car. Heated seats, talk of Omloops (which Julie has raced, that’s so awesome), some big horn sheep sightings in the cliffs along the highway, a breakfast burrito, and the 3-hour drive passed quickly. We got setup, decided on kit, packed plenty of extra clothes, ate some final snacks and setoff for the start line. It was cold, but not that windy, and I felt okay about just setting a sustainable pace and trying to have some fun on the descents and doing my best on the climbs. The race started and we rolled out through town and along a road for a few miles before turning into a gravel road. At this point, a few girls went off the front, never to be seen again, and Julie and I settled into a tempo-like pace. We hit the first climb, passing a guy on a unicycle that started 10 minutes before us (I know.) and started rolling along some singletrack with great dirt. I double-checked my fork to make sure the dial was open and not locked out; it was open, but my bike felt too stiff. Oops.
The combination of a little additional air in the fork and a little extra air in the tires was not one of my best decisions; it made the front end of my bike feel like a jackhammer to my shoulders and took a lot of the fun out of the downhill sections. No big deal I thought; the trails are dry, I am warm enough, I’ve got some snacks, and I get to spend the day on my MTB. From there, the race actually passed pretty quickly. I felt okay and the riding was beautiful (no surprises there, either on fitness or scenery). I felt lucky all-day; lucky for some new equipment (that I need to setup better), lucky for dry weather (even if it’s cold), and for some truly excellent riding and racing company. I have things to improve on, and lots to learn from Julie, but I’m really excited for more riding and racing this season!
I’m glad we know now we have to keep Abby away from the pit and the mechanic area, especially everything which involve air pressure for the enduro races coming!!!!