Race report by Steven Nadaskai, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team.
California Enduro Series Race #4: Ashland, Oregon/ Jr. Expert Under 18
With this race being my second California Enduro Series race, I knew I had signed up for a challenge.
We set off to Oregon on Wednesday afternoon, only to get there at around 12am and still having to set up the tents and camp. After getting some sleep, we took the day to practice stages 3 and 4. These were the two stages that we had to get shuttled up on. Once we starting riding down, we all heard a loud....BANG. From there on we finished practice in pouring rain and in some spots, hail. Surprisingly the rain didn't make the dirt muddy. Instead it made it extremely tacky and just amazing.
As Friday came, we were able to fit in another practice day. This day was a little bit different though. We shuttled stages 3 and 4 with no rain, but only extreme amounts of stoke. Once setting off to climb 3700 feet to stages 1 and 2, that's when the rain kicked in. Two of my teammates (Ben and Chris) and myself ended up climbing the full climb in pouring rain, taking about 2 hours. Then once at the top we rode both stages in pouring rain also. The experience of riding in that type of weather was insane and was truly memorable.
As my alarm rang Saturday morning, I knew that it was going to be a long day from the get-go. For the race, the pros/experts were set to do stages 3 and 4 first while the sport/beginner were doing stages 1 and 2. At the top of stage 3, the nerves started to kick in along with the adrenaline. Not to mention the Jr. Experts were the first riders to go even before the Pros. I ended up being the second rider down stage 3 and to say the least, it felt like a dream being able to go all out on such amazing trails.
After finishing up stages 3 and 4 with no major mistakes, only huge smile of excitement on my face, we set off to climb up to stage 1 and 2. This climb was a long and painful 3700-foot climb which took a big toll on my legs. Once getting to the top of stage 1, my legs were toasted but the best I could do was take some shot blocks and finish the last two stages. With fairly toasted legs, I ended up pretty clean down both stages 1 and 2. I was happy I didn't have any huge mistakes but I had some small ones which cost me a good amount.
I ended up finishing 6th out 11 in Jr. Expert, battling against some of the fastest juniors in California. With finishing 6th, I was 1 second off of 5th place. And that's 1 second out of 28 minutes of overall race time. Plus 4th place (My teammate, Danny) was only 7 seconds ahead. It was a tight race but I know I'm definitely in contention now. Knowing I've improved a little, i have to step it up if I really want to see that top 5 finish.
I would truly like to thank The Path Bike Shop, Lou Mollineda, Tani Walling, Redmonkey Sports, Kenda Tires, Acumed Acupuncture, and everyone else supporting my journeys. Thank you and Ride on!