Last weekend was the Beezley Burn mountain bike stage race that consisted of a short track on Saturday and an XC on sunday, both held in the town of Ephrata, WA. The short track showed a largish pro/open field of 16 riders at the start line. The pancake flat 30 minute race around Oasis Park started out hot and never let up. Not used to that kind of intensity yet this year, it was a sudden shock to the system for sure. Spencer Paxson, the Kona Factory Team Rider/US National Team member, and Russell Stevenson(CyclingNorthwest) gapped Kevin Bradford Parish(Emde Sports) and I about ten minutes into the race. Kevin and I chased but Spencer and Russ were definately not coming back. On the final lap, former Benaroya racer Troy Heithecker (visiting from Colorado) nearly caught Kevin and I before being held back by lapped traffic. Kevin had a strong kick in the final straightaway and outsprinted me for 3rd.
Spencer, Russ, Kevin, and yours truly.
In the cross country on Sunday, we faced four laps of a challenging 8 mile course featuring mostly singletrack. The trails were primarily of the fast and flowy flavor, but were often littered with rocks and loose dirt. It was no surprise that a lot of riders flatted because the course demanded a lot of precision when navigating the rocks, especially when fatigued. Check out my previous post for a video of the long downhill section of the course to get a good idea of the type of riding.
Stretching the elastic before the singletrack. (http://www.beezleyburn.com)
The cross country started out a little more relaxed than the short track, but as soon as we hit the first climb, the field strung out. As we entered the first singletrack at the top of the climb, Spencer was pulling away from Russ, Kevin, and me. Taking turns leading different sections, the three of us chased relentlessly but Spencer was just too strong. He never seemed to get more than a minute ahead, but we still failed to close the gap.
I made the front cover of the Grant County Journal!
On the 3rd lap, Russ pulled away from Kevin and me on the descent. Now a battle for 3rd, Kevin and I were both aware that whoever placed 3rd in the XC would be 3rd overall(if a tie, XC weighted higher than ST). On the final lap I was able to attack enough into the singletrack to build a lead over Kevin that I was able to hold to the finish. 3rd in the XC and 3rd overall and the season is off to a good start!
Another newspaper article: here