With the absence of Kona rider Spencer Paxson at this year's race, I knew I had a good shot at the win. I decided to take the race by the reigns and really hammer up the first climb before the singletrack. Gian Dalle, Troy Heithecker, Kevin Bradford-Parish, and Garett Heitman stayed with me through the rolling sage-brush singletrack until the course turned upwards. I pushed hard into the descent and my Racing Ralphs gripped tenaciously on the dry dirt and rocks. By the bottom of the downhill, it was only Garett Heitman (Clif Bar) and myself. Garett took a long pull along the dike into the wind and I was finally able to catch my breath a bit. Garett and I hammered the 2nd lap, with Kevin and Troy only 20 seconds back most of the time. Garett's long riding history and experience showed in how well he could rail the downhill sections. Super impressive.
By the 3rd and final lap, we had extended our lead to a comfortable amount and I knew the race would be won by either Garett or myself. I pushed extra hard in a rocky, bumpy climbing section, using full suspension to my advantage. It was enough to pull away from Garett, but the gap remained small into the descent. I rallied hard, but Garett was still closing in on me! Fortunately I had enough of a lead that I could hang on into the finish for the win. Garett rode super strong and smooth. I smell a comeback.
|Photo courtesy of Vicious Cycles.|
Beezley Burn delivered the goods once again. Jake from Vicious Cycles does such a great of job putting on events. He had free food, drinks, and a raffle for everyone afterwards. The atmosphere was so much fun that everyone actually wanted to stay for all of the awards. Now I have to figure out how I can work 5 out of 6 of his races into my calender.