This last weekend was a blast at the first CES of the year! Not only was it race weekend, but it was my birthday weekend so my parents, sister, brother inlaw and nephew were all in town which added to the fun.
Leading up to the race the dirt was super dry and loose every time we would practice, but day of…..it was so good! We woke up and realized it had rained the night before and it was still super foggy and doing the fog rain thing it does here so the dirt was on point. We got to the venue nice and early so we could get a good parking spot on the grass, we were 3rd in line behind the CES crew, so we got a super star spot to set up camp.
The pros/experts got to start on the DH courses first, so with my jacket on we headed over to the first stage Barlow. For this being my local course, the DH courses I know the least because they aren’t open trails except for during the race. My goal on these stages was to minimize mistakes and stay up right because the corners are LOOSE! I made it down the first DH Stage with little mistakes, but felt a little slow on the loose turns. I was stoked that the pro men put in some nice lines for us. Next we headed up to the 2nd stage, which was Bessie DH #2, this one is one of my favorites because it’s fast and flowy! Again, made it down without any mistakes.
Next we headed over to the other side of the mountain. These next 3 stages were my favorite even though they have a lot of pedaling! We started with Meyers loop first, I felt really good on this stage. I nailed all of my lines and rode super smooth.
Next we pedaled up to Rail Trail, which is another favorite of mine. We had quite a line to wait in at this stage and as it got closer for us to go we thought we heard some cow sounds. I thought, no it must be people watching at the corner with some cow horns or something….little did I know I was COMPLETELY WRONG!! As you may or not know, I am terrified of cows. Stupid, but totally true! They are so big and as my favorite National Geographic Explorer Mireya Mayor loves to remind me, more people are killed by cows in the US than sharks world wide!!! So it was my turn to go and I get a few seconds off the start and around the corner is a group of HUGE COWS!!! I see a baby cow on the trail on the left side and the mother presumably on the right side, I slowed down not knowing where to go because I was basically going to have to go in between them….I heard some guys yell, “Go, Bri, just pedal through!”. So I thought shit, here I go…so I started pedaling super hard to try to avoid the mom and as I pedaled at her, she started charging me! I was screaming bloody murder and had to go off the trail almost into a tree to miss getting trampled by her. Needless to say, I ALMOST DIED!!!! I had to tell my self to focus and get my shit back together to finish the stage. I did, but it wasn’t easy!! I didn’t care that the cow chased me and cost me time, I was just SO HAPPY to be alive!! LOL I’m pretty sure everyone at the finish line was laughing at me because I was so worked up from it!! I hope that NEVER happens again on a race stage!!
The last stage of the day was Pipeline, and I knew it was going to be tough for a couple of reasons. 1, because it’s a long stage with a lot of places to make mistakes and 2, because we had a long day of climbing. Pipeline is a very narrow single track with a drop on one side and an up hill on the other, so there is no room for error! I was also a little nervous because I had a stupid crash the weekend before on it and that’s never fun remembering the crash! (See my instagram @brilikesbikes for the video of the crash) I knew all I had to do on this stage was keep it up right, slow was going to be the new fast on this one. I started out pedaling super hard and got into my flow, as I came around the turns I started to see all of the skid marks off the trail so I kept telling myself to take it easy and look ahead. I came around the first blind turn and half of the trail was gone from people missing the turn, I immediately slowed down so I didn’t go off of any of the corners. It wasn’t my fastest times on Pipeline, but it was for sure the safest. It was worth not crashing or making any mistakes!
I felt pretty good with the day, I did what I thought was good enough for the podium. When the results came out I was stoked to land in 2nd place. Essence had a good lead, but the rest of us were really close on time. I was so happy that my family was there to celebrate with me, and my nephew Sterling was so excited to be around all of the bikes! Brian ended up kicking ass and won his class and had a pretty good time overall!!! Nothing is better than racing bikes with the love of your life along with friends and family!
Huge shout out to my sponsors! I love my Canyon Strive so much, it’s such a great bike for a race like this with a ton of pedaling, but some good downhills where the suspension is needed. I feel like I can climb all day on this bike! My DNA Cycling jersey is on point this year, and my nephew looks good in it too!! California Enduro Series for having the best race community out there. Skratch Labs always keeps me fueled during the race, in fact, I handed my dad a bag of chews to give me at the end of the stage and when I asked him for them he said he ate them, DAD!!!! Smith Optics, KMC, G-Form, Grifall Family Chiro, Sweet Protection, Twin Six, thanks for all the support!