The Red Canyon Enduro kicked off the 2024 TSCEC & BJEC enduro series’. It was 65 miles of varying West Texas terrain that challenged every level of enduro racer. Enjoy the race recap, and get involved in the comments.
This first enduro was a co-sanctioned event between TSCEC (Texas State Championship Enduro Circuit) and BJEC (Black Jack Enduro Circuit). It was also a restart format, meaning we only needed to worry about checking in and out of checks, and then transferring down the trail in a timely manner. As far as an enduro format goes, it was a simple day. If was rather rude of them to start the day with an 11.5 mile test, but that’s part of racing.
I registered on row 29 so I could have a few moments being pulled by Cole Kirkpatrick. He is a multi-time TSCEC Champion, and past National Enduro Competitor. He still has crazy speed, and is one to watch to learn from. I was very surprised at the speed I did have on the bike at the beginning of the day. The terrain wasn’t too difficult, allowing me to find a flow state that balanced between speed and aggression.
During the third test I clipped my handlebar, and clutch lever, on a tree. From that moment on, my clutch pull never felt the same. It would pump up, becoming extremely difficult to pull. As the terrain got more difficult, the bike started acting like the clutch was engaging and disengaging randomly. This caused excessive wear on my left forearm, and sporadic moments on the bike. Yes, there is a chance I was just getting more tired as the day wore on, but I don’t believe this was the only factor.
The ravines, drop-offs, and climbs we were sent over in test four through six were really fun pieces of trail. I wish I had had a bit more energy, and that my bike had felt like it did earlier so that I could attack them a bit better. Regardless of how I felt, the single track we rode was bitching.
The learnings I’m taking away from the Red Canyon enduro have to do with enduro nutrition and mindset. I didn’t consume enough calories during the race day. I underestimated by abilities and speed, so the pace I was keeping throughout the earlier part of the day used up more energy than I planned for. I’ll play with adding more UCAN Energy Gels throughout the day on top of my planned nutrition.
When it comes to my mindset, I need to continue to work through pulling the “mental tear off”. I was completely rattled after the wreck in Test 4 chasing Cole. It was a strange feeling, but it zapped me mentally, which then zapped me physically. I have to work on letting go what has occurred. It’s in the past and can no longer affect what happens in the future, unless I let it. I’ll also try to keep myself from making up stories, as I found myself doing that a bit during and after Test 4.
The positives I can take away really do outweigh the negatives that I can learn from. I have found my racer headspace again, which has allowed me to start tapping back into my racer speed. I warmed up really well before the start of the race; I didn’t feel any moment of arm pump or sore shoulders. I also was pinching the bike a lot with my legs, and standing up more in sections I used to find myself sitting. There’s still room for improvement, but that’s the fun of the constant battle of racing and competition.
If it all works out, Liam and I will be at the Sandwinder Enduro, which is a TSCEC event, and then I’ll be at the second round of BJEC, the Cross Timbers Enduro. Sandwinder is a hoot, though I’m admittedly much slower there in the wide open sand sections. Cross Timbers Enduro, in OKC, is much more my speed with the red clay and the tighter, twisty wood sections.
I finished 37th Overall and 5th in the 40+ A class. Now that I’m a week removed from the event, I am damn proud of that result. I also know there is a lot more in the tank as I get more seat time, focusing on the things I need to focus on.