The 2024 Cross Timbers Enduro is the second race of the Black Jack Enduro Championship. It’s held on the OHV Trails around Stanley Draper Lake in Oklahoma City. It’s fast, it’s flowy, and it leaves red dirt on your gear and bike for the rest of it’s life.

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I was on row 28 with Zach Ingram and Gage Alexander. I’ve been enjoying being mixed in with the regional AA racers because of the pace they carry. As you saw at Red Canyon Enduro, if I can lock into a flow state, I can carry a quick pace. It’s when I get in my head and overthink the trail and bike that issues arise. That’s the mental side of racing that I wanted to talk about; Expect Adversity.

Expect Adversity

The concept of expecting adversity is helpful because it sets the playing field that there is no such thing as perfect. As enduro racers, we don’t know what the trail ahead has in store for us. So we shouldn’t create a story in our head that we won’t make mistakes, and that we’re never going to falter. If we prepare ourselves mentally that problems can arise, we’re more prepared for them when they do.

When I hit that tree in the second test section, I felt my confidence collapse. I had done it again. I was keeping up, carrying a fast pace, but that pace was challenging and I was overriding. For a mistake to happen at that pace for me makes complete sense, and I shouldn’t have been expecting perfection. As I picked myself up off the ground and grabbed the bike, I started reminding myself that mistakes happen, and it’s ok that it happened to you. I needed to “pull the mental tear off” and start moving forward again, not living in the past. 

My bars were mangled, so I did have to take another quick stop to straighten them out. By this point row 29 was on me, which again, is expected since I took a dirt sample that took awhile to recover from. The A Open racer on row 29, Brandon Atchley, had a white helmet on. I locked in on that helmet and did my damndest to keep it in my sights. I had a hell of a lot of fun following his roost through the test, and though he did eventually drop me, I enjoyed the pull and the separation from the thoughts of the crash.

Overall the race wasn’t spectacular for me. The bike was having issues all day. It would never “open up”, feeling as though the power value wouldn’t open. This never cleared up. I also took too long to add some compression clicks to the front forks, as I was diving all over the place in the rollercoaster style single track. But the day getting seat time was awesome. I felt great by the end of the last test, still having plenty of energy for more miles if they had been offered. 

Excited for More Enduro Racing!

I learned a lot about myself during this race, as I always hope to do when I challenge myself. I overcame the adversity that plagued the bike and the crash with an unmovable tree. I also know I have work to do, and I’m excited to do it. Following a race season again is nerve racking. I’m constantly thinking ahead, while also trying to stay present in the moment. I’m glad I’ve challenged myself with a new race series following BJEC this year. Who knows what the White Rock Enduro is going to bring, but I know it’ll be a damn good time riding dirt bikes!

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