A few people have asked me what my goal was leading up to Sea Otter, and I realized I wasn’t sure. With the Fuego XL being the first race of the 2023 Lifetime Grand Prix, there would undoubtedly be a deep field of pros from all over the world in attendance. I’m not part of the Grand Prix this year, nor am I a pro, so I had to figure out my expectations for myself. I knew the fitness was good, but having not done a high-level mtb race in the better part of a decade, it was unclear whether the XCO form would show up. So I decided I would start full speed with the goal of beating as many of the GP riders as possible!
After a blistering start, I ended up in a group with Brennan Wertz, Dylan Johnson and a few others. We worked well together and quickly caught riders blown out of the front. Our alliance lasted until halfway through the final lap when Brennan and I crashed hard on consecutive corners. I recovered quickly from the crash with nothing more than road rash and a big tear on the side of my bibs, thinking about how this would have been the perfect opportunity to try out Q36.5’s Grid Skin protective kit.
I was determined to finish strong, and despite the mishap, I pushed on for the final hour, coming across the line in 34th. I was initially proud of the effort but less so of the result. Seeing how many world-class off-road racers failed to crack the top 20 helped put things in perspective, and I felt more satisfied the next day.
Next up for me is Six Sigma, the final race of the Grasshopper Adventure series. With a narrow overall lead, I will look to defend my position. After that, I will use the Boggs 8-hour mtb race to prepare for Unbound, the next stop in the Grand Prix.