Was the Kenda Cup West, Vail Lake event technically a race? Yes. However, was the competition truly a mere matter of survival? Absolutely.
On the gloomy morning of Sunday, March 1, my father and I took part in the craziness that was the first round of another Kenda Cup West series.
Upon arriving at the venue, torrential rain had captured Vail Lake and its promising miles of flowing mountain bike trails.
However, a full day of racing was still scheduled and 44 miles of an epic adventure took place.
The Vail Lake venue promised six laps, for a total of 44 miles. Over the 44 miles, 5,346 feet of climbing took place.
The tale of the day did not revolve around distance, elevation gain, or race time.
At this event, all competitors who managed to cross the finish line accomplished a massive feat.
For me, this happened to be one of the most disheartening days on a bicycle. Aside from spending a Sunday with my father, I was not having much fun.
After competing with Saint Francis High School, in the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League, which is a subsidiary of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), I had been instructed to never quit.
I had to consistently move forward and make progress, in order to eventually complete an event that provided ridiculous amounts of rain, mud, and running sections.
As I am reflecting on this past weekend, I still do not understand my rationale behind competing. I do know that a true adventure occurred.
Unfortunately, few to no pictures documented my experience, as an array of external factors provided me with plenty to balance.
Philip Beckman, a legendary photographer, managed to document a sequence of my father and me.
Overall, after crossing the finish line, I was faced with an extended process of recovery and cleaning. Ultimately, my father majestically managed a majority of the burden. Thank you pops!
I now realize that this past Sunday was a brutal event. From the environmental conditions to unfortunate mechanical incidents, which caused me to run the last three race miles, it was a wild ride.
However, this past Sunday was an experience that is minimal, when compared with a larger picture and international events. It is necessary to keep moments in perspective. I do know that I am fortunate to pedal my bicycle, alongside my father, with the support of my outstanding family.
At the Kenda Cup West, Vail Lake endurance mountain bike event, I managed to win my 19-29 age category. However, although it may sound cliche, on this day everyone was a winner.
Until next time, keep moving forward.