|Ara. Mammoth. Fight to the death.|
Now that was a race! Had a blast racing on the Mammoth Kamikaze XC
course. The 12.5 mile loop had everything ; long climbs, fast descents,
flowing sections, and some tough technical downhill sections with jumps
and man-made wall rides/bridges. I might have had an advantage because
I have ridden those trails so many times in the past, especially
Shotgun and Chain Smoke. Actually got to meet the designer of the
course, he actually got 3rd right behind me in my category.
|Ara bringing The Rage.|
My Trek Superfly all set-up with a brand new KMC chain I headed to the
staging area. Started in dead last off the gun because I didn't want to
blow up myself at 9,000ft. But on the first climb past a bunch and went
into the single track in 4th place. Didn't know who was in my category
so every rider was fair game. It turned into a battle royal with the
Rodeo Racing guy! Back and forth on that first lap. He would pass me on
the climbs and then I would blow him by on the technical descents. It
was important to hydrate in the thin air of Mammoth Mountain so Amino
Vital Endurance was consumed quickly and frequently. Made a move on the
guy on a steep climb coming back from Beach Cruiser but I blew up. My
Sigma Rox 10.0 had my heart rate in the red and had to ease off and
reel him back on the next section. Caught him while bombing down
Shotgun and it was rough on a hard tail. Twice I heard my rims get
bashed by sharp rocks underneath the pumice rocks as I was white
knuckling it down the drops. The tubeless Honey Badger XC pros held on
like a champion. No tears or cuts, especially held on after two burps.
Came through the start/finish line ahead of Rodeo and couple of other
racers. Shortstack, Big Al, and Tiffany were there with loud cheers and
a much awaited bottle of Amino Vital to send me off on my second lap.
|The Fuzz assisting in the Kenda booth.|
|Stikkity-Stakk staying on 24hr vigil to both aid Ara during the race, and get him obliterated after the race. TEAMWORK!|
Second lap hurt. Rodeo passed me on the initial climb with a power move
and I was playing chase the whole time. Two more passed me and I could
feel the podium slipping away. Then the RAGE came out. I've worked so
hard these last couple of months to get back in shape and represent
Backbone and the great sponsors we have. Pulled back two riders and
passed them with conviction. At this time the weather was changing and
dark clouds were rolling in. It was a good choice to change out my
Ryder Sunglasses lens with the red ones because of the shadow effects.
On every downhill section I was just going all out, my Royal signature
gloves gripping my handlebars for dear life. I just didn't have the
power in my legs for the climbs. On the final long climb I felt my
right hamstring tighten up and I stopped to stretch it out for a few
seconds. Chugged some more Amino Vital and off I went again to finish
the race. Bombed down Shotgun with everything I had. bashing my
bombproof Xpedo pedals on volcanic rocks with my remorse. My lower back
was on the fringes, triceps burning, hamstrings about to rip, and all I
can think is how much fun this is. Racing is my therapy, my counselor,
my psychologist, the way I deal with my inner demons. Oh yea,
Shortstack had a beer waiting for me at the finish line too! Came
through the finish straight away to hear Larry Longho announce to the
crowd, "Here comes Ara Movessian from Backbone to a podium finish in
2nd place!". That was drugs straight to my veins. Sure enough
Shortstack was there with an Anchor Porter and boy it tasted so good.
|Starting line Fuzzbucket.|
Climbing up to the top of the stage at the Canyon Lodge venue area was
surreal. I really wanted that top spot but 2nd will do for now. Like
always, I would like to say thank you to all our sponsors in Backbone
land. Jim Wannamaker from KMC and Roger from Kenda Tires who were at
the venue. Randy from Sigma, Ken from Xpedo, Amino Vital crew, Ryder
sunglasses, Royal clothing, Voler apparel.
Big thanks to Shortstack and the Nashalian family for coming out and
supporting me. It truly means a lot to have that support there and just
to hangout. Wish other people were there too to share these moments.
Cyclocross starts this weekend!