Exchequer XC – 03/04/2023 – Rex Russell

Originally for my first season, I wanted to go through all of the races to see if anything interesting happened. Something interesting happened during Exchequer but I held off to see if there was anything else I could write about. Because Exchequer was my least favorite ride by far. It was raining, muddy, I hadn’t been on my bike in a while, and on top of all that, I didn’t have my bike. 

The morning of the race it was insanely cold and wet, and I could tell it was going to be a long day. This is my first season mountain biking and this was my second race. Compared to Modesto’s nice weather for the first race this was a very rude awakening what mountain biking could be like sometimes. I remember that my race start was a bit later than usual so I had a bit of time to kill. I was really nervous beforehand because I had pre-ridden and the course was ROUGH. There was some technical bits that I knew I would have to walk during the race which really scared me. 

When my race started, I fell behind really quickly. I prefer uphill more to downhill, and since I’m not that speedy on the downhills how I make up for that is I pass people on uphill. But the course quickly went up into a single-track uphill. I got stuck behind so many slow people and It really damaged my time. I tired myself out on the first lap trying to catch up and pass more people, but the more I tried to catch up the more energy I was using and slowing myself down. It was at this point of the race that I realized I did not have enough energy. I didn’t eat enough before my race, and I was so lucky I had a bar that I brought along to race with me. I had to stop at the very beginning of my second lap to pull over and eat it because I was so exhausted. At the end of my second lap I was thinking about what would happen if I had to DNF. 

Once I was around a mile from the finish line, I flipped over my handlebars. Most people would think it was a bad thing, but I think it was the thing that got me to actually finish the race. I didn’t hit my head on anything, which was surprising because Exchequer is super rocky. I actually landed in a pile of really soft, pillow-ly dirt that kinda felt like I was landing on a pillow. Best first experience of flipping over their handlebars that I can think of. Flipping over my handlebars gave me a new perspective. Once I got up, there was no one around, no race official or people spectating or other racers. It was just me. I could have given up and found a race official, but the feeling of getting back up and getting back on my bike even after an awful race felt good. I think that feeling is what got me to the finish line in the end. I got back on my bike and luckily no one was behind me to see me fall or pass me. I had a strong finish and I was incredibly sore the next day. Even though it wasn’t the best race that I could think of, it’s definitely a fun story to tell.