I love traveling to Oregon! The only problem is that it’s almost 18 hours away… I had this realization on my last trip to Bend for the High Cascades 100. Once I get there I love it! Oregon is a beautiful state with lots to see and Bend is a great town with lots of great mountain biking. I’ve been racing the High Cascades 100 for quite a few years and it continues to be one of my favorites! Depending on snow melt the course is always changing from year to year but one thing that stays the same there is always plenty of single track and lots of climbing and great trail riding, just how I like it!
The race starts in Bend proper and heads up and out of town on pavement for about 4 or 5 miles then onto double track for a couple more to sort things out. When we hit the dirt the race was on, the pace was high and I soon found myself struggling to stay in the second group of riders, my legs were not cooperating and everyone and there mother seemed to be passing me. Once we hit the single track I was able to make up some ground and passed about 6 or 7 riders but once we hit the climbs I had nothing and they were all back on me and passing. I struggled like this up until about mile 30 where I started to feel better or maybe all the hard chargers at the start were slowing down. At any rate I went from about 15th to 4th in about 30 miles, along the way I got to rip some prime single track with a couple people but never really staying with anyone that long.
For the final 30 miles I found myself alone racing my bike in beautiful Oregon, although it was a very dry year the riding was still super fun and I was feeling good so pushing on the climbs felt great. I kept the pace high until the end hoping to maybe catch one more spot and to make sure nobody came from behind at the end. I definitely did not have my greatest race ever but what constitutes a great race? Getting the win, is that a great race? Feeling great but not placing well, that can be a great race! Overcoming adversity and pushing through even when you know your not going to be the best and never giving up? That too can be a great race! I have never been someone that has won every race, ya I’ve won a couple here and there but that’s not what keeps me going. Life I feel like is more interesting with hardship, if it were easy all the time it would be boring, I would say there are lots of ways to be successful at racing and at life, and I’m happy to say I’ll continue to persevere at both.