Carson City Off-Road Race Report

By Riley Amos

This year I made the last minute decision to attend the Carson City Offroad. I had a nice training block leading into it, but didn’t want to go over a month without racing before Mountain Bike National Championships in Winter Park, Colorado, so this race was a perfect opportunity to test my fitness. This was my first ever epic rides event, so I was super exited to try out the format of the Friday night fat tire crit followed by the 50 mile backcountry race on Sunday.

Most of the XC races I do are between an hour to an hour and a half, so I wasn’t sure how I would hold up in a 3+ hour race. Friday night was the downtown crit, and boy was it an experience! Racing in a pack with the fastest pros in the country like Keegan Swenson and Russell Finsterwald was anything but easy. This kind of race was unlike anything I had ever done, and the amount of patience and skill required to use the least amount of energy and deliver a podium ride in this event was something I was lacking. It took everything I had just to stick with the front group and not get dropped, and I rolled across the line in 14th.

The next day the pros had a day off before the backcountry event, and I went for an easy spin to loosen the legs up a bit from last nights effort. As I was just cruising down one of the flowy downhills, I lost the front wheel in a corner and I slid face-first in the dirt. When I got up, I noticed my wrist was a little sore, but rode the rest of my ride and didn’t think too much of it. Later that night, it was still pretty sore, and I was a little bit nervous but still wasn’t too worried. It was when I got up to race Sunday morning that I was concerned that something was wrong. It was really sore, and I wasn’t sure if I could ride. Luckily I had some Rocktape with me, and I was able to wrap it enough to have some support, and since where it was hurting was on the outside of my wrist, I taped a piece of wood on the outside of my grip to act like a shim, so the outside of my hand was raised and most of the pressure was directed to the inside of my hand. That combined with 2 ibuprofen I felt well enough to start the race. I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish and I had a plan to pull out at the first feed station if it was still hurting.

The 50 mile backcountry race started and the group rolled fairly easy through town before starting up a dirt road where everyone started to attack in order to break the group apart before it funneled into single track. The pace felt like we were starting an XC race, and I was worried that there was no way I was going to be able to hold this pace for another 45 miles. I held back a little because of that, and was sitting just inside the top 15 going up the first 45 minute single track climb. After that first climb the course dropped us back onto a long dirt road climb, and I started to gradually move up, group by group. The first feed station came and went, and I wasn’t thinking about or feeling my wrist. It was at this point Ben Sonntag caught me, and I realized I was in contention for a possible podium. Ben was riding a very similar pace to my own and we worked together, taking turns pulling and slowly picking off riders.

On the road into town just a mile from the finish, it was a crazy powerful feeling to realize I had just secured my first ever pro epic rides podium among the best riders in the country. The feeling of rolling across the finish line in 4th place behind Ben is an unexplainable feeling. Shaking hands with those guys and standing on their podium was truly amazing, and something that I will be trying to repeat in the future. On Tuesday I learned that I had fractured my ulna, but luckily I am still clear to ride and train, so I will be finishing preparations for National Champs in Winter Park, Colorado at the end of July.