I was super excited to race in Keysville being my favorite NICA event. It has amazing camping in an awesome location, unlike any other race. I had fun leading up to the race finding new lines around the camp on the trail bike and going in the Kern River. The course was a bunch of fun with long hard climbs and lots of line options on the downhills. In the pre ride I was just trying to find the less ridden lines that would be really fast and have them locked for the race.
Due to missing the last two races I was behind in points and had to start middle pack. But with a small Varsity field it wasn’t too hard to get up front. The first climb we were all together no one was taking off yet. Then by the first downhill we already broke into a group of five. Making a bigger and bigger gap on everyone else. It was too windy to go out and attack on my own so we needed to stay together to keep our speed up. Last lap I knew was the time to pick up the pace and start to get our group broken up. Up the first climb we started to pull away from Ethan Sanchez in 5th. Then later in the lap we got away from Tydeman Newman. That left me, Turner Conway, and Blake Wray to battle for the win. We set a really fast pace trying to get the most speed out of every bump on the downhill. The last main climb me and Turner had a little more left in the tank to get from Blake. Onto the last hump of the last main climb me and Turner sprinted to the downhill. We were both hitting every line full speed. Then Turner did a great move to get in front of me for the last part of the downhill. Then I passed when it got open into the last section of fast downhill. The rest of the course was a few up and downs then a small climb then a flat sandy head wind to the finish. On the up and downs we were still pinned on them. I was in front and I knew it was going to come down to a sprint there was no way to shake off Turner. So I slowed the pace way down into the last climb to get legs back for a sprint. Then Turner took off around me and I knew it was game time. It was a split lane and he had the better line up the climb but I powered on the other line and got in front of him. Now I was in front on a flat sandy head wind to the finish. In my head it was the worse position to be in. Turner was behind me ready to attack and get around me. I heard him click to one harder gear. Knowing that wasn’t it but it was going to be soon, I took off and sprinted to the finish. Was pretty happy to get out of that situation and finish in first. It was a fun battle the last lap and had a blast riding with such a fast downhill rider.
Couldn’t have done it without my parents, Stephen Ettinger, and Tony Gamberutti! Along with our High School Team SMVC and our sponsors! Also, Bear Development Team along with our sponsors for making this happen!