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FIBARK 2018 Mountain Bike Race, Salida CO

by Eric Paysen • July 11, 2018

I had the chance to enter the FIBARK MTB Race for the second year in a row. This race has a real grass roots feel and no age categories. As a guy who is 45 years 'young' racing all the 'kids' steps up the competition. Last year I finished up middle of the pack and have made considerable improvements to my fitness this year. Showed up at the start hoping to see the results of my hard work!

The course is a true mountain biker's heaven. Very technical in spots with 14 miles of riding and about 1,400ft. vertical with lots of rocks and steep sections. Out of the gate we hit a hard pace up a gravel road for a few miles and 800ft. of climbing. This was the part of the course I knew I needed to dig deep and surprised myself by staying in contact with the leaders. I entered the technical N. Backbone trail in 5th position ready to get real. Within less than a mile I found myself in the front of the pack after powering over some big rock faces and scrambles other riders were hiking over. This was the first time I've lead a race in about a decade and I was running like a scalded cat!!

I had a few guys chasing but they seemed content about a min to 30s back. I pushed my heart rate higher than I knew it could go trying to widen that gap and lost most of the field - except one. We came into the flat section leading into the finish at a furious pace. I held hope that despite the fact he had my draft I could drop him or at least hold him off. Not the best strategy. With about 20 yards out he made his move, I dug deeper, and it was a true photo finish. According to the transponders, I got 2nd by 0.02 seconds!

Oh well gives me something to come back for next year.

Thanks to Team Bikeman for the continued support!!

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