USA Marathon Finals

The road trip to Cali hit a small bump in the road at the boarder crossing when we forgot to claim our apples. The boarderguard asked if we had any fruits or veggies but we figured he wouldnt check so said no but he checked. My bro had 1 bag in his backpack and I had two bags in different areas of the truck with the patrolman finding one of them and not looking to pleased with us for trying to smuggle them into the states. After a short lecture on apple bugs etc.. we were on our way south 1400 km to Soda Springs, CA the sight of the USA Marathon finals. Friday evening after two solid days of driving, camping in the woods and getting lost in Portland we arrived on race site with Tinker Juarez rolling up beside us with his bodyguard/mechanic. Tinker Juarez is probably the most identifiable mountain biker in America with his long dreadlocks, Mexican skin tone and 20 plus yrs of Olympic and world cup race experience. Being on site caused quite a stir in the other riders as they constantly wandered up to him asking for autographs and pictures. My bro and I were pretty tired from the days of driving so we hit up a local campsite for a short nights sleep before rising at 5 an on Saturday for a 6:30 race meeting and race start shortly after.

Race day was a bit of a gong show with us waking up a little late, hitting road construction on the interstate and then having a valve fly out of my front tubeless wheel about 10 minutes before the start. The valve posed a bit of a problem as my front wheel was now empty and the piece I needed was somewhere below my truck. Somehow I must of ate a four leaf clover somewhere along the way and managed to find the valve below my pickup and pretty soon the bike had two inflated wheels and I rolled into the start just in time for the gun to go off. Another lucky charm on the day was that the opening 6 miles of the 92 mile race was down hill, this gave me a chance to pop out of the sleepy daze I was in which ended also requiring a 2x caffeine gel’s 10 minutes into the race and half a bottle of cold water down my back. Going along in the top 15 I was watching guys flat all over the place as the terrain was super rocky and dusty which posed huge problems for the poor guys with tubes. Once we hit the bottom of the hill I encountered another problem as the bowels were sending signals reminding my head that it had forgot to hit up the john before the start. This was a problem as the pace was picking up and Tinker and 4 other riders were quickly riding out of sight and there was no time to stop. I began thinking of the Hoover dam to keep things clogged up and set off to catch the leaders.

Pretty soon I was up with the leaders just in time to watch Tinker and a Chico rider attack up a hill. Soon after the Chico rider blew up and then it was just Tinker ahead going into a 4 mile decent. All the way down the decent I followed Tinker’s Dust and was able to close the gap a little before he pulled away on the next climb. I soon pulled some time back on a 10 mile single-track section before running into Tinker as he had beat a volunteer to one of the junctions and didn’t know which way to head. I was pretty stoked to be back with Tinker with close to 1/3 of the race down but soon after on a long steep climb the 135 lb Tinker began to use his special dust to fly away and out of sight around a switchback. BAAANNNGGG!!!!, just as Tinker went out of sight either his wheel blew up or someone was opening up shooting gallery. I was scared to go around the bend but having paid $160 in entry fee’s I wanted to get my moneys worth on the day so I kept going to find an old school hick with a rifle across his shoulder. Tinker was now a long ways up the road and riding way faster then I’ve ever seen someone climb. I’m not sure if this is how he always rides or if he was freaked out by the gun firing hillbilly but this was the last I would see of him as he would claim victory on the day in 7 hrs 24 minutes. Getting past the crazy hillbilly was my victory on the day as I would cruise along the last 50 miles solo in the spectacular rugged California countryside to claim second around 20 minutes behind Tinker and his special dust.

Finishing 2nd to Tinker was a wicked day for me and to celebrate I jumped off a dock into a 2ft deep lake. I hit the bottom hard, came out with a bloody toe and am now contemplating a better way to celebrate the next celebratable moment. After the race closed out we headed back to camp for a little relaxing around the campfire with apple ciders in hand. Today my Bro watched NFL sunday, I went for a wicked singletrack ride up in the mountains and tommorow its off to Oakland for Monday night football! (We’ll be the guys hanging off the rafters with binoculars.)

3 Comments on “USA Marathon Finals”

  • The Squamish Dude September 15th, 2009 4:49 pm

    Sick man! Quite an adventure… bikes,guns,the US&A experience…must have felt amazing to be up there with a legend like Tinker…keep it rolling!

  • Dallas September 19th, 2009 9:21 pm

    congrats Cory!
    that's frickin wicked. way to Rep the Team KONA !

  • Ronald J September 21st, 2009 2:53 am

    Hello Body

    Congratulations!! I am very happy with your success!

    see you soon! and Take care


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