Just recently, professional mountain bike rider Kyle Warner signed with Garmin and he has one promising future ahead of him. Kyle is 23 years old, comes from Chico California, and is a 2 time North American Enduro World Champion. Kyle has a wide variety of two-wheel experience and we can’t wait to see how this year plays out. Here is Kyle in his own words describing his first stop on the Enduro World Series and how he gets back into the swing of things after a long winter.
Its always fun and a little nerve racking getting back into the swing of things each season and trying to get up to race speed again. This year I have decided to attend 4-5 of the Enduro World Series events in hopes of getting some more travel experience under my belt and prepare for the goal of a full season in 2017. After a pretty wet winter back in California and a little less time on the bike than I had hoped for, it was already time to pack our bags and head south to Chile for the first race of the year.
After a long 29hr travel day, and a lot of airport food we arrived in Valdivia, Chile. This race was definitely a little different than any other event I have attended. We had to start each day with a 20 minute drive from Valdivia to Niebla and a 30 minute ferry ride to get to the race venue in Corral. The Ferry wasn't always the timeliest and filled up fairly quickly which ended up leading to a lot of frustrating and often comical complications and delays. This meant waking up at 6:30am every morning hoping to catch the 8am ferry and make it to practice on time at 9:00am.
Once we got to the venue the real work began. The Enduro World Series has a pretty solid reputation of pushing people to their limits. Being the premier Enduro series in the world this is totally understandable, and just because this was the first race for many of us in 2016 didn't mean they were going to make it easy. The race consisted of 6 races courses spread out over Saturday and Sunday. This weekend, every single transition or " liaison" was human powered including getting to each track in practice. This meant that over the 2 days of practice and 2 days of racing we rode over 130miles and 20,000 feet of vertical ascent with more than 20 hours on the bike. The crazy thing about all of the transitions was that the total time of racing was just over 35 min which meant that to do well you had to be fit enough to ride all day and still have sprint power for the short courses.
Throughout the two days of practice we were able to get one run on each course. I felt really good, and my bike was working awesome. I wasn't able to watch much VIRB POV footage after practice due to waiting for the ferry and getting home late every night. I usually try to study footage for 1-2 hours each night after practice, so I felt a little un-prepared but my body felt good and I was ready for the race on Saturday.
Saturday morning rolled around and we were on the boat again by 8am. After some quick tweaks to the bike and an hour and a half pedal to stage 1, it was go time! In the gate I felt calm but almost a little too relaxed about everything. I think I was still processing the past few days and with all of the physical and mental strain I really didn't feel nervous or aggressive at all. I really wanted to race but I guess I just felt flat.
I had a pretty smooth run on stage 1, but made some small mistakes from not knowing the trail. There were a few times where I was very close to crashing and after seeing quite a few people getting injured, I decided that my game plan for this weekend should be to have fun, be safe, and get back into the swing of racing. The rest of the day went pretty well. I had a lot of fun moments and felt smooth for the most part. I never really felt like I was able to push my limit because I found myself questioning where I was on track and what was coming up. It seemed like any time I started to charge, I would make a big mistake and give away a lot of time.
As the weekend went on I was able to find a pretty good groove and had a lot of fun on course. I decided that after a lot of big mistakes on day one, and being in the middle of the pack going into day two it was probably best just to flow through the day and stay healthy going into the next weekends race in Argentina. When all was said and done I ended up in 60th out of 150 pro men, which is not where I planed to be at all. I put in a good amount of work this off-season, but I honestly don't think my fitness was at a high enough level to deal with the stresses of this past week. I do feel like I learned a lot and the experience of traveling has been worth its weight in gold. Its crazy how many small things have to add up to have a good weekend and I think I found a few more pieces of that puzzle after making a lot of silly mistakes this week.
I am really excited to be hanging out and relaxing in Argentina for a few days in preparation for the second round of the EWS this weekend. I feel really good after a full day of rest and I can't wait to put up a fight this weekend. We won't have nearly as much physical exertion this week during practice, so I think if I can manage to stay healthy and excited I will be ready for a good result!
Join the adventure and stay tuned for some epic POV footage from Kyle in the near future. Don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and use #HaveNoLimits.