In the past, the Enduro World Series and I have not got on real well. During EWS Crested Butte in 2015, (my only previous EWS experience), I struggled with one of my worst migraines, vomiting, dehydration, and a very near DNF. Somehow I managed to make the start line on the second day, but the race was tragically called off after one of the riders suffered a fatal crash.
Suffice it to say I was a little nervous about back to back EWS races in multiple foreign countries. Add to that the fact that Denver International Airport decided to close for the first time in 20 years on the day that we were supposed to depart for our trip, and my uneasiness was on the rise. We were able to get out on a flight from Montrose, Colorado, but our departure was delayed by 24 hours. This meant no pre-riding in Corral, and we would have to race "blind."
EWS Corral, Chile was very "physical," which means we had to do an awful lot of pedaling to get to the stages. The climbing over the course of the race came out to be about 10,000 ft. I was quite nervous, and I had no idea what to expect on the courses. It was sunny and hot, and before long, my head started to pound and I wondered if I might have made a mistake choosing to make a vacation out of Enduro-ing.
Day 2 was foggy and despite a whole heck of a lot of climbing, I felt great all day, and I found myself trying to be me. I stopped to take pictures, tried to move my shoulders and dance at each start line. My outlook on the whole affair seemed to take a different direction and I became an optimist.
I think of this as a bit of a defense mechanism and a way to live my life as a happy optimist. The downside of this blind optimism for past events is that I tend not to learn from mistakes I've made, and I am doomed to repeat them indefinitely. Que sera.
By the time race day arrived, I was a nasty little ball of nerves, prepared for the worst.
Despite my fears, I rode stage 1 cleanly. I even had fun. And then I decided that I was going to keep having fun. I treated the Enduro World Series just like any enduro. I gave high fives liberally and rang my bell excessively. I forced the fastest women in the world to join in on a ladies group photo at the top of the last stage.