Invaders District 37 desert scramble was held near Ridgecrest, CA. It was staged out of the Teagle Wash location. I always look forward to any racing that is out here because it’s close to home and I really like the terrain. Growing up here helped that and I always feel more comfortable racing in my backyard. There was talk before the race that we would be able to actually race in some areas that we haven’t been allowed to race on in over 16 years. I was looking forward to that because that meant I had never raced some of these trails. Sure I had rode most of where we had raced at some point or another as I always cover most of our desert on any given day play riding around here. With that said it would be fun to race some new trails. The course I heard was about 37 miles and we would be doing two laps on the course. I showed up early Saturday morning with my wife Maddy and with a 10:00am start I had plenty of time to get signed up and practice the bomb run a few times. I found a good line on the bomb after a couple runs and headed back to the truck to hang out before the race. My dad, sister and nephew showed up a little before the start and it was nice having family out at the race to hang out with before we got going. I was looking forward to getting some good race miles in before the upcoming national. I made my way to the line and got situated and my bike propped up with a nearby stake. During the riders meeting Jay Young gave a nice prayer and we also had the luxury of hearing the national anthem and pay some respect to our country. It was awesome and always gets everyone fired up and I hope they play the national anthem before every race now. You definitely won’t see anyone kneeling at a desert race anytime soon and if they want to they might want to think twice about where they are at.
The banner went up just a little after scheduled time and the nerves started to flow. It doesn’t matter how big or small of a race nothing will replace the feeling of complete silence and concentration when the banner is up. Knowing that 100 plus riders will be about to take off at the drop of a banner and try not to let off for the next 3-4 miles. When the banner dropped my bike fired right off which is step one of a good start. From there it was up to me to hold it on. I knew my line was a little longer then all the guys to my right but it was really smooth and swept around the outside of the start. I looked to my right about halfway down the start and knew I was up ahead of the competition. We reached the end of the bomb run and I was in 1st and searching for ribbon. This is where as the leader you have to start scanning trail and following ribbon and course markings to try and not blow the lead right away. It was really dusty since we haven’t had rain in a long time so I knew that would be to my advantage now that I was in the lead. Right away I tried to put in some good sections and open up a gap. The course was on some similar terrain for the first 10-15 miles. I knew Ryan Smith wasn’t too far behind as I could see him back there when the course would crest some hills. I kept charging and was feeling really good on the bike. Maybe about mile 25 I took another glance back and saw no one in sight. Little did I know that Ryan had some bike problems that took him out of the race. I kept my head down and kept charging getting in some much needed seat time and preparation for the upcoming National. As we hit some of the new racing trails I knew where we were at and the amount of play riders and side by sides in that area are pretty crowded. Luckily it seemed to be an off weekend and I only saw a few other people that weren’t racing but I was constantly scanning trail to make sure. The course was a little hard to follow and some more markings would have been nice but in never lost the trail I just always get worried I’m going to blow the lead by missing a turn. None the less I really had fun racing on some of the new trails and areas. We had some really big sand downhill and a lot of up and downs in the Spangler hills area which is one of my favorite areas to ride. After that it was a straight shot across the rough chopped out valley back to pits. I came in and got gas from my Pops and a fresh set of Viral Brand Goggles from my beautiful Wife and my crazy nephew Aiden. I set out on loop two. Now I knew where I was headed and where the course would be going. Loop 2 was un eventful as I backed it down a little bit and enjoyed the ride. I brought the win home to the finish and was around 9 minutes ahead of 2nd place. I really enjoyed the Invaders course and was happy to get some seat time in. I am feeling strong and confident heading into the National this weekend!!