36 Hours in Bend

I hope I didn’t talk too much this weekend about how pumped I am to be the newest member of the Ruckus Test Team. It’s been on my mind a lot since spending 36 hours in Bend getting to know the team, dressing up like a sexy dancer, and racing a couple of Cross Crusade races. Sitting here a few days later, I’m trying to sort out my memories and decide which was the most interesting part of the weekend.

Was it the racing? Probably not. Saturday’s course was dry, loose, and dusty — a big challenge to my confidence that took a few laps to overcome. By that point, I had settled in with a familiar group of riders and made a couple passes to finish in the 40’s. Good enough for my best Crusade race finish ever, and no big mistakes to dwell on. Overnight rains transformed the dusty stuff into a super smooth and grippy course for Sunday’s race. I was in the first call up group and started strong, only to crash (spectacularly!) on the first lap. I was around 38th place and having fun when I flatted a half lap from the pit with two to go. After a nice stroll, the team talked me into hopping on the pit bike for my first ever lap on a flat bar singlespeed to finish the race. My first hit, and I get the feeling I’ll be coming back for more.

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Was it the costumes? This just leads to more questions. Should I have worn a real wig instead of scarf scraps taped to my helmet? Were the tramp stamps a misguided addition that distracted from the purity of the concept? What lessons were learned and how will we apply them next year? These are big questions, and satisfying answers may never come.

A photo posted by Gino Zahnd (@gzahnd) on

Was it Bend, Oregon? Not for me, not this trip. Definitely didn’t spend enough time outside of the race venue and the Airbnb homebase to get the full Bend experience. I think that’ll only happen with a mountain bike and more time. Something to look forward to for Summer 2016.

Was is the hanging out with the team? Duh, obviously, yes. So much fun cheering on the singlespeeders with Graham. So funny (afterwards) almost violently crashing into my new teammate Starla in the A race. Meeting Lil’ Dogg. Getting real and answering a lot of questions around the family dinner table. It was just a hilarious, fun, and welcoming first weekend with a great group of new friends. Did I mention how pumped I am to be on the team?

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