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  • Writer's pictureCaleb

Oz Trails U.S. Pro Cup

Coming at you again here with a veryyy belated race report! The OZ Trails U.S. Pro Cup was the return of UCI racing to the United States for the first time since September of 2019. Let me tell you, OZ Trails and visit Fayetteville did it right, and they did it big! There were two back to back weekends of UCI C1 racing that kicked off with a short track.

I started fourth row and it was full gas from the gun. All 70+ of us ripped into the tight first corners and rampaged around the short course. It was insane. There was dust flying, people were crashing left and right, and there was a helicopter flying overheard filming?! It was like being in an action movie. I basically dangled at the back of the lead group for the 25 minute long race. I moved as far up as the top 15, fell back to the top 25, and then moved back into the top 20 to finish 19th. It was a very spicy reintroduction to short track racing and it was epic!

Next up on Sunday was the cross country race. I had a solid first lap riding well inside the top 20 but as the second lap hit I started to have some bio-mechanical issues. I faded for three more laps but had to pull the plug because I was in too much pain. I hate to DNF a race but I was out of commission...

I spent the week getting my body back in working order, riding sick trails, and shredding with my Bear National teammates. Fayetteville and Bentonville are truly mountain bike wonderlands and lived up to the hype without a doubt!

When Friday rolled around it was short track time again. Same story as the week before, I spent a lot of time dangling just off the back of the lead group but never in the fight. I finished up 26th, less than pleased with another lackluster performance but still a decent effort and a reminder to focus on what I did right, not wrong!

When Sunday rolled around I knew it was time to get my head fully in the game and find a new gear. I knew my body was ready, I was excited to race and ready to have fun! We blasted off the line and I was riding in the top 25, I got caught behind a few crashes but started to move up on the second lap. I settled in and started ripping laps with my coach, Brian Matter. It was just plain good fun! We mowed through people and moved into the top 20, I eventually broke away from our group and ripped ahead with Ryan Standish with one lap to go. We were fighting for 13th place and had a 20 second gap on a group of seven that was chasing hard. Unfortunately, I flatted with a quarter lap to go... things got real sketchy as I rode gnarly rock with 5 PSI but I rolled across the line in 20th after the chase group caught me. A little bit of bad luck but I was still happy with the form and to be fighting hard!

For a more in depth look at these weeks of racing check out the vlog below. As always, thank you to my team and sponsors for their never-ending support!

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