Making the podium in the Chainbreaker

ChainbreakerTreesIn the mind of a competitive/obsessive mountain bike racer, any day spent not racing is a day spent getting slower.

So when I noticed the Nevada/California calendar was empty last weekend, I grabbed a map and started googling. What did I find? The 2014 Chainbreaker in Bend, Ore.

I knew nothing about the event, but had heard Bend is a mountain bike mecca. I also saw a pretty stacked pro field on the pre-reg list including some big-name guys like Carl Decker, Barry Wicks, and Ryan Trebon. Oh, and more free burritos. I was in.

We loaded up the van on Friday right after I wrapped up my finals at the University of Nevada, and headed straight for central Oregon. Eight hours of driving through wind, rain, and snow had me questioning the lengths I’ll go for free lunch, but it was surprisingly nice when we arrived.

Loaded field

chainbreakersignThe race had a huge turnout with over 275 racers pre-registering. Pros had two 16-mile loops to complete plus a 2-mile start loop. We started out on a wide and slightly uphill dirt road which allowed us a little bit of time to sort things out before we jumped on the trails.

I managed to hit the singletrack in 3rd and make my way into 1st by the time we finished the 2-mile start loop. I started pulling away a little bit before the big green Show-Air jersey of Ryan Trebon grabbed onto me.

The two of us had a substantial lead, but rather than working with him to fight the wind on the fairly flat and fast course, I just kept hammering. Every now and then I’d hit a tree or bobble in a corner and he’d get around me, but I would quickly charge right back around.

I charged for 27 miles into the wind before he had had enough. On one of the slight uphill sections he went around me, I bobbled just a bit in the rocks, and he opened up a small gap that lasted the remainder of the race.

Could I have won? Probably not. But I probably could have lost in a really cool and dramatic sprint finish had I played it a little smarter.

I’m still really happy with the result and the progress thus far this year. I got a killer workout up in Bend, tested myself against some crazy fast guys, and won $20 after filling my van up when we got back. Not bad!

With the countdown approaching three weeks until I take off to the chase the remainder of the Pro XCT’s and North American World Cups, I still have a few things to fine tune, but I would say we’re right on schedule.

Next stop? The first three Sierra Cups here in Northern Nevada and California. See you there!

As always, huge thanks to Specialized Bicycles, Audi, Jet Lites, TrainerRoad, and my coach Kyle Dixon. Couldn’t chase these dreams without you guys!

Trevor DeRuisé is a U-23 professional mountain bike racer, riding for Jet Lites and Specialized. He is also a nutrition expert and one of the owners of GetReal Nutrition. He is lives in Reno, Nev.

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