Race Report: 4-For-4 At CA MTB Endurance Big Bear

June 10, 2021


Words: Brian McCulloch
Photos: Wild Glass Photo

It was a great day at the races last Sunday, earning a fourth consecutive win in the CA Endurance MTB Series. And as cool as that was (which I will get into), I want to lead this Race Report with some gratitude… I am so THANKFUL to be a part of the IRC Crew!

The more I race MTB's, the more I am convinced that although fitness is important, equipment, namely top-shelf, durable, and high-performing equipment plays a significant role in race-day performance. So THANK YOU to the IRC crew for keeping me rolling fast!!!

On to the report! 

brian at the event

Details: 40-Miles, 5,000', 2:57 Race Time, 1st Place

At 40-miles and 5,000' of elevation gain on tap for the day's race, most of which is single-track, anyone who knows this course would say it is a "leg-breaker". But what makes the Big Bear course even more challenging is that it starts at 7,000' elevation and most of the race takes place above 8,000 as it begins with a 2.5 mile climb from the start-line…

And being as I have never been accused of being a stellar climber, you can imagine there was a little nervousness and apprehension on the start! Luckily the first climb went well and I made it over the top with the three leaders, which I chalk up to two things:

  1. A good warm-up! And…
  2. The fact that my wife spoiled me by meeting me at the top of the hill with a “tall-boy” bottle of 50/50 water and Monster Hydro. This allowed me to start with a half-full water bottle and avoid carrying the weight up the hill! 
    I had to get her ice-cream for that one! 

Fast forward a bit, we rode some fast fire-road, ripped a few downhills on loose Decomposed Granite and then headed to the first single-track section. By that time it was just me and one other rider, a young fit dude who came from the highlands of Arizona to put on a clinic for the California MTB'ers… Not today, I thought. 

I stomped on the pedals and pushed hard for the entire single-track, eventually finishing lap one with a 3min. lead. Anything can happen in an MTB race so I was always wrestling to do two things… Minimize mistakes AND "keep the bike together!" 

brian riding on course

I would later find out that many riders ended their days early with pinch flats and tire problems. No such issue for me, it was full-gas racing from the gun, just the way I like it! I knew fueling for this race would be a challenge given all the single-track and technical sectors, and I was right, it was nearly impossible to take my hands off the bars during the race to get food. Good thing I had plenty of liquid calories!

I went on to finish over six minutes in front of second, but it was no cake-walk. 
I was constantly vigilant of those tire-tearing rocks and washed out single-tracks that could send me over the edge of the trail that seemed to come around every corner. With BWR on the horizon, I needed to go hard and keep the intensity high all race long!  After crossing the line in a sub-3hr race time, I warmed-down with a few of our BWC Athletes to get their "tales of the tape" on their races, ate some food, rehydrated, and hit the podium.
bruins on the podium

No sooner had I got home with the family from a day at the races did Séamus The Nugget want to get his own ride in! 

So we saddled-up hit the grocery store by bike and got some Thai food on the way home. Racing is RAD and being on the podium is a BONUS, but… Hearing The Nugget shriek, "FASTER PAPA" as we ride down the road numbs the pain in my legs. So there is always time for another ride! 

Suggs on my shred sled

Until Next Time- Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!

Brian McCulloch 
Big Wheel Coaching

Upcoming Races:

  • CA MTB Series Final Round: Sunday 6/20
  • The ENVE Grodeo (Gravel): 6/25-26
  • The Belgian Waffle Ride San Diego: 7/18 



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