Giant Factory Off-Road Team Performs Well At The OZ Trails Off-Road!
Bentonville, Arkansas played host this weekend to the Oz Trails Off-Road—the final round of the new Epic Rides race series. With a $60,000 prize purse, it was the richest single day MTB race in the world and featured the best riders in North America vying for a piece of the action.
Friday night’s El Yucateca fat tire crit was held on tight and technical paved roads neighboring Bentonville’s vibrant downtown. Both the Liv women and GFORT men rode well, but were mostly just happy to prime the pump for Sunday’s main event. Tristan Uhl, however, deftly maneuvered to a 5th place podium finish.
With warm rain on the horizon at the starting line for Sunday’s 50 mile backcountry event, Giant Factory Off-Road Team Riders Carl Decker, Tristan Uhl, and Stephan Davoust set off on the new course. Contrary to the backcountry feel of other Epic Rides events, this track coursed behind homes and through greenspaces, along golf courses and down riverside urban bike paths. Mostly, however, it was single track with slippery limestone ledges and miles and miles of small sharp rocks that caused 75% of the field to flat.
Carl Decker recalled the chaos of the day, saying, “When the thunderstorms unleashed, people were flatting even more–and standing everywhere beside the track–frantic, but so sodden and slippery, many couldn't even remove tires from their rims. 40th place became 20th, then 15th became 10th. In the final hour, legs bolstered by an impending good result, and (miraculously) still with hotel room air in my Maxxis EXO tires, I managed to muscle and gnaw my way to 6th.”
Tristan and Stephan finished a respective 16th and 18th, both suffering punctures on the course.
“It was like riding through a glass factory,” Decker said at the finish.
This trip to Arkansas marked the end of the 2018 MTB racing season for the Giant Factory Off-Road Team XC squad, with only cyclocross events remaining for most of these riders this year.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018