Colton Haaker’s 2012 Endurocross series updateposted Oct 15, 2012
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Colton Haaker EnduroX Halfway Report
Las Vegas, NV Sacramento, CA X Games & Ontario, CA
05/04/12 – 09/15/12
Hey Everyone! Do you how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice… Haa This is your long, lost EnduroX racer and this race report is long overdue. I apologize for being MIA! I figured four rounds into the 2012 EnduroX series would have been a good time to let all of you know what’s been going on what has kept me from the computer for so long! Check out everything from the Vegas opener to now! It has been a lot of ups and downs and a great experience in between.
Vegas EnduroX Round 1 – 05/04/12
Way back in May I took my first career win! It was a big step in my career when I crossed the finish line. All the hard work and dedication paid off! I was in the zone and moment and proved to myself that I could do it. For a lot of other people it was also a big deal because I ended Taddy Blazusiak’s undefeated streak from 2011. To me that was just a bonus! I really thought that when that day did come and I would achieve my first career victory that I would have tears in m eyes because visualizing winning before would make my eyes water. But instead it was high fives and smiles all around; I was just relieved and pumped. It was an awesome day, one that I will never forget. I worked very hard leading up to the race and when the moment came I was ready and I seized it. I felt that my preparation into this race really had a lot to do with it. From my training routine and my bike testing to the off-season racing I used as practice; everything was clicking and the stars aligned for me. Since that race I feel like I have been trying to duplicate Vegas and boy has it been a challenge!
Sacramento, CA Round 2 – 06/09/12
Fresh off my first win we headed North close to my hometown of Hollister, Ca. Close enough that I had probably a hundred friends and family that bought tickets to watch me compete with the red plate. All of which were so happy to see me finally win and watch me possibly repeat. To say I felt pressure was an under statement. But during the day I felt that I was handling it very well though. I qualified 2nd which was great and I seemed to be on par with Vegas. Everything was awesome until the gate dropped and all hell broke loose. I didn’t get the jump off the line and was pushed wide. In my mind if I was going to win I was going to need to pin it to the front, and fast! So I did just that one half lap in I went from way back to fourth almost crashing numerous times risking everything to get to the front! At the end of lap one now following third into the firewood section when he messed up and I ran into the back of him going down. I picked myself up and started charging again. Going for a pass on Mike Brown on lap 2 when he took me out! I get up go 10 feet into the turn and another rider takes me out. From there I was a lap down and couldn’t really mount a charge without interrupting the leaders race. I finished a bummed 10th place. I definitely let my emotions get the best of me during this race. As I didn’t stay calm from a bad start and I rode impatient which ultimately led to my crashes and poor finish. Had I stayed composed and rode confidently and calm perhaps the poor result could have been avoided.
X Games LA, Ca Round 3 – 07/01/12
After that last finish I swore to never let my head and emotions get the best of me during the beginning of the race. I was not to get wild and crazy throwing away a potential result in the first few laps. I was motivated and well trained coming to X Games and really wanted to improve on last years result. It was another pressure cooker as it was live ESPN national television and a gold medal on the line. I knew I was capable of it. My speed and fitness was right where it needed to be. I again qualified 2nd which was great. I rode awesome in practice and had my starts dialed in. I felt determined and prepared. The heat race started off well with an awesome holeshot. I was quickly passed by Geoff Aaron in the firewood though and was battling with Cody Webb over second. We both caught Geoff and Webb moved to the lead. I had Geoff on speed and was being extremely patient. But on the uphill rock section he cut me off and crawled out with his two-wheel drive machine where I had to push my bike up losing a lot of time. I finished third and they only took the top two. So on to the LCQ I was and again I had another holeshot only to quickly get passed by a few riders and held up by others in the firewood, which caused me to go backwards. But being true to my plans I stayed calm, and collected myself to ride forward. I eventually made it back to a qualifying position being smooth and patient as I watched other riders make mistakes. Right in the moment I needed to be most patient, making a pass for the lead, I rushed the pass and went down stalling the bike and finishing again, one spot out of qualifying. It was a serious disappointment as I wasn’t in the main event for the second year in a row at the X Games. Bummed, I fortunately had my friends and family to pick me back up and reassure that I was riding well and what I did was what I thought was best at the time. Unfortunately, it just didn’t pan out how I had hoped.
Here I was on top of the world after Vegas and after the following two rounds finishing 10th and 11th I started to question a lot things. As an athlete it is hard to pinpoint success and failure and the slight difference between the two. At times fractions of a second could make the difference. What you could have done differently or how this or that would have made a difference are all things that run through your mind when things aren’t going perfect. I hold myself at a high level and expect nothing other than the best because I put my best into it. To come up short and or have poor results shouldn’t even be a possibility. But it does happen and there are experiences, trials and tribulations through success.
Ontario, Ca Round 4 – 09/15/12
A two-month break and we were back in Ontario, Ca where in 2011 I finished a respectable 2nd place. After working hard for a solid two months I traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for some local races and swept the field up there. Then went on to a WORCS race at Cahuilla Creek MX and had my best finish to date. A few weeks later raced a three hour long race in Big Sky, Montana and rode a solid pace that netted a top 10 finish then drove all the way to Tennessee for the Knock Out off road race and rode solid in the technical trails all day nearly coming away with a podium until I got heat stroke! So I was busy during the break racing, learning, experiencing and applying to the Ontario EnduroX. But I came down with a bed-ridden sickness the week before the race. I tried as hard as I could rode solid in the semi but was obviously feeling under the weather all day. I was confident going into the main event and had I got a start there would have been a serious battle at the front. However in the main event a couple riders jammed up on me and hung me up where I started the race in 11th. An improvement was that I rode smart and conservative and moved through the pack for a sixth place finish. Moving forward rather than backwards I negotiated the track the best I could given the circumstances I focused on the good in that.
I now sit fifth in points, which is a great improvement on the past two years that I am happy about. So far in the season I would grade myself with a C+ but give myself an A+ for effort. Not too far out of a podium finish in the overall standings I am looking forward to applying all my experiences so far this season to gain consistency for the remaining four rounds and end the year on a high note! With things to work on I have many other things to be happy about - to have my health and have the opportunity to do what I love… ride and race my motorcycle! I always have to remember how lucky I am for everything I get to do and see. I’m living my dream; no one said it would be easy! But what does make it easier are the great sponsors and supporters I have behind me! Nothing would be possible without them!
Thank you everyone at:
Lucas Oil, Rockstar Energy Drink, Maxxis Tires, Scott USA, Kawasaki, Akrapovic, Hinson, Motion Pro, K&N, Enzo, Ride Engineering, Faster USA, Acerbis, Renthal, Works Connection, Bike Graphix, Slick Offroad Wash, LewisportUSA, and my family and friends.
Thanks for reading!
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