Big Sandy MTB Race

2019 is the third consecutive year I have raced The Big Sandy MTB race. My goal was to win it for the third time!


I did two things the week before the race to prepare. The first thing I did was to get a bike fit at Art's Cyclery. Humberto did the fit and I have never felt more powerful on my MTB. The second was to remove the old dried up orange colored sealant from my tires and replace it with some fresh Slime tubeless sealant. Now that those tasks were completed I was ready to race.

The day started at 3 am. Eat breakfast, load the car and get out of Cambria. I arrived at the race at 7:15 am and had plenty of time to prepare for my 8:15 start.

When the race started I settled into 3rd on the first climb. About halfway up the climb the rider in 2nd slowed just a bit and I had enough space to slip into 2nd. I spent a little energy and closed down the gap to 1st. Just before the top of the climb, I moved into 1st. I held onto 1st place for a few miles before slipping back into 2nd. Everything was going good until the 18-mile mark. I clipped a rock with my pedal. I fell headfirst downhill and slid for a few feet. I picked myself up and got back on my bike. On the next downhill, I slipped back into 3rd. With 15-miles to go, I was in 3rd but I was with 2nd and I could see 1st in the distance. I reached for an energy gel and realized that when I crashed all of my food fell out of my pockets. I knew I had to work hard to try to win but I also had to conserve energy if I was going to make it over the final climb without bonking. With energy conservation in mind, I put in little attacks to retake 2nd and close the gap to 1st place. Just before the final climb I was in 1st again and had a little gap to 2nd and 3rd. I was really suffering but I knew I had to get over the top in 1st if I was going to have a chance to win. I gave everything I had and made it to the finish line in 1st place with a 30-second gap to 2nd and 3rd.

This was a hard race in a beautiful place with lots of wildflowers, cows and plenty of post-race tacos and beer.

-Brad Cannella

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Calvin Harris