The International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) is one of my favorite events. The format suits my riding style really well and I've had success there before. So after getting hurt last year and not being able to compete, I was more than ready to go back.
With the race scheduled to be held in southern France this year, along with the French riders being really good at ISDE, we knew repeating the team's win from last year would be a challenge. But we also knew we brought a super solid team of Taylor Robert, Thad Duvall, Kailub Russell, and myself, and we all believed we could win it. Unfortunately, on the very first test of the first day we lost Thad Duvall to injury. There are no throwaways at ISDE, so as a team we were out of contention. But individually we could still race and compete for the Individual Overall title.
I had an up and down week. I was the first guy on the tests on Day One, which meant that I had to deal with some super slick grass! I had a few crashes that I lost time on that day. Day Two went better, as I was able to be the fastest overall rider and "win" the day. Through the rest of the week I had plenty of top-3 test times but also my share of tip-overs, and at the end finished as the 5th placed individual. I felt like I rode well, and top five against the best riders in the world isn't too bad I guess. I already can't wait until next year in Chile! Huge thanks to all my sponsors for their support, as well as a special thanks to Coastal Racing, Bonanza Plumbing, and Trail Jesters for their financial support of Team USA's efforts. We could not do it without these amazing company's contributions!
(Read more about ISDE below)
ISDE is a different format than anything we race here in the USA. It is essentially a time-control format, where you have "transfers" and "special tests" you have to complete each day, usually 5-6 tests and 4-5 transfers. Transfers can be anything from highways to tight single-track, and you must complete them by a specific time to avoid time penalties. Transfers can be long and difficult. The special tests, though, are where the race is won and lost. They are usually anywhere from 3-5 miles long, and can be grass tracks or in the woods, but they are all about speed. You take off and go as fast as you possibly can for the 6-10 minutes it takes to finish it. The tests get beat up and nasty, and it can be tough. Total time on your motorcycle per day, IF you finish all the tests and transfers on time, is usually seven to eight hours. The first five days of the event are set up like this. The sixth and final day is a 15 minute motocross race.
ISDE is a team race, where each country sends their best four guys to try to win the World Troply. At the end of the week, the team with the lowest total time in special tests is the winner. It is a huge honor, and the USA had never won until last year. They also give an award to individual rider who is the fastest overall. I won this award two years ago in Slovakia, the first American ever to do it. To win either the team title or the individual is an incredible accomplishment, because the absolute best-of-the-best riders in the WORLD are there racing with you. You have to be on the edge to go fast enough, but you also can't make mistakes. It's a fine line you have to walk. I really enjoy the event and am honored to have been chosen a few times to represent our country.