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The mental stimulation of racing e-bikes is similar to that of a steep and rowdy downhill, you don’t really have any mental capacity to think about anything other than what’s happening in front of your wheels. The reaction times needed to pass, corner and ride smoothly proved to be a little more difficult than I was expecting.

I like to think I’m pretty fit (at least before all the beer at Sea Otter), and I was reassured of my fitness on the steeper parts of the course. I made most of my passes and power moves on the uphills, and tried to hold others’ wheels on the downhills. I battled back and forth with one of my good friends from the Southern Utah mountain biking scene, Pete who I couldn’t seem to shake.

He was hard to keep up with on the descents and I tried my best to reel him back in on the climbs. While I was proud of the effort I was putting down, the Bosch system really allowed me to take on the steeper climbs with confidence and speed. Based on feeling,and by how fast I was climbing, I wouldn’t have guessed the Bosch mid-drive motor only was 250 watts.

It may not look that steep from a distance, but this hill was the crux of the course. It was steep enough that even some e-bikes struggled to make it to the top.

I’m not sure what happened to Pete after I passed him on a climb later in the race, but I found myself with tunnel vision and one goal in mind: pedal my damn legs. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for the remainder of the race but I also knew I wasn’t going to quit.

I figured the rest of the racers who weren’t on the same drive system as I was were suffering even more, which gave me confidence going into the later laps. The Bosch set-up felt race ready, and tuned to feel very natural below me. I was able to ride like I do on a standard bike, only faster and with less strain on the nasty parts of the track. I ended up passing 6 riders on the steep hill climb, which ended up being a very monumental point in the race.

With Mark Weir, the Weirwolf himself, and Sam from Electric Bike Report heckling and motivating me from the side of the race course I felt like I had to finish as much for them as I did for myself — so I carried on….. to the wrong side of the fence on the second to last lap where I had to backtrack and make up time on a couple riders who passed me due to my fatigue-induced mistake.

I did my best to stay calm and within myself. It was dry, dusty and gritty but above all it was proper type 2 fun. I crossed the finish line all alone with cramping legs, and ended up finishing in 7th place — all things considered I am very satisfied with my result. I was very impressed with the 625 Wh Bosch PowerTube battery life, I still had half of the battery life after railing on the highest assistance level for over an hour.

All in all it added up to be an experience that I’ve been ecstatic about since, turns out eMTB racing is just as hard as normal bike racing, just different. In future eMTB races I really hope to be on some variation of the Bosch Performance Line mid-drive motor, the hour and a half of riding as hard as I could on it really sold me on its capabilities and quality.

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