Flat tire at Snowbasin race can’t dampen Davis Lance’s spirits
By Jon Yorgason
Sept. 29–Ever had one of those days where everything was going just right, only to have it all come crashing down when you least expect it?
Davis Lance had an experience like that last Saturday.
Lance, a senior at Morgan High School and the only varsity rider on Morgan’s Mountain Biking Club, was competing in the second race of the season – a grueling 15-mile course at Snowbasin with nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain. After an impressive ninth place finish at Powder Mountain two weeks earlier, Lance was hoping for an even better result at Snowbasin, MHS’s home course.
After two laps Lance was in 10th place, but only a few seconds behind a pack of riders directly in front of him. Plus, his second lap was 18 seconds faster than his first, putting him in excellent position for a top six or seven finish.
But as Lance approached the top of the ascent on his final lap, disaster struck.
“I was going up and got through the rock garden, and I was just about to take the turnoff,” Lance said. “But then I hit a rock in a bad place and my tire just popped.”
With a flat front tire, Lance knew immediately that his opportunity for finishing the race near the top of the leaderboard was gone. With seemingly nothing to race for, Lance could have easily exited the course and called it a day. Instead, he hopped off his bike, grabbed his handlebars, and started running, determined to complete the final three miles on foot.
“It was personal motivation,” Lance said, explaining why he decided to continue. “I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to finish this race. I am not quitting right here.’ I had a couple of course marshalls ask me if I wanted to pull myself out of the race, but I said, ‘No, I have to finish.’”
More than 30 minutes after the top riders were done, Lance’s race finally came to a conclusion. He rode across the finish line on a bike he borrowed from a race official a few hundred yards from the end of the course. The frustration on Lance’s face was evident as he entered the chute. A race that started with so much promise ended in bitter disappointment.
“I worked so hard to get to where I was,” Lance said. “Just to think of what I could have done if I hadn’t flatted is really disheartening.”
Not surprisingly, though, Lance found positives in his misfortune, even as he watched rider after rider pass him on the course.
“The mountain bike community is super supportive,” he said, “and they understand what it’s like to get a flat. When they pass you, they shout words of encouragement to you. Most of them have been there. They understand what it’s like to get pulled out of a race due to a mechanical (issue) or a flat tire or a crash. It makes it a whole lot easier to swallow when people understand where you’re coming from.”
Morgan head coach Cade Erickson was equally upbeat.
“Davis was able to finish the race, which was awesome,” Erickson said. “The game was over. There was nothing that was in his favor to finish the race except for a personal commitment to finish. When something happens to you that’s really not your fault, but it affects your outcome, that’s the most frustrating part about both mountain biking and life. But he got over it. He couldn’t control what happened to him, but he could control his attitude.”
“I feel like your worst race is where you learn the most,” Lance added. “Although it’s hard for your morale, it gives you so much greater feeling when you bounce back from it. That’s where motivation sort of finds you. You want to prove yourself.”
Despite Lance’s tough day, league rules allow a rider to drop their slowest time of the regular season. So if all goes well over his next couple of races, he could still be in good position heading into the state championship in Cedar City in November.
Top five finishers for Morgan boys at Saturday’s race included Porter Hawkes (second place in the JV race); Jackson Telford (fifth in the sophomore race) and Sage Venz (fifth in the freshman race). Avery Wallin was Morgan’s top girls’ finisher, coming in sixth in the freshman race.