Destry’s ISDE Race Story; Figueira Da Foz, Portugal

 I’m writing this on my flight back to the states and it’s hard to remember how everything went down during the 6-days of racing, but I’ll try my best. The first 5-days we rode around 130-miles each day. Day 1 and 2 were the same course, and days 3 and 4 were also the same course. On day 5 we had new trails, then it was only 50-miles on day 6 to the final MX track. Portugal had a lot of variety of trails and tests. Half of the tests were sand, and then the other ones would be up in the hills which was really hardpacked and slick (more my style).
 Day 1:
 The first day Ricky and I got to start off on the same minute, because we were both in the E2 class and they went by countries on the first day. We started every day in the town of Figueira Da Foz and then road out of town. The very first test of the day was only about 5-miles out, and it was a full sand test. I told RD I was going to start a few seconds behind him in the test, so I could key off him (he’s a really good sand rider). I took off about 5-second behind, but as soon as I got to the first corner my front end knifed and I went down. I couldn’t believe I went down in the very first corner! I picked it up and started pinning it. Halfway into the (8-minute test) I saw RD getting up from his crash, and was right behind him when he got going again. We had a good pace going, and then something went wrong with his bike so he pulled over in the test. I was able to finish the rest of the test and still had a pretty good test time. I sat there for a little bit, and waited for Ricky, but he never came and I finally had to take off. I heard later at the next check that he was having clutch problems, and looked to be out of the race. Definitely not the way we wanted to start out the ISDE! We had seven tests every day (besides the last day) and all the rest of my tests were pretty good. At the end of the day I was in 21st overall, and I believe 10th in the highly competitive E2 class. I was actually happy to be doing that well for the first day. I usually start out slow, and work my way up towards the front after a couple days. 
 Day 2:
 They started 3 of us every minute and now the starting order went by your overall score, so I was on minute 7. This was really cool, because all the guys that I was riding around were really good and knew what they were doing. My first two tests went pretty good, but the sand tests were really rough after already riding through them twice the first day. We did two loops each day, which would add up to around 130-miles. On the third test I went down twice, and was pretty mad at myself. Both of the crashes were just really dumb and I was picking bad lines. Then the 4th test (which was the first test of the day where David Knight crashed out of the race) was really rough and whooped out. I went out pretty hard and was probably pushing it harder then I should’ve been. There was this fast straightaway and I was in last gear pinned, then I had a massive swap and went flying off the bike. It happened so quick and I can’t remember the last time I went flipping through the air like that. I thought I was done flipping and when I straightened my body up I hit the ground right on the back of my helmet. It never knocked me out since I knew I was still in a test, but I was really dizzy and it knocked the wind out of me. After about 30-seconds I got up, but was confused at which way I was supposed to go and didn’t know where my bike was. There were a ton of people running over to help me.
I knew I needed to at least finish the test, and try not to ruin it for the team. I tried not to lose much time during the test, but I got passed by quite a few riders and was hurting. At the end of the test, I just pulled over and sat there for a little bit. I can tell you if this was a normal race, at home, I would’ve been done (for sure). After resting for a few minutes I trail road to the next check and still made it on time, but my equilibrium was off and I struggled on the trail. At the next check I was able to take a few minutes to rest and take some stuff to help me out. About a hour later my head started to feel better and I felt ok on the bike, besides being on the really sore side. All the rest of the tests went ok, but my main goal was to just keep it on two wheels and not crash again. At the end of the day I went from 21st OA to 37th or 39th. I really wasn’t happy about that since I lost a couple minutes that day. 
 Day 3:
 I was pretty bummed not to be starting at the front, but then again I was really lucky to be still racing! I was still on the sore side, but Dr. McGee was able to help me out with some meds to take the edge off without affecting me mentally. The best part about this day was it was different from the first two and the tests were more hard pack today. The first few tests actually went pretty good and the trail section was fun, but way sandier then the first two days. Going out on the second loop I went down in one of the tests, but it was just a slide out and I didn’t lose a huge amount of time. This time the really cool sand transfer sections started to turn into some big sand whoops that went on for miles at a time. My back would start to get sore and I would have to slow down and roll some, then I would pick it back up and just hit the faces of the other ones. After the two really HUGE sand whoop sections, we would get into some cool hard pack hill sections that had awesome views. For the most part day 3 went pretty well considering the way the day before went. I think I moved up somewhere around 34th OA after day 3. It’s so hard to make up time on these guys up front, since they don’t make too many mistakes.
 Day 4:
 I was starting to slowly move up in the OA again and was close to Timmy Weigand and Russell Bobbitt’s starting time, so I got to see them at some of the tests and checks. This was a pretty good day for me besides two small crashes in the tests we had. It’s hard to try and push it as fast as you can and not make many mistakes. Luckily they were both small ones, where my front end would just washout. We all had to run ISDE DOT tires here, which are like half the size of nobbies we would run at home and they’re hard to get used to. Overall I felt pretty good on the bike, and felt like my speed was getting better again. I can tell you that the cool sand section on day three turned into the BIGGEST, NASTIEST SAND WHOOPS I’ve ever rode through. I can’t even explain to someone how big they were and how long they went for. We were all happy when we got through those sections. I’ve never had my legs and lower back burn so bad before!
 Day 5:
 Today I think I moved up to 29th OA and was on the same minute as my USA teammate Timmy Weigand (he was 30th OA). We had a lot of fun riding together and would be checking out each others scores after each test. On the first lap of day 5, Timmy was riding right behind me in a sand section that had a lot of tree roots. Then suddenly I saw him disappear, and figured he went down. I slowed down and then a guy from Spain said he was ok and was coming, so I figured I’d meet him at the check. When Timmy showed up his pinky and hand were really bloody, and you could see he was missing part of his pinky. The Dr.’s came over and looked at it to see what they could do. I took off so I could make it on my minute, and when he didn’t make it to our minute I figured he was done. He ended up toughing it out and got back on and road again. He dropped two trail minutes, but I was pumped to see him ride through the pain like that. As far as my day went, everything was really good besides the last test on the beach. I came into a hard left hand corner, and my front end went into the berm and I went down. I lost a little time, but kept the bike running. I was thinking I was finally going to finish a day without crashing in a test! I still was able to finish the day out pretty well and moved up to 25th OA (13th E2). 
 Day 6:
 This is always the best day of the ISDE! I love to moto and I’ve been looking forward to this day. We had a 50-mile trail ride up to the track and this is the same MX track where they held a World MX GP earlier in the year. Today the starting order was a lot different then before, and would send us out in the order we were currently ranked in our class. Russell Bobbitt was on my minute and we were riding one of the sandy sections up to the moto, but some of the sections were the same as days 3 and 4 which were those HUGE SAND WHOOPS. There was a check halfway up to the track, and I showed up a little early and was waiting for Russell. He came in and I knew something was wrong. Unfortunately he had crashed and separated his AC joint (I’ve done this one before). The Jr. Trophy Team was running 3rd OA and he knew he needed to keep going to have a shot at getting them on the podium, since David Kamo was out from bike issues earlier in the week. The last section had a lot of roads and I told Russell I would just follow him all the way to the MX track to make sure he made it there. He toughed it out and made it there without losing any time before the check. Dr. McGee gave him a shot so he could race the final moto and help out the JR. team.

 I was in the fast E2 main (which had the top 24 riders in the class) and felt like I could get into the top 5! The MX track was one of the coolest MX tracks I’ve ever been on and I was pumped for the main! The only bad part was we only get one parade lap and then have to go out there and do our 6 lap main (which isn’t easy with only one lap to practice on it). I had a good jump and was around 8th after the first corner. By the end of lap one, I believe I was in 4th or 5th and then I was trying to pass an Italian rider when my front end washed out on an off-camber turn. It happened so quick, and I smashed my ring finger against the clutch lever and bar. It hurt really bad, but all I could think about was getting up as fast as I could. I lost quite a few spots and went back to around 12th. It was hurting to hold on and use my clutch, but I didn’t want to end my 6-days out like this. I kept pushing and was picking guys off. On the last lap, I made it up to 7th and was right behind a couple guys by the finish. When I crossed the line, I finally looked at my hand and when I saw that my glove was all bloody I knew it wasn’t good. After I impounded the bike I walked back to the US pits to see if I could find the McGee brothers. Noone was there since the E3 moto was getting ready to go off, so I went and watched Kurt Caselli and the rest of the guys pin it. When I met the guys back at the pit’s they looked at my finger, and ended up having to give me some shots to help numb it. I took off a lot of the skin from below the knuckle to the end of the nail. The nail actually came up from the back of the finger where it starts to grow. Dr. McGee had to pull on the nail and try to stick it back in at the part where it grows. I know he gave me a couple shots, but it was some of the worst pain I’ve had in a while. He ended up having to shoot it up more, before he kept working on it. After quite a few tries he wasn’t able to get it, so he ended up having to drill a little hole in it to releave the pressure. Right now the nail is just sitting on top of my finger, but it’s going to fall off here in a few days. It doesn’t look too pretty and doesn’t feel too good :huh: . After the final moto, I moved up to 11th in the E2 class and still finished 25th overall (.01 seconds behind 24th  😮 ). 
 Overall Summary:
 I was really happy to get my fourth gold medal, but didn’t feel really good about my overall performance. Coming into the race I wanted to be inside the top 20 (overall) before it was over and now I know that was a realistic goal. I lost quite a bit of time on day two (my big crash) and then it took me a little bit to get back up to speed for the next couple days. I moved up every day afterwards, but it was just too hard to get myself in the top 20 again with the speed of all these guys. I’m actually pretty surprised I was able to finish as high as I did, considering some of the things I was dealing with during the race. I did have a great time and feel I can ride sand better now then I ever have before  😀 
 Top 5 Overall:
 1st Nambotin Christophe (France)
 2nd Eero Remes (Finland)
 3rd Samuli Aro (Finland)
 4th Antoine Meo (France)
 5th Rodrig Thain (France)
 Top 8 Americans (Overall):
 7th Kurt Caselli
 25th Destry Abbott
 33rd Russell Bobbitt
 38th Nathan Kanney
 43rd Timmy Weigand
 54th Jamie Lanza
 59th Damon Huffman
 62nd Cory Buttrick
 Trophy Team Results:
 1st France
 2nd Italy
 3rd Finland
 4th Australia
 5th USA
 Jr. Trophy Team Results:
 1st Spain
 2nd France
 3rd USA
 Other Notes:
 Our Trophy Team finished a disappointing 5th overall, but with all the issues we had I was happy to finish as strong as we did. It was a huge loss to us when we lost RD on the first day too. We definitely could’ve been on the podium again, but I’m really not sure if we would’ve had anything for France. They were unbelievably fast all week!
 I really need to give a huge thanks to Jonny for building me another awesome bike. I barely had to work on it the whole 6-days, besides changing tires, oil, filters, etc.
 I know there’s way too many people to thank, but there’s quite a few that come to mind right away. Dr. McGee and his brother Spook were huge and helped all the US riders out. Then you had our team manager Jason Smigel, Jonny Weisman, Kit Kamo, David Kamo, Ashley Little, Nancy Caselli, Lanza family, Matt, Tanner, and all the volunteers that helped out at the checks.
 Next year’s ISDE is going to be down in Mexico and from what I’m hearing it’s going to be on the dry, dusty side. It should be great since it’s not that far and all the Euro’s have to travel our way. I’d like to do the ISDE one more year, and then see what happens after that. If you’ve never been to an ISDE I would highly recommend going next year to watch or to try and qualify. It’s one of my all time favorite types of racing.
 There were a lot of US riders that had to tough it out this year and ride hurt. Timmy Weigand Damon Huffman, and Russell Bobbitt all stepped up and did everything they could to finish, which couldn’t have been easy. I know there’s a lot of other riders that did the same thing too.
 Big congrats goes out to Maria Forsberg for finishing 2nd overall in the women’s class. The US women finished 4th overall as a team too.
 Thanks everyone for checking out my updates on my message board. I know there were a lot of sites that kept everyone updated too.
 I attached some photos from Kato, Ashley Little, and Steve Berkner. Thanks for helping me out with those!
 This weekend I have the last AMA H&H on Sunday in  California.
 Best Wishes,
 2009 Sponsors: Monster Kawasaki Racing, Thor, Dunlop, GPR Stabilizers, Shoei, Pro Circuit, Stephen Gall Training, SIDI, IMS, Zip-Ty,, Motion Pro, BRP, Braking, Works Connection, Concept2, CTI2, Maxima, Kicker, O’GIO, Steahly, RK/Excel, Renthal, Bent, Hinson, Jonre Multimedia,, Scott, Cyto Sport, N-Style, UNI, Parkway Chiropractic, Tire-Balls, and ZLT.

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