Brandt Lands on the Podium in Mountain Bike Season Opener, Echo Red 2 Red

Photo: Oregon Velo

The day dawned warm and sunny but fierce winds forced the racers to ride tactically, particularly so on the course’s opening gravel road sections. Brandt latched onto the leaders in the early miles of the race and as the course turned onto the singletrack, Brandt, Barry Wicks (Kona), the eventual winner, and a handful of others had built a sizable lead on the chasing pack. Brandt’s Silverado/Sunnyside Sports teammate James Williams was one of those riders in the first chase group who was fighting the wind and the early blistering pace.

Wicks rolled off the front and left Brandt and two others chasing alone, each rider separated from the other by two minutes or less. Meanwhile, Williams began to sneak past riders on the singletrack in an effort to reconnect with the front of the race. An hour and twenty minutes into the race, Williams had worked his way into fifth place and had a visual on his high-flying teammate. He would later pay for the early-season effort.

Photo: Oregon Velo

Brandt held his position and finished strong in 2 hours, 17 minutes. His efforts were rewarded with prize money and valuable series points. Williams faded in the last 30 minutes of the race and finished 10th, four minutes back from Brandt.

The rolling 28-mile Eastern Oregon race was the first of the Oregon XC Series.

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