Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A weekend of of surprises!

Going into the XC nationals I thought I had a pretty good chance of winning. Only to find out on my way to the race there were some ringers showing up so I decides to just go for a top 10 finish. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t going to give up on winning I was just trying to be a little more realistic. The course was pretty fun with some good technical sections and good climbs. There were a couple parts of the course that could have been better, the first was the start, about an 18% grade with no time to get momentum (this is also where the feed zone was). Second was the final descent, at least 2 miles of trail that was “built” in the week(s) leading up to the race by riders following flags through the woods. Needless to say every time you rode the “trail” it was different, and the holes and moon dust were deeper.

The race started off slower than I had expected, except for Jake and Dejay going off the front. I was able to get in the lead group and cruse with the four others all the way to the top of the first lap. From there things got spread out and I stayed in fourth or fifth place the rest of the day, finishing in 5th. I missed out on the win by about 5 minutes but at least 3 of the 4 in front of me were Pros. So I feel pretty good with A 5TH place finish.

After the race I turn my lack of focus to the short track race that will happen on Sunday(if they have a course ready). Nobody knew what the course would be when I asked around on Saturday. It turns out they had a 200 yard trail they were using then they taped off the rest of the course through the sage brush and a grassy ski slope.

I showed up at the start line 10 minutes before the 10:45 start time only to find out that my age group had been pushed back to 11:30. SO MUCH FOR WARMING UP… thanks USA Cycling. I sat around for a while and talked to some folks and watched a couple other races, then decided to head over to the course to try and do another lap before the race started only to hear over the loud speaker: “the course is closed until we say it is open!”. So I waited, watching the starting line. Then all of the sudden with no announcement that the “course was open” the start line was three deep and I was the only one not there. Well the plan for the day was to get a great fast workout, and I had my work cut out for me. Instead of trying to work my way into the group I decided to line up 15 feet behind the group and wait for a hole to open up.

The gun went off and I was already rolling, it took less than 50 meters for the hole to open. I had a clear shot up the grass next to the single track as all the people on 26” wheels were scared move off the groomed path. At the top of the climb I had moved from off the back to about 8th position, and was feeling good. Each of the next three laps I picked off a couple people on the climb then recovered on the descent. Once I caught the leader I sat on his wheel for about a lap then made my move with two laps togo. He couldn’t respond to my pace up the hill and I never saw him again rolling across the finish line for and easy win and my third national title. So I have now won the 100 national series, the marathon and Short track. Kind of a weird combo, I always though it would be tough to win a XC championship. I never even thought I would be anywhere near the front of a short track race.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where in the World

Brief run down of what has been going on and what is coming up.

The firecracker 50, Marathon Nationals, were a week and a half ago. it was an OK race but the altitude got the best of me. I didn't expect to win the Pro race as I am only an armature according to USA cycling, But I gave it my best shot. I ended up 17Th, which I guess is pretty good for the national championships. I can't wait until they move the Marathon Nationals to a manageable elevation(XC nationals too).

We took a week down in Fort Collins and Boulder to ride and check out the area as we think we are going to settle in CO sometime this winter. There is a ton of great riding in Fort Collins and housing costs are fairly reasonable right now. I hear there is good Sushi there too, I have to check that out next week.

Right now I am up in Granby, CO for the XC nationals. it should be an interesting race... It could go so many ways. the trails are pretty fun, at least the ones that are more than a couple weeks old! the "NEW!" descent at the end of the lap changes every few riders, we'll just say there will be a lot of moon dust and breaking holes on that "trail", on the bright side it almost has a flow... but not really. USA Cycling if you read this: Why in the world are the national championships being held on a trail that was built by people pre-riding(pre-building) the course in the weeks leading up to the event. Why not hold it on an established trail system, or build it far in advance. I really think it's unfair that we have to pay good money to race a trail we have to build...

So, there is my soap box, if you can't tell I'm a little burnt on the races I've done lately. At least let us make some money if we are riding "spectator friendly race courses" or why don't we make racer and spectator friendly courses...

I've decided not to do the rest of the NUE, to much driving for too little payback on OK race courses. Hopefully after racing in Canada for 5 days of sweet singletrack I will be re energized.

Picture of the sunsets we were treated to in Breckenridge.