Back on the Box for SHO-AIR / CANNONDALE
The heat was on for the Cross Country and Short Track USA National Championships at Bear Creek Mountain, July 16-20; the cross county course was intense and my preparation had turned a corner with some killer workouts; off-road motor pacing (a first!) and some killer cross-country training sessions had me pumped to tackle the race.
My start position left a lot to be desired and I was bogged in traffic on the first lap! By the end of the lap, I came thru in eighth place and thought my medal chances might be lost. Truth is, I really wanted a solid race, and so I kept my head down and pushed on. Once I hooked up with my longtime teammate and friend Alex Grant, I found some mojo.
The spectators and fans added to the excitement along the course. Some of them were kids from a mountain bike development camp I’d recently worked with. They had a piñata and I punched it hard on lap-3; it must have had some magic because my legs came back to full-strength and I surged to take over sixth place, then fifth. At that point, I knew I could get on the box. I kept pushing, and raced into third place to earn the bronze medal.
Later in the weekend, the Short Track was fun and crazy with a wild first-lap crash in front of me when Mitch Hoke put another dude into a tree. It took serious effort and some juking and jiving, but I made it up to the lead chase group of Grotts and Finsty to fight for a solid fourth-place finish!
The next weekend I followed up the Nationals with a return to big mile racing at the National Ultra Endurance Series Wilderness 101. It was sweet: the course was super-fun; riding fast and the action was great. The Rare Diseases Cycling Team with Fluge and Rob Sprig got off the front early, but my fellow Cannondale rider Keck “the Butcher” Baker got in the move. Early on, the 20-mile stretch of dirt road made it like a road race, but I marked multi-time NUE series champion “The Frenchman” Christian Tangy. My stealthy attack on the mid-race gnarly descent was just the ticket and no drafting would come into play for the rocky technical mid-piece of the race. It was a lot of time to go solo for 45 miles, but I was fired up to put down my best effort. I won in 6 hours 50 minutes – a new course record.
Now it’s time to gear up for the final races of the summer, to try to lock down the National Ultra Endurance Series and of course prep for the big adventure of the Alpine Loop Grand Fondo!
Thanks for following my summer adventures, and for cheering me along!
Team SHO-AIR / CANNONDALE