Spring Swing

Instead of making excuses about not blogging because the intensive process of writing, I will now attempt the impossible (for me): a micro blog recapping all the recent racing and events.

Back in March you followed along as I checked in with live updates from the Cape Epic. That race in a nutshell: it represented the very best of teamwork and preparations, but resulted in a very poor placing. It was definitely not the performance we wanted, but we worked really hard and learned several new recipes for humble pie – and found most pair well with South African wine.

Nonetheless, added some incredible memories to my collection: The orange swirl of the dust sent flying by the wind of helicopter blades created a scene like that of a Desert Storm movie, and it would set the mood for Stages 3 and 4; I won’t forget the camera moto that spun head over end next to our dirt peloton. Plastic bits from the crash sprayed me, and my ears rang as I winced to avoid viewing the carnage from the wreck.

The action and the drama of the Epic are real! Athletes in full peak ride the highs, and others who are barely surviving each day experience the lows. We experienced a bit of it all. The days are transient and a moving camp supports the entire event. We have trouble downing our breakfast food at 4:30 a.m. because of stomachs-turned-trash-compactors. Erik was woozy from bee sting medication after an encounter with a killer bee that had him swollen and sore for days. There is a special kind of thirst you only get in 110+ degree-days, and when those days turn into freezing cold nights spent in tents… you must be doing something epic.

I did love riding the Cape Epic trails with Erik, and I took a few moments to absorb the vast sun-cooked environment of mesas and jagged mountains with lakes of sand and salt-swept farms.

Hugs and thanks to the staff: Gio, Paul, Torsten, Dirk, Peter, Craig, and Rosanna for all the dedication and energy they put into the race and the care they provided us. Over 25% of the teams didn’t make to the finish this year, but we did so that’s something.

Back stateside and Cape Epic memories still looping in my head, I rested. Legs battered 8 days in a row shrunk down from elephant cankles to normal. It was about the worst jet lag ever – like a space travel after suspended animation thaw, I imagined. You know you’re wrecked when you go to grab a spoon to eat your yogurt and you look up and realize you’re standing in the bathroom? Uh, oh.

I did recover after a week of slow-mo and few beers. My kids had Spring Break so Erin, Conrad, Bea and I went to Bath County Virginia’s Homestead resort for a couple relaxing family days including fishing with the kids, a nice fancy dinner, and champagne on the house. I blasted some local Strava KOMs and felt back to full power for the first time in April!

The Harris Roubaix gravel road race was short and sketchy! I got away on the last lap for the win. Erin, the kids and I painted Easter eggs, ate chocolate and rolled around in the flowers. Ah spring, but the allergies were wicked.

Conquer the Hill was a good tough test. This race could have been called “turn, brake, sprint, drops, berms, then climb steep short hills 200 times.” Yeah, it was pretty tiring but fun. I won after attacking on my friend – as only friends do – with ruthless abandon. Mr Keck Baker was mean on the track, I thanked him for the sparring session and hope he will return the attack on a future training ride.

Now I’m in a 3-week block of racing my spring swing. Sea Otter Classic was a successful launch for Canyon in the USA. It was great visiting with the fans and media.

Whiskey 50 was a barn-burner with a world-class field. My teammate Kristian Hynek battled the Specialized armada. We attacked; got attacked on; fought dust, dangerous trails, and huge climbs; and raced strong, but not consistent. We did net 3rd and 5th places for some cash and cool whiskey flasks.

Next stop on the pain train is Arkansas for USAC Marathon National Championships to sample the region’s pork BBQ and single track that I hear is outstanding.  A step on the podium? Stay tuned for the next exciting installment on my fun full-gas spring swig.

For Team Topeak-Ergon, I’m Jeremiah Bishop.

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