After a tough weekend at Sea Otter and a week of wondering where my legs
went, I now find myself brimming with optimism after some good races at
the opening Mountain States Cup in Fruita, CO. Never have I been more
able to relate to the idea that you’re only as good as your last race.
The weekend began with a 15 minute-ish time trial, which consisted of a
hard, though technically easy climb followed by a twisty, bermed-out
descent that left everyone at the finish line with big grins. I went so
hard up the climb and was so numb with lactic acid that I had to dab and
run a section that was about as difficult as riding up a curb. Not a pro
move by any means, but I think that bobble gave me the necessary scare to
completely push myself to the finish and get the win. The day was made
even sweeter when I checked the web and saw that Andy and Amanda had won
their respective 50 and 100 mile races. I suspect they were a lot more
tired than me. Lots of water, Recoverite, and a Chipotle burrito later,
I was excited and ready for Sunday’s XC.
If I didn’t know most of the pro men personally, I at least knew who
almost everybody was, which made the race—a huge 30-mile loop of mostly
technical singletrack—feel like a fun, albeit really hard, mountain bike
ride with a bunch of friends. The first few miles of rolling jeep trail
were pretty chaotic, but before long, I found myself riding out front with
Cannondale teammates Ben Sontag and Alex Grant, my podium mates from the
day before. I lost contact with them over some rough stuff only to
re-gain it later, thanks in large part to pacing by Colorado legend Jay
Henry. Just as I was starting to get excited about my prospects, I felt
the sinking feeling (literally and figuratively) of a slow leak in my
rear-tire. The sharp rocks and high speeds had finally gotten the best
of me. My Stans mostly did its job, and I made it to the finish after a
few Big Air blasts and some tire shaking. I was a little bit bummed but
mostly happy to have re-discovered the fitness that seemed to have been
missing at Sea Otter.
I’ve always found myself motivated more by good races than by bad ones, so
I’m now looking forward to some hard chunks of training before the next
big race, which will be the Triple Crown race in Nathrop, CO.