I have raced the Nathrop, CO Mountain States Cup for about as long as I’ve
been racing bikes, but this year the race had a distinctly different feel.
There were more not-so-local pros, more stickered up team trailers, and
the prospect of more prize money, all thanks to the race’s inclusion in
the US Triple Crown of Mountain Biking. All of these were welcome
changes, and I felt pretty lucky to have such a quality race within a
couple of hours from home.
Both the short track and cross-country were unique in that they featured
windy road sections that leant themselves to road tactics. In Saturday’s
short track, I found myself riding towards the front with Jeremy HK and
Sid Taberlay. In that company, I figured the odds of winning weren’t in
my favor so I had nothing to lose by attacking. In retrospect, I’m not
sure I played my cards perfectly, but I ended up third, which was right up
there among my best short track results, so I have no regrets.
Sunday’s cross-country was similarly road-tactics heavy, and I felt
similarly out of my element. Nonetheless, I was pleased with my fitness
and I couldn’t have been more confident in my equipment, including my
Kenda Small Block 8’s. In the end, I got fourth after coming up short in
a sprint against Sid. This race was hopefully a good primer for the
Mellow Johnny’s classic, which apparently features similar terrain, but
much denser, hotter air. Too bad all high quality races can’t take place
in my beloved thin Colorado air.