I drove up to Irvine (So Cal) Friday afternoon with Tj Woodruff and his new wife Chole which was a blast. I got to the race course at about 8pm and hopped on the bike to get a few laps in. The course was super rad. I was a little bummed considering that I practiced my barrier bunny hopping the last few weeks only to find the barriers here at the minimum distance which meant a no bueno on my bunny hop chances. Besides that the course was killer.
The first day I raced jr elite then cat 1/ pro non uci race the following day. The jr race was stelar. I had a few Guys in there that I usually raced on the mtb bike that I knew where super fast and give me a run for my money. I was stoked to get the chance to rock my new Hammer nutrition skin suit and 2012 rx1 BH cross bike. I had it all going for me and it was just up to me to have the legs. As soon as the gun went off I clipped in right away thanks to my new crank bros candy pedals and was able to get the whole shot. By the end of the first lap it was another kid and I in the lead group with a man only ten or so seconds back. I was handling the techy corners better than the guy I was with and in one of the sketchiest corners he went down allowing me to get a fifteen or so second gap which I was able to add on as the came to an end. It's always hard being off on the front by yourself time trailing trying to stay away. Luckily, I was able to hold them off and get the win. My new pre race nutrition of hammer race cap supreme an hour before the race along with a warm up bottle with hammer fizz lemon lime flavor gave me the perfect power for the race. Also, I talking to TJ before the race and changed my warm up routine helped me feel amazing right of the bat. Super thanks goes out the Mr. Tj for the perfect pre race formula. I knew if I just applied this knew perfection pre race for tomorrow i would be golden.
On Sunday I raced the cat 1/ pro non UCI and it was amazing. It would be my first cat 1 race and I was stoked. With a pretty stacked field I knew I'd have to do something special. With the race being somewhat overcast yet sunny, I went with my transition lens for my Oakley radars. They Had to be the ultimate choice for the day giving me that extra edge. Once again I got a great start and hit the first corner second wheel eventually passing second and broke away from the field. After two laps it was just two of us with a fifteen second gap on third and twenty on fourth. Once again I was stronger on the acceleration and techy parts, but had to work on the flat. The whole race we went back and forth. I found I was a bit faster on the sand run and considered it to be my last lap attack section. On the last lap I did just that, I didn't drop him, but put some major hurt on him. With three corners to go I was right on his wheel and with two corners two go I made a super gnarly move/ past on his inside causing some super contact and elbow battling and some how came out on top and got the gap. As crazy as it was, I was able to get the win again. It was insanity. I defiantly have to through a huge thanks out to Oakley, Hammer nutrition, BH bikes, Shimano, and Crank brothers. Also a huge thanks goes out to TJ Woodruff for helping me with my new warm up plan causing my legs to feel absolutely amazing. That guy defiantly knows what he's talking about. Next stop, AZ Cross #1!!!
Mountain Bike Nationals was finally here. My 7 months of training was about to be tested in 15 seconds. Go!!! The start of the race went great, I was third going into the 10min climb and was ready to rock. Slowly my legs were starting to, well... lets just say they were feeling like a word that rhymes with Sit. I have had starts like this before and knew I had to just keep fighting through it and it would go away. By about mid climb my legs started to come back and by this time I was in about tenth. From this point on I moved up to 8th before he single track and was only seconds away from the main group. Half way down my chain didn't just fall off, but rapped around my cranks turning it into a crazy Chinese puzzle. After solving the craziness i was back on the bike in 20th. From here I hauled butt on the flat and the next climb to get back to tenth. I was stoked, even though I was at a VO2 max getting back I still had a chance. I recovered on the down to pretty much full recover when on the one place on this very untechnical course you could flat, i did. I jumped off the bike and sprinted all the way to the pits. By this time I felt like I just raced a 24 hour solo race and had absolutely nothing left in the tank. My national goals were demolished, but in a weird was I was still happy. After being out of competition for 7weeks with my broken collarbone I was able to come back and still battle with the best. The following weekend was the Missula Pro XCT was it was killer. Easily the best US course we had all year. Unfortunately this race went just like my start at nationals, but luckily no flats and by the end of the race I found my legs and was able to hold on for fourth. The whole week leading up to the race was amazing. Hammer nutrition set us up at a house and transported us to the race and gave us an amazing experience. Plus I found a new love with the Hammer Fizz lemon lime. New race fuel, I think so!
This past weekend I traveled to Windham, New York to race for the USA National team at the World Cup. Finally, I was getting the second chance I was waiting for after breaking my collarbone at the Offenburg World Cup in Germany just six weeks prior. I flew out of the blisterning heat that was currently Pheonix Thurday morning to arrive that afternoon and meet up with the rest of the U.S guys at the National Team condo where we were staying at. I was a little worried about the elevation of the course considering I live at only 2,000 ft, and I believe the race was at 6,000 ft. Luckly I was able to go to Flagstaff for five days or so to get some what used to the elevation change that was sure to meet me in Windham. Once I got to the team house I started to build my bike right away so I could sneek a little ride in to flush the legs out from the traveling. As I started to build my bike I quickly realized that I had forgotten my stem in my garage and needed to think of something quick. Luckly I rolled down to the Subaru Trek guys and they were able to help a kid out. Being apart of the Trek family is a pretty amazing and helpful thing. Once I finally got my bike built I went on a beautiful spin around the town and checked out the start of the race course. It was about 400 yards of pavement to fireroad before the single track hit. The next morning I headed off to the course to to get a few laps in and find all the right lines. The course was super sick! Not exactly as rooted and technecal as a Euro World Cup course, but was deffinatly one of my favorite U.S courses. It was a up and down course for sure. Climb up and up with a few small technical downs and then once you got to the top of the ski resort/ lift, then it became some awesome downhillin fun. I noticed the lenses I had in my Oakley Jawbones were a little to dark for the tree sections, so I was able to meet up with Mr. Blick (Oakley man of all men), and talked about what would be a solid lense for this course. I ended up going to the Lighter Oakley Transition lense and it was the perfect lense for the course. The great part about it was how fast it was able to change tint/ lense darkness and with how often we were going in and out of treet became super helpful quick. It was crazy hpw one minute you were in darkness, and the next you were getting blinded by the sun. I later went back to the house and put on my recovery socks and put on my Compex machine to get some much needed recovery going. After using the Compex my legs felt so fresh that it almost felt like cheating. After an amazing prerace dinner, I headed off to bed. The morning of the race I was filled with excitment and nerves. Luckly it was more excitment than anything else. About an hour before the start I jumped on my bike and started on my warm up. WIth five minutes to go I was in the call up box waiting to hear my name. I started two spot from last so I knew it was going to have to be a passing day. With fifteen seconds to go the starting gun can go off at anytime and boy is the heart rate going. The gun went off and I entered one of the hardest hour of racing in my life. The start pace wasn't all that much faster than the US races I had been doing all year, the only difference was that they never slowed down. I didn't have my greatest start and ended up getting boxed inn, but once we got to a little more open spot, I made my move. Trying to get what seemed like no oxygen in the air, I powered away, giving all I could to get by as many people as I could before the single track. I was able to get up a few spots before the the major climb hit, and man it hit hard. The rest of the race I basically road with two kids from the Canadian National team while togther we were trying to pass as many people as we could while at the same time fighting eachother for the lead. During the secong lap I notice my cleat feeling super loose and my front tire/ wheel feeling loose aswell in the corners. After the race I found out that my cleat came loose causing it to go up and down on my shoe and that my front screwer broke, go figure. Luckly I didn't let it slow me down too much and I just kept on pinning it. With one lap to go I attacked on the final part of the climb and dropped both of the Canadians. All that I had to do was to keep the rubber side down on the rocky downhills to the finish. Once I crossed the finish line I was super stoked. I eneded up 13th and got some much needed UCI points. Next time I should get a much better call up for sure. Overall I was stoked on my World Cup race despite a few mishaps and letting the altitude get to me a little. All was good and I was ready get some food and pass out only to be hit with the same kind of effort next weeked. Next stop US National Championships!!!!!!
The Sea Otter Classic is one of the biggest races if not the biggest race in the US. This year I was able to experience the craziness that is Sea Otter. I left home for the race on Tuesday being my race was on Friday. This was a big change from my racing I have been doing in the Pro XCT's which have been on Sunday. I was super excited for this race all year and finally it was time to shine. I rode the course on Wednesday and was able to figure out what I needed to do to kill it when race time comes. This races was not going to be like the US cups at all. Instead of a 6-8 mile lap being done three times, this was one long 20 mile lap which had tons or fire road. There wasn't too much single track, and when there was there was absolutly no passing. I figured my nutrition was going to be two bottles and two Hammer Apple-Cinnamon gels that would keep me going for the whole race. I would have Hammer Heed in the bottles and make sure they where nice and cold for this for sure hot race the following day. I started front row which didn't really matter because the first part of the lap was on the race track and no one wanted to pull. So it turned into a parade lap until about 200 yard to the first dirt section and then it be came an all out sprint. For the first quarter of the race I had a hard time finding my legs. Once I got on top of the super steep climb about three miles in(aka the wall), something clicked and I was ready to fly. I saw my teammate Ryan only 30 or 40 sec ahead of me and I knew I needed to catch him so we could work together on this course. Drafting was a huge factor in the race. If you were all alone you were done. I caught Ryan about 6 miles in and worked together for a little while giving each other a much needed break. At this point the group of three of four of us were fighting for fourth. One of the kids attack making me have to give everything I had to cover it. Near the end of the race there is about two or three miles of all fire road with some super gnarly climbs. I was able to stay with fourth all the way to the last climb. We had a great battle going, but on the last part he launched an attack that I was worried to cover because I didn't know how far we had till the end. I was afraid if I cover it and found out we had another 2 miles I would of been screwed. Of course the final descent was on top of the hill and I just let go of the breaks and hoped for the best. I finished the race in 5th and was super stoked. There was a total of 30 kids which is super rare.
My Trek 9.8 Elite was stellar for the course I loved how snappy I was able to be up the steep climbs were other kids were losing a ton of time. Another huge factor in the race was my all white Oakley Radars with Photochromic/ Transition lensess (http://www.oakley.com/products/6273/22889) which worked amazing. On this course we would be in dark trees at one point, then looking right into the sun at another. With the Photochromic changing constantly, I never was distracted my my sun or my lens being too dark in the shade. After the race I was able to check out all the cool vendors. Hammer nutrition is the biggest reason why I am not on the side of the trail cramping after crazy races like this one because they have every thing a racer need to keep them going in their race. From Ledville, to a fun weekend ride with your bros, Hammer has the nutrition for you. Defiantly check out Hammers new solids. They r made too keep you going after that 2 1/2- 3 hour mark. All you do is pop it in your mouth and let the fuel take you from there. Over all I had an amazing time at my first year in Sea Otter!!! I can wait for next year already. Now, its time to kick some butt at the Whiskey off road race in two weeks with my teammates from azDevo.
AZ State Series #1, 24 Hours in The Old Pueblo, and AZ State Series#2
This years Equipment
So far this year I have been rinding my new White with black jaw and STPL OAKLEY JAWBONES. My lenses that are pretty much going to be my got to lenses this season are the Jade Iridium Vent. I am riding a Trek 9.9 Elite hard tail with full shimano components.
Its Febuary 2011 and its time to start my world Champ Qualifying season. Our first state series race was on my home course. I was super ready for this race, I had been training harder than ever and was as fast as I was at my peak last year. My new team AZ Devo was overpowering in the race. There was about 5 of us in the catagory and we were all resy to show what we have been doing in the off season. This season I was racing on our team sponsored bike, Trek. I am riding the 9.9ssl elite which is easly the greatest bike I have ever riden. As soon as the gun when off I was able to clip in right away and be second into the single track. In the first five minutes it was a group of me and three other of my teamates. I jumped infront on the major downhill because I knew if there was one place I had a disadvantage was on this downhill. The other guys either hasd a 29er or a full suspention. As we came through the first lap I attacked again to be up front for the beginig of the major tech climb. I put out a hard pace to see if I could crack anyone and was able to shorten the group into three guys. The lap when on the same as before and going on our final lap we stayed together on the climb only to have my teamate attack a minute later. I cover his attck but lost out teamate resulting in the race coming down to the two of us. He was keeping the pace hard and I was able to keep it in a ten second gap. I was feeling great all the way to the lond decent. My teamate Ryan is a super downhiller and I couldnt match his skills. I finish not far behind him, but put a 6 minute gap on to third place. I was stoked on the result and ready for Pro Short Track the next day.
After 20 hours of recovery, I was ready to race short track. The catagory was open men and it had some super strong guys. The course was super short and had a steep hill about half way through which I new would decide the race. As soon as the race started I got up front to avoid getting cought up behide other riders. It worked, I came through the first lap in first with a big gap on the main feild and had three guys not far behide. With how windy it was I let them catch up to save energy and from then on I satyed in and recoverd. On the last lap I sprinted and got up front before the hill. As soon as I got on top of the hill I went all out and never looked back. I finished first with a 20 sec gap. The plan worked amazing. this gave me great confidence for the season.
24hrs in The Old Pueblo
I am always excited for when Old Pueblo comes around. I was part of winning 5 man coed team last year and was ready for another win. My team this year was stacked. I was the lucky enough to be picked to do the running start. The first lap had all the fast guys such as Bradiy Kappius and Ben Sonntag. Once the race started I ran as fast as I could to avoid getting stepped on. Some how I was in the top ten getting onto the bikes and was in the lead group. Since it was so windy were ended up pace lining the whole time. About half way through I fell off to about 10sec behide due to a crazy attack by one of the pros. At this time sontag cought me and we were ablt to work back up to the front. Problem was once we got back up to the leaders, he didnt stop going hard and Kappius and I fell off. From here we worked together all the way to the last major climb at the finish. On the climb I kept the speed high and was able to fly up no problem. I cam into the first lap in 5th or 6th and my teamate went out for the second lap. My lap came in at 1:01 which was the 7th fastest lap of the whole weekend. From here my next three laps went as followed; 1:12(Got the crazy wind/rain/ice lap), 1:06, and finally 1:06. Our team won the race with over an hour over second place. I couldn't beleive that it was over and couldn't wait to sleep for 12hrs.
White Tanks State Series #2
The last State race I ended up second and was happy yet ready for the win. As soon as this race started I was up front ready to cover any attack. On the first decent, I jumped up front to set the pace. There was three of us that already had a small gap. Things wer going great all the way to my rear tire going flat. I jumped off the bike to through some air in it and realized I a huge tear in the tire. I had to spend the next four minutes putting the tire in and then got on the bike and hammered the rest of the lap. I sprinted like no other hoping to catch the main group. I hit same area that I flatted the previous lap and took a differnet line to avoid the another flat, but by some greater force I flatted at the exact same spot. Unfortunately my race was over and I was left with three mile run back to the venue. I was bumed out, but I guess its better to flat at a local race than at a nation one. Bonelli Pro XCT here I come.