Friday, December 28, 2012

Three Weekends of Mud, Sweat, and Pain.

    The month of December has consisted of cyclocross, rain, and travel. Its one thing to race back to back weekends, but when you combine last row starts and sloppy/ sluggish mud, you get me, a exhausted college student who is tired of washing the mud off his bike. Which of course brings us to the second weekend of cross in Bend, Oregon.
    There is a handful of races that have it all, and Bend is one of them. The course always has some awesome techy lines filled with amazing spectators that have to contemplate between a cold beer or a hot coffee. The town of Bend itself is worth the trip. If you love the outdoors its pretty much like disneyland. To top it all off, Oregon is the place of my really... my awesome family is from Portland!     

Thursday morning at a very early 3am, I woke up and headed to the airport to catch a flight to Oregon on a plane that couldn’t fit under a freeway overpass.... It was a very very small plane and shouldn’t be legal!!! Anyways, once we made it to the race I built the bike and shredded what was a very techy CX course. Day one of racing was super harsh. Started dead last and had to move up in the most gnarly spots. This worked well till I hit the deck a few times while passing guys on the outside of turns. Was stoked yet frustrated. The next day was the same story with a dead last start and gnarly passing, but this time it worked in my favor. Moved up 30 plus spots and finished on the lead lap from a dead row start which made for a satisfying finish.

   After a week with the Oregon family eating a ton of holiday food, it was time to go do some work at the last AZ cross races ending with the AZ CX state champs. Once again, Saturday consisted of the sticky mud that I was getting too familiar with. After the first lap of the race, I realized the winner was going to be the one who didn’t crash and was able to ride all the tech sections. Somehow, this person was me. Being being able to switch bikes and ride the course perfectly set me up perfect for the win. The new BH RX Team doesn't just have new amazing geometry, but with the lower BB, it stays cleaner and less bogged up. This is due to the mud that is being thrown off the front wheel to hit the lower down tube instead of in the fork/ front brake calipers. If you can only have one CX bike for the season, the BH RX Team is your bike!

    Finally, the AZ State Champs. The course was somewhat punchy, but consisted of the deep wet grass that made power output crucial. I tried hopping the barriers and was actually successful, but on one of my last practice hops, I hit sideways and bent my rear der hanger. This caused some panic and raise in heart rate, but luckily we were all good one the race started. The first few laps allowed me to get into a breakaway with another guy. We hit it hard and then settled in to a medium pace the rest of the race. The course was so brutal it wasn’t even in our mind to race each other, rather to just survive the course. In the last few laps we started to attack one another to see who was the stronger guys. I found I was quite fast threw the run ups and made my move there on the last lap. I knew I was feeling strong and just kept laying down whatever power I had left till the end. Unfortunately, the guy shot around me in the last corner and kept this bike length gap to the finish. A thousand of different situations played out in my head, but no matter what other things I could have done in the race, I couldn’t change what already happened. 

    After three weeks of brutal racing, it’s nice to be home for a few weeks of building leading up to the CX nationals in Wisconsin where I am hoping it will be unseasonably warm and not frozen. Whatever the weather and course brings, I am certain I will bring some great form and excitement to race my heart out. In the meanwhile, I am going to enjoy this 65 degrees and sunny in this amazing Arizona weather!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The Journey

    Last Thursday and Friday can basically be summed up with three words, study, pack, and recover. My first finals of college were underway as well as getting ready for what was sure to be an amazing rainy weekend in LA. After I knocked out some finals and was dialed for the weekend, we then make the nice 6 hour drive to LA where we found ourselves unable to pre ride the course. It was so caked in mud that we could literally not ride for more than a half minute or so without having to scrape of ten pounds of mud from our bikes. 

     After a short pre ride, we headed to our killer hotel. We were staying at the JW Marriott on d-town right by LA Live where there was always something going down. The next morning we shared the elevator with the head coach of the LA Galaxy on our way to grab some coffee, only to then find ourselves getting distracted while passing by the outside ice skating girls that were totally checking us skinny cycling guys out. After a day of chilling at the hotel, it was off to the races.

Day 1

    It was pouring rain and I couldn’t have been happier. I don’t know if it’s because I have ridin in sandy trails growing up in AZ, but I always do well in the muddy rain. I lined up about mid pack and was ready to rock. The gun went off and before I knew it I was pinned up against the fence on the right side due to someone tipping over on the start.... REALLY?!?! So after being 10 seconds down before I even crossed the start line, I went all out to make up for lost ground. After an hour of muddy bikes and eyes, I ended up on the podium in U23 and about mid pack overall. Given the day, I was 
pretty stoked on the outcome.
Day 2  

    1 o’clock the next day, we were at it again. After finishing the race at 9:30pm and going to bed after midnight the day prior, we all were feeling a tad sore. I took some Hammer RaceCaps and then hit the rollers for a long spin to open up the legs, and before I knew it, I was ready for an hour of pain once again. This time I got a much better start. It seemed like I was the only one to not bonk during the race considering I dropped/ passed about 10 guys half way threw the race. The end of the race consisted of me battling for a top 3 in U23 only to finish just off in 4th. Just didn’t quite have the finishing kick, but the form has really come along. I then jumped in the car after the race and made the 6 hour drive home, of course being fueled by a little in and out burger on the way. Now, its home for a few days before I fly out to Bend for the last USGP. Let do it!

Monday, November 12, 2012

First Local CX Weekend

Finally, I'm home for a weekend that also consisted of some awesome local CX racing. AZ cyclocross is a great way for me to work on my weaknesses due to the fact that they are always on super fast grass and have a ton of straight aways. Being able to throw down the power is crucial here.

    The weekend started off at HammerFest CX night race. There was tons of spectators and the course was killer. These are basically the two key ingredients to any good Cross race. I lined up front row and got the whole shot. This was a must because it allowed me to be first into the sand section and ride the whole thing, giving me a instant gap. After the first lap, it was four of us in the lead. Of course our fastest AZ pro roadie threw down some massive watts on one of the flat sections and we just couldn’t match it. The race was down to 3 guys for 2nd and it was so on! 

    My legs were feeling super open and ready for this hour of pain due to a new warm up routine my coach Jim and I went over a few days before the race. I have to say, working with CTS this season has truly been amazing. Solid coaching gives confidence to a rider, and confidence produces results.

    The whole race was filled with 180 degree corner crashes, throwing elbows, and pain. In the last few corners I had a second or two gap when I hit the ground hard. I jumped back up and hauled ass to catched 2nd only to pass him after he slid out a few corners later, go figure. It was one of those races that I just rode smart and it resulted in an awesome second place.

    The next day consisted of a very fast and powerful track. This meant I had to play a more tactical game and save it for the last few laps. I railed every tech section to get a few seconds gap, then held my own on the flats. With 3 to go, an attacked was thrown down that I just didn’t have enough left in the tank to cover right on the spot. I was able to keep the gap at about 10-13 seconds by hopping the barriers and hitting every line and corner faster than I had all day. Unfortunately, this still meant second place. Man was it nice to be racing at the front of the race again. Racing the USGP meant that you are fighting for a top 30 after starting in the 60s. This totally made me even more hungry for the next USGP in Bend!

Great weekend of racing and training! Few more weeks of local cross races and interval days before heading to LACX and the USGP again. Lets do it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spooky Cross

    A quick 5 hour drive from my house and I arrived at Pomona, California for Spooky Cross. This is one of those races you can always expect to have an awesome course and an awesome experience. The hardest thing this weekend brings to the table is that you race at 8:30pm the first night, then you are quickly racing again at 4pm the next day. Your body isn’t used to racing the same time you are usually getting ready for bed.

    Personally, I have never been great at night races. It may be the fact that in Arizona you get up at the crack of dawn to ride and beat the heat, but either way, I knew I was going to give it whatever I had. I threw down a serious warm up to get my legs nice and open from a day spent in the car and settling in. I lined up second row and was ready to rock for and hour. Heart was gaining beats, and I was gaining nerves, but I took a few calming breaths and before I knew it, we we all sprinting like there was mad dog behind us. The first few laps were the worst, I had a great start, yet I was losing a place or two every few minutes. After the first lap and a half or so, my legs kicked in and so did I. I rode the rest of the race better than I have ridden any race in my life and made back some serious ground eventually finishing in 17th or 18th. I was in the money as well as taking 2nd in the U23 category. This really showed me how well my legs were coming along from all the harsh training.

    After a solid night of sleep, I was ready to do it all again. Second days of racing always sets my legs up for optimal performance and I was ready to do some work. The course didn’t change all that much, and the barriers were still very much hop-able which gave me the small advantage yet again. This year I have developed and been provided with many advantages over the competition that results in me always feeling great no matter what the day. My new 1X10 set up with my amazing Rotor Rings allows me to never drop a chain, lighten up my bike, and have the most efficient and powerful pedal stroke form the Rotor Ring which in the end, clears my head of any worries. On top of this, I’m riding my new BH RX team, with the addition of it’s new geometry, allows me to throw down the power along with shredding the corners even faster.

    I brought awesome legs to the second day of racing. I was top five in the start, but due to a crash in front of me, I was quickly sent to the back. Luckily, my legs were still ready to go and I fought all the way back to 16th or 17th place and 2nd in U23 again. I was thrilled with how the racing is going and am so ready for the biggest races ahead. Up next is the LACX races, USGP in Oregon, CX Natz, and hopefully World Champs. Now, it’s time to go home and hit up a serious block of training provided by CTS’s Jim Lehman to set me up even better for the races ahead!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


And Cross is Here

    The season has started off quite busy with recovering from injury, college classes, and enjoying a little time home from a long season of racing. The first few weeks back to from a 2 week break was super ruff. I felt like I lost a ton of fitness and was feeling off on the bike. After about 2 weeks, a drastic change occurred overnight. I headed off to one of the weekly crits, after getting dropped in the last 2, I all of a sudden found myself breaking away from the field. I was riding stronger than I had all year long. With CrossVegas a week away and my form coming back, I couldn’t wait for the season to start. I wanted to get one super fun and chill race in before the travel started again, so three days before Vegas, I raced a 50 mile single speed race that left me toasted. Unfortunately, this resulted in crappy legs for Vegas and me lasting only 3 laps. Not the ideal way to start the season! But my head was in the right place, and I had a blast. 

    This gave me a few weeks at home till the USGP in Fort Collins. I also received all my goodies from my sponsors and it was like Christmas. With two new amazing BH RX CX bikes, Hammer Nutrition that gets be dialed, and all new Rotor Rings that will give me that extra edge in each pedals stroke.  After putting in some very hard training weeks, I was dialed. The Fort Collins course was so techy, muddy, and punchy, perfect for me. I started in the last few rows in a field of 100 people, so my day pretty much consisted of moving up. Great practice on pacing and pushing myself in the elevation. At the end of the day I moved up quite nicely and was ready to do all again.

    Day two was a dramatic change that consisted of warm weather, and cement like dirt. Along with a little better call up, I also brought some amazing legs to race. The first lap was filled with traffic that I was somehow flying by. I was coming threw the last corner on the first lap when I nailed the ground out of nowhere. I jumped back up and threw my chain back on only to also notice that my tire had come unglued. To top it off, I had just passed the pit, which meant my day was over. Super bummer that my race ended so early with such great legs on tap, but luckily the CX season is long and awesome. After the race we hit up the amazing Tokyo Joes and ate some serious food, and of course we followed it up with a little post race FroYo!

Hammer Nutrition

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

MTB Natz Recap

           In a blink of an eye, I went from racing my bike at the Texas Pro XCT, to flying to Idaho for MTB National Championships. I knew this nationals was going to be one of the hardest ones yet. With little acclimation to the altitude and my leg still useless, I knew the only way I could finish the race let alone do well was just to get my mind in another place during racing and just never stop hitting the throttle.  The XC was Excruciating! With a 8+ minute straight up climb and to rock sections that rattled my thigh enough to cause a little more pain than I would have liked.

            From the start gun, I threw it in cruise control and just focused on my pace and nothing else. I didn't necessarily have to result I wanted, but I finished the race which considering the circumstances I was damn stoked. I raced with Cliff Shot mix in me bottle and a Cliff shot right before my start as well as half way through which resulted in zero bonking! The next day, I practiced some Super D and watched some pros race like mad men. Made me soooo happy I was still a JR. The following day I raced Super D in the AM which was going beautifully until a collision with a rider that I just caught threw me over the bars resulting in a non rideable bike. Later in the day, I raced the Short Track which my goal was just to go as hard as possible for the first ten minutes to try to get the usage of my leg back. I finished fairly well and was super stoked to start to get my full leg power back. Now, it's off to Missoula, Montana for one of the best XC races of the year. Hopefully a nice little recovery week will set me up nicely for some rehab and race speed!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Canada & New York World Cups

The Canada and New York world cups have come and gone. With nationals being on a course and elevation that doesn't exactly fall to my favor, I put my goals toward this double world cup action packed weekends. Last Wednesday I flew up to Canada and  checked out the legendary course that was MSA. It was sure gnarly and of course wet. The climbs were short and punchy along with technical descents, this was my course for sure and I couldn't wait to throw it down on Sunday. Unfortunately, the day before the race I had slide out crash on one of the wet sections that resulted in a seriously messed up left thigh muscle. Walking was crazy painful and riding wasn't much better. The morning of the race I hit up a super long warm up to try to loosen up my leg, but it was a no go. I started the race and survived for half of it before calling it quits.  I tried to take the next few days off in hope for recovery for the following world cup, but when you are used to a certain routine leading up to a race, it's hard to break that. Right after our race we made the 9hr drive to Windham. I was able to get some sleep once me and my two teammates next to me created a crazy/ oddly comfortable human Chinese puzzle. As the week went on my leg grew stronger and come race day I was set. My thigh was by no means 100%, but it was indeed strong enough to race... Or at least I thought. As soon as the race started and we stood up for the first steep climb, I felt my leg in the same useless pain it acquired the weekend before. With all the work load on on my right leg, I just excepted the circumstances and gave what I could. As the race went on my leg hurt more, yet my right leg grew stronger and stronger resulting in a some what ok race given the situation. I was stoked to at least finish and get some solid fitness in to hopefully use in the next two weekends ahead. National Champs is a play it by ear basis right now, but worst case scenario I survive the XC race and go for gold in the Super D! You gotta throw that focus somewhere. Luckily, there is always another race and another season. I do have to throw a huge thanks out to USA cycling and BMC Racing for helping me fight threw some serious pain and not giving up on me. Redemption at Natz, maybe, three healing days with no touching a bike, defiantly!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Swiss Trophy Bike Race Bern, Switzerland


This past weekend I raced the Swiss Trophy Bike race which was not only one of the sweeter courses I have done in a while, but one of the muddiest races I could remember (of course that is coming form a kid who has done a good chunk of his racing in Arizona). The Wednesday prior to the race we made the 2+ hour drive to Switzerland to do a little pre-riding. Going over a race course in Europe is a must due to the fact that they always have some sort of crazy sections that you don't want to be surprised with on your first lap.  In the US, 99% of the time you could race without any overlook on the course and come through the first lap doing fine. If you took this same thought over to Europe, well lets just say you wouldn’t be coming through your first lap or any laps for that matter.

Race day called for a 4:30am wake up call at our home base in Germany where we quickly threw a breakfast together and hit the road for the 2hr drive to the Swiss race. After a bathroom break and driving all through Bern, Switzerland trying to find the entry to the course, we rolled up to the venue with about an hour before go time. This was actually fine considering it was pouring rain outside and none of us had trainers to warm up on. My game plan was to hit the road about 30 minutes prior the the start and knock out a few solid efforts followed up by a delicious Vanilla Cliff Shot. This combo had me dialed and just like that I was lined up on the start line next to the son of Thomas Frischknecht and the JR Swiss National champ ready for a hour and a half of racing/ running threw the mud. Start gun blew and off went our field around the start loop which luckily allowed me to move up into the top 8 quickly. The next three laps consisted of a full on sprint up the flats and climbs, and getting off and running a good chunk of the u-turn corners and the steepest of climbs. My shoes would slip on the mud a few time a lap and getting back up off the ground seemed like it took minutes. My legs were so tired for the harsh combination of riding in the mud and running. An hour cyclocross race in these conditions is hard, but when you tag on another 30 minutes on and throw in some crazy descents, you have yourself a Euro mud fest.
With a less than 2 laps to go, I was sitting in 5th place going all out to catch the lead three. As I went for a pass down one of the sketchier descents, I found myself sliding out in the corner causing a tweak in my front chain protector which would lead into not only a constant chain suck up every climb, but a tweaked chain. This package of mechanicals caused my finishing of the race to be impossible. I watched as the field passed me on my way to the pit and just like that my day was done. Man I was bummed I had to end this amazing race like this, but it was sure good to know that I can hang among some of the fastest Jrs in Europe. This helps the confidence for sure leading up the the Canadian and New York World Cups that are to come in the next few weekends. Now, I'm back home in Boulder and have a nice two weeks of training before I hit the road again for 6 weeks of what's sure to be the most fun racing I could ever ask for. I just first need to get over my depression of no longer being able to walk 5 minutes and get the most delicious waffles in the world. Life is so hard in America :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grand Prix of Europe

!!! Euro Racing Time!!!

        A few weekends ago I moved up to Boulder, Colorado and within 10hs I was on the couch in the fetal position battling a nasty stomach bug. This would end up resulting in 30+ hours of zero food or water intakes, which took a pretty gnarly toll out of my body. After about 3 days of hell, I was able to start riding again and begin to enjoy all that Boulder had to offer. I wasn’t able to race that weekend due to obvious reasons, but I was looking forward to throwing down a few more sprint workouts before leaving for Belgium Thursday. The flight to Frankfurt was a lot faster than the previous year. It seemed like I watch three movies straight, dinner, sleep, breakfast, and then arrived.  Once we all got together in Germany, we hit the road for our first race, which would be the Grand Prix of Europe in Belgium. Unfortunately it was another 3-hour drive to the race course which was brutal after just getting of the plane. I woke up Saturday morning feeling like a zombie due to the 9-hour time difference and the little 5 hours of sleep I got that night. Luckily we were all greeted to a pretty solid breakfast followed by some super sweet shredding of the course. The Belgium xc course was unlike anything I have ever done before. It seriously went straight up, followed by more straight up, then with a little diversity of somewhat straight up. The craziest part of the course was the little rest it provided. Somehow the descents were even steeper than the climbs so they were over in a matter of seconds and you were still hitting max heart rate due to the constant chances of massive crashing. I was pretty stoked on how I handled the descents and was feeling quite strong given the circumstances.

       On race day we all woke up after at least 8 hours of amazing sleep and were ready to race some Belgians. We rode about 40  minutes to the course from the house were we found that there would be a start loop that consisted of about an 8 minute straight up climb with a quick turn onto the end part of the course taking us down the most sketchy descent of the day. This was all crazy enough when pre-riding, but with 40+ other kids we all knew some serious contact was going to go down. My teammate, Ryan, and I were unfortunately on the last row, which wasn’t too bad considering that the start loop would provide us a great chance to move up. As soon as the start gun went off it was full on. I was able to move from the last 40s to about top 20s by the top of the climb. The next 2 laps were easily the hardest 40 minutes of racing I had done in my life. I was feeling pretty spent after the start loop, plus I still was battling the stomach bug that seemed to not want to go away. Going onto my third an final lap, I was feeling great and moved up to 12 place/ 2nd American finishing behind Shane Skelton in 11th.
 I was totally stoked on my mental and physical comeback and even more stoked on how many guys I passed on some of the gnarliest of descents. I am finding that Euro races are all about taking some crazy chances and not letting off the throttle for even a second because you will get passed and you will get dropped… HARD! After the race, my teammates Shane, Lucas and I hit up a recovery ride that was followed up my some recovery pastries. Our search for Belgium waffles was a no go, but later that night we were served some awesome Tiramisu, which went down pretty nicely after a long day of racing and bike commuting.  We got up Monday morning and drove 5 hours to our base home in Germany and got in some solid rides before the next race in Switzerland. There has been many waffle and pastry stops along the rides and a great end to our day involves going to town on the local FroYo shop. Now some good recovery before the Swiss Cup Sunday. Well... not before a recovery waffle shop stop in the AM!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Whiskey 50 Off Road Recap PART 2!!!

After the sufferfest that was the Fat Tire Crit Friday night, I went on a spin Saturday with my awesome coach TJ Woodruff and was joined by the Cliff Bar and Luna Chix Teams. We pre rode the first and last 8 or so miles of the course and was able to give to aid on the monster hour climb out of skull valley that's about half way through the race. After some recover waffles, I headed home and went straight into rest and relaxation. Later that night, I had a awesome dinner with the AZ Devo guys and watched them stuff their faces with whatever food was in arms reach due to the fact that they all race that day and were ready for some refueling. Considering the fact that in 12 hours I would be burning some serious calories, I ate quite a bit myself and was one happy kid.

I woke up the morning of the race feeling pretty great. Legs were not feelin too sluggish and my mind was super relaxed. With our start time around 8:30 am, I hit the bike an hour before to get a good little spin/ warm up in. On the start line I was so stoked out of my mind to be throwing it down with all these fast broskis! The gun went off and after about a minute of a hard pace, the group slowed down a tad with the knowledge of all of us still having a good 20+ minutes of road left before the single track begins. I stayed with the main group all the way leading up to the pavement to dirt transfer and was feeling shreddy! I threw down a hard effort to get up as far as I could before the single track so I wouldn’t get too bunched up and succeed for the most part besides 3 or 4 guys that were a little scary on the descents. I did some serious work to move up before the long descent, and then I went about 48.9% AARON GWIN on the descent.

Once I got to the bottom we then had a 20 minute climb, 25 minute descent, and finally the hour climb to the tippity tip top. From here I just set a solid pace and left it there. From pre riding the race and talking to all the other guys, I found it was best just to keep it steady and prevent my legs from exploding. I did just that beside for being interrupted 3 or 4 time with  broken zip tie that allowed my derailleur cable to snag on my tire. After about 30 minutes of here a “motor”, TJ caught up to me and handed me some electrical tape and just like that, problem solved. I got to the top of the climb and barreled down as hard as I could down some of the sickest in race single track around and just prayed my legs would not run out of batteries. The craziest part of the race was that I was probably around 55th/ 60th at the bottom of the climb and after passing all the guys that went too hard too early I found myself in 39th descending to the finish. I was with three other guys going into the finishing road section which is about 5 miles long. After a solid pace line it was everyman for themselves going into the final turn and lets just say I at least was able to put up a fight, but found myself tanked after throwing down a little power in the pace line and watch top 40 ride away. I ended up 42 or 43rd and was happy with a mid pack finish for sure. If I could do anything different next year it would be to give a little more at the start to get further up before the single track, and also to up my pace a little bit ascending the hour hell climb. All and all I was cazy stoked and couldn’t wait to take a shower. I already can’t wait till next year. Bring it Kabush, 2013!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Whiskey Off Road Rewind PART 1

Whiskey Off Road Rewind 


The Whiskey 50 is a must for me every year. After 3 years of racing the 25 mile event, I stepped up to the epic 50 miler, which has everything the 25 does with the addition of a hour climb that makes or breaks every riders race. The last two years, Epic rides (promoters) has turned the Whiskey Off Road into one of the biggest races in the US. With the combination of amazing singletrack and a $30,000 cash purse, they bring the fastest pros in North America to battle it out. After getting back from the Sea Otter Classic earlier in the week, I drove a few hours north to throw it down with what was sure to be the fastest competition yet.

I got out of the pro riders meeting around 1:30pm on Friday and had a little under 5 hours before the race weekend kicked off with Fat Tire crit. We stopped by this little mexican place to get some good eats and then hit up the oh so great Trader Joes to grab the normal cyclist shopping list consisting of Almond Milk, Rice Cakes, Granola, Bananas, Pears, Chocolate Milk, and my favorite find being Gluten Free Waffles!

I rode to the race course from the house making sure my legs were nice and warmed up for what was sure to be the fastest/ hardest 20 minutes of my life. I came up to the start/ finish line after a few pre ride laps on the course only to find half the pro field already lined up. Myself along with guys like Kabush, Woodruff, and Shepherd all were able to squeeze up to the front of the race due to an opening on the right side. Once all of us got situated we looked forward and all we could see is a stack of hay bales covering a few signs in the first corner that wasn’t any farther than 100 feet. I look bad to 3 of the top pros staring back at me hoping to go I had a quick start and was able to avoid the “wall of hay” ahead of us. I looked down at the road pedals I put on my MTB bike and gave them a look that said “my bad”.

The start gun went off and I started somewhat fast for having road pedals and 90 feet later we had 80 pros sliding and leaning on one another in the first corner, just hoping everyone would keep it up right. This lead us into the climb which involved 100+ meters straight up , 10 meters of flat right hand corner, then another 100 meter climb before we turned once more and descended to the finish. My first lap was stellar considering I was top 20 and feeling fast. Then I hit the climb again going at maybe ⅔ the speed due to the solid rock that was in my stomach that I wasn’t sure if it was the Mexican food from earlier or a scene for the movie Alien and the crowd was about to witness a alien ripping out of me. From here I lost a good 4 spots a lap until I was pulled with 3 to go. Not exactly the way I wanted to start the weekend but hey, at least I was able to open my legs up and at least was able to know my legs were ready from the hell of a race that was sure to be upon us on Sunday. Now it's time for recovery and some food!but I think I will stay away from Mexican food.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another Extra Crispy Sea Otter Classic

Another Extra Crispy Sea Otter Classic

       After the Bonelli Pro XCT I was able to spend a few weekends at home and get some solid training in while the weather was amazing in Arizona. For one of those weekends I was able to shoot down to the Cycling House down in Tucson for a weekend to get not only some of the hardest training in, but the greatest relaxing and recovery. The Cycling House is basically a cyclists dream house. There's amazing trails and roads right out the door that meet all your training needs only to welcome you back with a beautiful poolside lounge and espresso machine. After a “weekend getaway”, I headed home and spent the next few weeks longing some miles and putting down some power. Before I knew it I was awaken one Thursday by my alarm at 3am for my 5am flight to to Sea Otter.
     It's always a great time at the Laguna Seca raceway where you get a combo of awesome racing and new product releases. It’s pretty much InterBike in April. I arrived Thursday afternoon and started to dial in my brand new BMC Team Elite 29er.... CARBON! Ever since receiving the aluminum version back in March and getting stoked out of my mind on the way it rode, I couldn't wait to hop on the new Carbon model at Sea Donkey. Once it was all set up I took it out on a lap of the course. Besides for it being under 21lbs, I was blown away by how much snap it had on the climbs and how insanely smooth it was on the descents. I got back from my pre ride and went to town on my new post ride addictions that most people know a the Cliff Bar Protein Bars or as I like to call them... Chocolate Peanut butter covered CRACK! From hear my teammates and I headed on down to our hotel for a much needed shower to wash of the California dust and the airport guck. After a little pre race ritual meal of some awesome Mexican food I hit the sack ready to tackle what was sure to be one of the longest and hottest races of the year. I arrived at the racecourse a few hours before the start and it was already a quite toasty. Lucking I was able to hammer out a shorter warm up and stay a little cooler thanks to the Ice Vest I happily made up the night before. 
    On the start line I couldn’t tell what was more abundant, the heat or the nerves coming off all the riders. We all have had a month home to train and get our heads cleared and now was time to go to work. The gun went off and immediately everyone was strung out like an arrow. I was sitting about fifth or sixth wheel, which was perfect due to the strong head winds that were sure affecting the guys pulling up front. After about a mile and a half of road everyone went into a full on sprint to be the first one into the single track. I luckily was in the top four going into the first climb and stayed with what was easily a way faster lead pace than the year prior. After being up with the lead group the first part of the race, I started to feel the effects of the severe heat. I’m thinking I almost got cocky with the heat coming from Arizona and didn’t prepare myself for the combo of direct sun heat on the fire roads and hot humidity that greeted us in the trees. From here I totally tanked. It was another 20+ minutes to the feed zone and lets just say it was one of my slower mid race paces. After I hit the feed zone and got a bottle with a wonderful scoop of Cliff Shot Drink Mix, it was game time. I was back and ready to do some work. The rest of the race was predominantly climbing and I threw down a steady pace and did picked my way back to the lead group as best as I could. With only a few hills to go I found myself in a pace line group of 4 motoring up theses massive hills. One guy went for an attack and I jumped on his wheel droppin the other guys in result. I made the dumb mistake of letting him get a few yards on me thinking we had another hill to do, only to find myself on the final decent to the finish. I tried to go all Aaron Gwin on the decent to make up the 10 seconds he had on me, but ended up 7 seconds back finally finishing in 7th. Not exactly the place I wanted, but seeing there was 40 guys in the race I wasn’t too bummed and was thrilled on my form. It’s always good to see good results from all the hard work you put in at home.
     The month of May is looking stellar! The last weekend in April I am rockin the Whiskey 50 Pro race which includes a MTB crit Friday night and a 50 mile marathon race the Sunday that has a $10,000 pay out resulting in all the top pros coming out make a run for some coin, then a few weeks at home before I leave for Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland to do some serious racing. Thanks to BMC (@BMC_MTB_RACING) and all our sponsors for the insanely awesome support. Bring it Europe…… but first lets finish my senior year of high school. GRADUATING TIME!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Practice in Texas, Makes Perfect in San Dimas

             The Bonelli Pro XCT is easily a top three US course in my mind and all the sweetest racing just went doing in this wonderful second weekend in March.  Since the race was only 5 or so hours from my house, I made the easy drive over Thursday night. Considering my cross country race was going down on Saturday and my short race on Sunday, this gave me plenty of time to get settled in and pre-ride the course. Plus, I go the chance to hang out with my totally awesome new teammates Shayna, Grace, and Alicia. 

Friday was a early morning rise with a day that included team pictures as well as shredding some laps on the course. Around 7am we went to what was the most awesome hotel breakfast consisting of every type of amazing omelets and potato’s.  After the stellar breakfast was inhaled, we set off to the course to get some super sick team photos done and pre-riding/ leg openers. I through down a few laps getting to know all the super shreddy lines and I also hit up a hot lap to get my car/driving legs ready to be rockin for the suffer fest that was sure to be awaiting me in just 24 hours time.

            With my race being at 8:30am, Saturday was another early morning wake up call. I hit up some oatmeal and then it was off to the races. The jr girls and I arrived at the team trailer and I slowly got my self race ready as I went through the course in my head. With some unfortunate luck the weekend prior due to some wrong food ingestion or pre race mix-up resulting in some super bad legs, I made sure to do everything 100% leading up to the race to ensure my fast legs were going to show up with me on the start line. I was on the first row ready to rock. Start gun went off  and  had a perfect position about 4th going into the single track. Keegan Swensen was leading and unfortunately one of the two kids between him and I cracked super hard resulting in some super bad hold up allowing Keegan his chance o open up his gap. From here He set of the front with about a 6 second lead in front of  a hard charging group of four of us. With a three other hella fast guys, I knew we could bridge the gap within a lap or so. With constant battles between the four of us to lead into every single track, we were throwing down a killer pace. This was until on our last lap were we began to play games with one another and everyone no longer wanted to do any work. I knew this would again give Keegan his chance to become uncatchable, so I change tactics and started to race for 2nd. With a half of a lap to go I made we got caught up behind some lapped riders and with me riding in the back of our group of three I ended up getting gapped. On the road before the long climb just about 2k to the finish, I drilled it and caught the group. As we made our way up the climb, on eof the riders through down a very well times and placed attack which of course was the worst timing for me considering I just go back on and demolished the group. One went with him as I mashed the pedals to reel them back in. I was able to drop the guy on my wheel, but could only hold the 10 sec gap to to the finish. I ended up 4th and couldn’t of been more stoked on the awesome racing that just went down. There is really nothing like racing for an hour plus, throwing the hammer down with three other riders.  Next up was the stomach turning short track the following afternoon, but first I think a little post race coffee is in order.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hard Workin in TEXAS.

The opening National Pro XCT race went down in the first weekend in March. It was hard for me to rap my head around the fact that we already are starting are 2012 season. It all happened in Dripping Springs, Texas, just outside of Austin. The course was super techy and the atmosphere was awesome. It seemed like all of the people of Austin pedaled on out to spectate and race the awesomeness the weekend had in store for us. I flew into Austin with my new teammate Jack Hinkens and most of the Subaru Trek team. It seemed like everyone was in Tucson AZ, getting ready for the gnarly season that was upon us. That night we just settled in and had a amazing team dinner at Torchy’s Tacos which easily was the best thing in the world. Considering my race wasn’t until Sunday afternoon I was able to get away with eating a few tacos. 
             Friday we all woke up to some good breakfast, and then got on to building our brand new BMC mountain bikes. Jack went with the Four Stroke 26in full-suspension bike and Kerry Warner and I went with the Team Elite 29er hard tails. Both bikes were ridiculously light and fast. Plus, they looked absolutely amazing which never hurts. After a morning of bike dialing in, we headed off to the course and hit a few laps up. After a few laps I was a pretty nervous going into the race due to not knowing exactly where my fitness was on a national level, as well as getting my head mentally focused. Pre-riding the course on Friday and Saturday was challenging to me because the whole time I was riding I felt super tired mentally and wasn’t flowing anywhere close to what I normally was rocking. Even with a few hick-ups in the pre-race rituals, I knew no matter what went, or was going to go down, I just had to got as hard as I could.

Race time came and I was super stoked. Bike was finally dialed and legs felt like they were ready to go fast. I lined up on the first row and looked back to see about 40 other JRS as well and a 50+ other cat 1 racers. In no time it was 10sec till race time, then go! As soon as we hit the first climb my legs totally locked up and stated to cramp. Unfortunately, this was how the entire first lap went down with the addition of going shoulder first into a tree. I defiantly ate something the 24hrs before my race that made my legs felt like they already had rode a marathon, but luckily it all went away a few minutes into the second lap which meant it was full on business time. I went into the 2nd/ final lap in about 11th and put on a sold time trial to get my self back into the front of the race finishing what was a solid 7th considering a few mishaps. I of course wasn’t totally stoked on the placing, but I was glad to see all the training I had put in the winter months has come along resulting in some super great legs. Now if I can only ride like I did my last lap the entire time in my next race which just so happened to be the next PRO XCT in San Dimas, California. Time to bring it........ but first, I think I will enjoy some Texas BBQ.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pre-Season Pain!!!

Its February, which means that the rides are getting harder and the travel time is about to be on the rise. February started off amazing with some sweet weather and the press release of my team, BMC MTB Racing. I am so grateful for the chance to be apart of the awesome program and receiving this great level of support.

My training this year so far has been stellar! In the end of March I raced another pre-season training race and it was killer. I won the cat-1 open and took 3rd in pro. It was awesome to incorporate some race training to mix up the gnarly workouts that have been included in the early season. I also have shot down to Tucson, Arizona for a few weekends now to hit up the awesome group ride on Saturdays that always included a ton of pro roadies and MTBers resulting in some super fast riding!

I received my new BMC Race Machine a few weeks ago and have been putting in some serious miles on it. The acceleration, stiffness, and comfort it provides is absolutely insane. In this last month I’ve put in some crazy multiple 5 hour rides and the bike keeps me feeling comfortable and fast way past the 160 km mark. This is also my first season on Sram and I couldn’t believe how smooth it shifts while still being gnarly light. I am especially stoked on my new Fizik Antares saddle that does the impossible by being sick light, yet so comfortable you feel like your sitting on a cloud even in that 5Th hour in the saddle. 

My Sundays have usually been spent on the mountain bike doing some good epic hard riding resulting in some awesome improvement in my technical skills while putting some rad time in the saddle. The Mellow Johnny’s Classic is in less than three weeks which totally came out of nowhere. It seems like just last weekend I was racing Cyclocross and jumping barriers. I totally stoked on mountain bike season starting and I can't wait for all of the amazing adventures this season will bring.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going Hunting

      This past weekend was the opening race in my Arizona mountain bike race series. I was super stoked to go shred my home course against my coach and at least 5 other fast pros. It's pretty early in the season to be full on racing, so I am using these first few races at training with little to no recovery for them. It's defiantly mentally and physically hard to race in January and February without your top end speeds your used to having in full on race season. I started the morning off beautifully with my almost perfected carmel white chocolate mocha. While I had a few weeks off the bike as well as these past few weeks of longer miles, I decided to explore a little further into my hobby of being a Barista. Coffee has always been a must have before a hard ride and with a month of full on practice and a few overdoses on coffee, I almost reached perfection.

           For the start of the race I got a fairly solid warm up in as well as some important stretching. I got to the start a tad late and was on the second row. I knew this had to change, so I worked my small self up into the front row with two guys elbows right in my face. Not ideal, but I'll take it. Off the gun I got the whole shot and led for about a mile eventually letting my coach and another pro go up front to set the pace. Before I knew it, there was only 5 of us hammering away. I was super stoked on how the race was going. I was third wheels and totally riding within myself.

 About 30 minutes into the race we hit a rocky climb were I managed to do the impossible and flat going up hill. I was so mad as I jumped of my bike to fix the flat while I was getting hit in the face with tubeless sealant. Once I was back on the bike I was about 4-5 minutes down due to my slow flat fixing. Who would of thought that a flat that would take me a minute to change in the garage took me 5 minutes while racing, go figure. From here I spent the rest of the race hunting down the lead. Not the ideal way to race, but probably good steady intensity for training in January. I finished the race in fifth place overall, but of course not before I ran into a cactus a mile before the finish. Spending the last 100 yards pedaling with one foot is never prefered. Overall I was thrilled on the race and can't wait for the next one. I've got a few more local stuff to prepare me for what awaits me in March. Let the gnarly training begin!