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.