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!