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!