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!

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