I guess I have gotten soft this season with all the races normally taking place around noon-ish. That was not the cause this morning. A 6:45 wake up was mandatory if I had any intention of eating and warming up. I got some great breakfast at a local café. I broke my habit of eating mainly oatmeal, with some blueberry pancakes, and lots of fresh fruit. This set the tone for the whole day. After panicking a bit after realizing I had half of my gear split between three different cars, I finally got on my bike and made 25minutes into a great warm-up prior to what was an epic XC. Luckily with it being a neutral start, I was able to have a quick talk with eventual winner Jay Henry. We then hit the dirt road that carries you straight up the mountain. Although 75% of the climbing was fire road, the single track in between was super fun. After working in about 1 hour ‘s worth of spinning into an hour for a warm up I was suffering a bit in the first few minutes but quickly settled into a good pace. I felt great and was able to enjoy this race even more than usual. As we got closer and closer to the first downhill, I saw teammate Josh Bezecny only about 100 meters ahead.
I pushed it a bit harder to catch up and it quickly paid off. The two of us separated ourselves from the rest of the group and then worked together for a ways up the rest of the long climb to the top. Josh eventually found his normal legs and left me in the dust looking for others wheels. As I moved up the field I finally saw the summit and attacked. I got to the top completely out of breath and held on for the too fun for words to describe downhill. Unfortunately I blew the seal on my fork and it was loosing oil quickly, so my rebound and pressure was a bit skewed compared to how I normally like it. This was not a problem though as I felt great and was not letting anything stop me from doing well. Once back on the climb, I tried to find a great tempo until I could re-hydrate and get some food in me. Then with only a super short lap to go I had to try and hold my pace just below painful. Luckily Mike West caught up and I was able to sit on his wheel for the remainder of the climb. Come the first 50 feet of downhill and he was gone.
I managed to pin it down the rest of the amusement park for bikes and finish with a strong 12th place, even with a weird chain suck problem that continually sent my chain into my wheel and rub on the tire unless I pedaled. Really it was probably a God send and made me go even faster. It feels so good to come into the finish completely out of breath from adrenaline and sprinting down hill.
Like all years before, this is the virtual end of the season. I have a few Collegiate races I would like to attend, maybe one being on the track bike possibly? Who knows? All I know is that I just wrapped up my first season as a pro and loved every minute of it. Now time for awesome fall rides and the other forms of biking that are great in the fall, cyclocross, track, druken cruiser rides, it's all good. Here's to another awesome year, and a big thank you to Jesse Swift and everyone else at Team GoFast/Bikeparts.com.