On snow one weekend and in the desert the next
2013 is shaping up to be a year of “firsts”. At the end of January, Linda and I went to Louisville, KY to watch the cyclocross World Championships. This was the first time I have been to the CX Worlds and it was the first time in 64 years that the US has hosted the event. The US pulled it off in grand fashion. What an amazing event to be a part of and we had a great time catching up with friends and exploring Louisville.
The following weekend the Winter Mountain Games were held here in Vail. This year, in addition to the Snow Bike Crit, there was a Cross Country style Mtn Bike race held at the Vail Nordic Center. Turns out that this was dubbed the first ever Winter XC Mtn Bike National Championships. The guys at Twenty2 Cycles were kind enough to lend me a beautiful Ti Bully to use for the weekend. This bike was fresh off an extended review from the fellas at Mountain Flyer, and is an absolute art piece.
There was a descent turnout for the Friday afternoon race. After separating ourselves from the group Colin Cares and I settled in to a descent pace around the 2k loop just west of the Nordic Center. With about three laps to go I got a small gap on Colin and was able to hold on for the win. The following day a similar scenario played out in the Snow Bike Crit. except this time it was Tim Allen and I that were off the front. Again, about mid way thru the 40 min effort I had a small gap and was able to capitalize on a couple of bobbles and extend the lead over the last couple of laps.
Two wins in two days in 20 degree weather on the snow and I am the first ever Winter XC Mtn Bike National Champion. Stoked!
Back in early January, I received a text message from Dax Massey informing me that Zeke Hersh had effectively “wrecked himself” while snowboarding on Christmas Day and would be out of commission for a while. Merry Christmas Zeke. Dax was now frantically seeking a replacement for the 5 person co-ed Light-n-Motion team at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. I had never ridden in Tucson and this is a race that has been on the “hope to do someday” list for a while, so I agreed.
I decided to fly down to Tucson one day early and meet up with a group of friends that were finishing up a week at the Cycling House. On Friday we woke up and road Mt Lemmon, another first for me. What a beautiful climb.
On Saturday morning I caught a ride out to 24 Hour Town and got settled in with the team. I love how much of a reunion it is to go to cycling events, and with so many folks you just pick up right where you left off, whether it’s been one week or one year since you’ve last seen them.
I drew the short straw and was elected to ride the first leg of the race. Which means I had to run the Le Mans style start. It was a long, fast, downhill run to the bikes. Pretty impressive. I was probably 3rd of 4th to the bike and once we got rolling I settled into a group with TJ Woodruff, Jason Donald, Kenny Wehn and a couple of others. As the course wound it’s way thru the desert and twisted in and out of cacti, TJ and I had a small gap on Jason and the other chasers. The fact that I had not pre-ridden the course made it a definite advantage to follow TJ’s wheel. He knows the trails really well and has some great early season fitness going. Once we got on the false flat climb on the back side of the course TJ put in a good strong dig and I rolled in about one minute behind him. After 5 laps and some good quality racing thru the night we won the 5 person Co-Ed category…and were 3rd overall. Again, thanks to Todd Robison from Twenty2 cycles for letting me demo his Ti 29er (this maybe the start of something here).This was my first time to ride a Ti Mtn bike. I have always heard the ride quality of Ti is “supple”, but what I noticed most was how responsive the bike was. The acceleration was very impressive. So, far I’m having a blast this season. Doing some new and interesting events and riding some new and interesting bikes.
Next up. I headed to South Carolina for Team Camp, with the NoTubes p/b Proferrin road team…another “first”.