WORS CUP! Wow what a weekend. I’d have to say that was one of my best race weekends ever. I have known I can battle with the best guys in the country for a long. I’ve done it before at point to point races like Iceman but never at a true XC race. Hard climbs, rain, mud, changing conditions, and a pretty good descent, one weekend before National Championships. This one definitely counts and I’m stoked!
About a month ago I started hitting the first intervals of the season. It took a while for my body to adapt after basically riding base miles from January while down in Tucson through mid June. The race at Eau Claire I was a little tired from training, and my legs weren’t quite adjusted to the new phase of training. After Eau Claire I started hitting it even harder. More intervals and back to back interval days. Always the same…my favorite 2 * 20’s! Two weekends ago I was about maxed out. I signed on for a massage Friday and Saturday went over to preview the race course with a good crew of guys. I didn’t really care for the course at first and I had a really rough day. The following day I felt strong and I did my best power test ever by 9watts. Maybe the massage just took a day to work itself out?
After the power test I knew I was good and just had to rest. I did one good workout on Wed. Forced myself to suffer a bit and then it was over to Cascade again for the WI High School MTB League Summer Camp. 50+ kids ages 11 – 17; the future of WI mountain biking! The camp was a blast teaching skills and getting to ride a lap on the race course with 2 other pros Stephen Ettinger and Chloe Woodruff. It was also pretty sweet to then have all those kids cheering for me throughout the weekend.
Friday was a weird day. We didn’t race until 9:15pm. I was at home trying to kill time all day long. Rolling out for a race at 6pm felt strange, but as soon as I arrived and got on my bike I knew my legs were good. It’s always pretty fun to race under the lights. The “Porange” Bontrager shoes were glowing in the dark. The mosquitos were crazy. They were lighting the course with a four wheeler in true WI fashion. The race was fast and hard, but I felt like I was at a huge advantage riding the Superfly FS when everyone else was on their hardtails. Crashing into huge bumps that you couldn’t see in the dark was a non issue for me! The crowds were awesome. I could hear Trav’s mom yelling for me every lap. It was awesome. In the end Ettinger snuck away after Sepp Kuss started the attacks with 3 to go. I tried to bridge but it was too late. Cole latched on with one to go and we diced it out on the last lap and he ended up just getting me in a sprint.
It was late, but the adrenalin was still pumping so Shriver and I decided to drive back home. We made it to Sheboygan about 12:30 and I was still not able to fall asleep till 1:30. I was up and at em again at 6:30. 5 hours of sleep the night before a Pro XCT. Oh well.
We rolled out at 1:00 in the afternoon for my 3rd drive to Portage in as many days. We arrived with less than an hour to start. I suited up and before I knew it we were on the start line. I had a 2nd row call up. A safe start and I slotted in the first singletrack in the top 12. After a lap I was in a pretty good group w/ Finsty, Kerry, Rotem, and Mitch. We were riding 5-9. One guy would attack, but never really made it anywhere. Things got fun on lap 4 when it started raining and got really really slick! I was in 9th starting the lap, I went around Kerry and Mitch and started in pursuit of Finsty. When I caught Finsty his back wheel was roosting at a 90 degree angle compared to his front wheel. It was so slick. I was starting to rail the corners when everyone else was tiptoeing. I had a great climb and started the descent. I think Rotem crashed on the rocks and I caught him half way down. By then end of the descent we had caught Sepp and Howard. Wow…all the sudden I was 9th to racing for 3rd in a lap. After rallying a few more icy corners I went around both guys and was solo riding in 3rd! Mission: Don’t cramp, don’t crash, don’t have a mechanical. I pedaled hard when I could, smooth when I needed to be smooth, and I even walked the techy climb the last two laps to be nice to my bike and not break anything(it was just as fast to walk when it was so slick).
Finishing on the Podium at a national level race has always been a dream. To make it a reality in front of a home crowd was amazing! I’m really hoping I can do it again this weekend in PA!