Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Back at it in 2016

It's been a long time since I've written a post, a year and a half to be exact.  It was a conscious decision of time and energy management where the blog got the axe. But after reading by my buddy Ron's most recent race report told from the perspective of his contact lens, I'm inspired to bring it back.  Maybe not to the degree it used to be, but I was reminded of how much of a mental outlet writing can be.

I'm three race events into the season, and I'm so looking forward to what's coming this year.  However, a lot has happened since I last wrote, and I may go back and write about some in detail, but here's a quick list of where I've been devoting my time outside of my day job:

- Logan is 2! TWO!!!!
- We've put on two totally awesome seasons of Sacramento Cyclocross.  And we have big plans for the coming season.
- We've taken over a Jr. MTB race series and will be expanding that, even beyond the Folsom Grom Series.
- Our timing company, TimeYourRace, is taking on more events.  We've got a bigger trailer and more equipment and are capable of tackling most any crazy idea we have.  We even timed the WEMBO 24hr World Champs!
- I've managed to stay relatively fit and rode about 6,500 miles in 2015.  With a lot of race appearances and some wins and podiums here and there.
- I raced my first 8hr MTB event, and came in 4th!
- I started racing single speed, on my CX bike (the new Santa Cruz Stigmata!)
- I raced my first 100 mile gravel grinder, and won!
- Raced in the first Enduro National Championships.
- Santa Cruz, Fox, Shimano, ENVE, Capo and all my sponsors have stuck with me and I'm so thankful.
- We burned through an espresso machine...

So, now on to this year.  Training has been sporadic, but I figured I'd just jump right in.  Fontana was the spot for the first California Enduro Series race and a Pro XCT the next day.  I figured the enduro course would take at least one stage down the rocky downhill course there, so I was worried that I didn't have a proper enduro bike yet.  But none of the four stages used the super gnarly stuff, and my Tallboy modified with a 140mm Fox 36 up front was perfect and really fun to ride.  Like a quicker version of the old Tallboy LTc.

Unfortunately my #soenduro blue shorts did not give me sprinting legs.  So combined with my usual conservative nature, that left me in 26th place at the end of the day.  I had a great time hanging out and riding with my teammates, so it was just good to be racing again.  Plus, Jen and Logan were there.

The Pro XCT the next day would be the real test.  And honestly I had two goals: 1) Just to do it.  Which was a big mental step knowing how fast these guys are and how much it was going to hurt.  And 2) To give everything I've got, not get last, but be ok with wherever I end up.  It doesn't seem like much, but I need to start somewhere, and just being in the mix is what I need.  It's also great to be out there supporting the other young guys and gals I've been watching develop or mentoring.  I lined up behind Tofor Lewis at the back, who has just been putting in a ton of effort and when the gun went off I watched him work through the field... very cool to see and I was so bummed for him that he flatted out on the first lap.  

I was quickly reminded of the blazing pace these races have on the first lap.  I knew I wasn't ready for it but wow.  I avoided two crashes in by the end of the first corner and was sprinting in the giant dust cloud barely hanging on .  After the initial climb and a couple singletrack bottle necks, the field had really strung out.  I knew there was no chance of me staying on the lead lap, but I wanted to keep moving forward wherever possible.

It was the first time I'd raced the highball at Fontana, and it was handling the rocky, fun course well.  I just didn't have the legs at all, especially in 90 degree heat I wasn't prepared for.  So it was 52nd place for me.  But I was just happy to be back in it.

Next up was the first Prairie City Race Series, which is always a great weekly blow-out training session where the fast high school kids really push me this time of year.  I was actually pretty nervous about this one since it's such a sprint.  But I surprised myself and had a great race, battling at the front and coming in 2nd.

And that brings me up to last weekend, and another year of the Sea Otter Classic "Dirt Omnium" as I like to call it.  I'll save the details of those four races for the next post as more pictures roll in.  But I'll leave you with this shot of Logan screaming with delight from the crashing wave during our detour to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It makes me smile :-)