Thursday, May 26, 2011


My world is always better when a bike is under me.

I had a very nice converstation with a client of mine today. Watching the emotion in his face as he explained his massive lose of weight by riding a stationary bike was exciting. He told me how when he first started, he could barely ride 10 minutes. Then it was 15, then 20, 30, all the way up to an hour and a half. He lost 40 pounds just like that.

It was cool. Unfortunately his wife has some serious health problems that curtailed his biking, but she's better now, and I hope our talk today re-ignited his fire to get back on.

We got hit with a tornado yesterday. It was pretty crazy, but the great news is everyone is ok. There's a lot of damage. Especially to a few of my clients. Nothing compared to Joplin, but crazy none the less.

I was at work... The safest place in town. It's an old bank. Limestone built, with bomb shelter underneath. We missed it by a mile.

It's Memorial Day weekend. Sounds like most are headed up North to race skinny tires. Not me. Just relaxing. One week left till the next big show.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Dirty Little Secret Recap

That's a pretty spot on discription of that trail. It's a Dirty Little Secret. Nestled in the hills just north of Manhatten lie a sweet little gem of singletrack. It's a very sweet mix of fast, flowy, techy goodness. Within it await a couple of nice size rock gardens that take skill to manuever, and a few hills that take legs to conquer.

I somehow got away to race this UFD race. It wasn't in the plans, but late Friday night, I got the go ahead from Jamie to leave Sunday and race. I say permission because I told her I wasn't going to race this weekend. We had a friends wedding, and the last wedding we had, I was a little of a Debbie Downer due to having race the next day. She told me as long I promised to have fun and keep from being a DD, then it was no problem. It also didn't hurt she had a baby shower to attend all day Sunday.

The wedding was very interesting. The pastor seemed to be on another planet, and made the Bride and Groom say "I Do" three times. It was a very interesting ceramony. The after party was fun. I ate a moderate feast, but then preceded to eat well over a half dozen fat pieces of the most amazing wedding cake I've ever had. That along with the sixxer of Hoegaarden, and a few jello shots, had me feeling pretty good.

I woke up feeling great somehow. The drive to KC was good, but the drive from KC to Manhatten was rough. Sick to my stomach, tired, and overall a pretty crappy feeling. Luckily Nestle makes some life saving chocolate milk, and I was back to feeling good again.

We arrived a bit late, and kind of rushed getting ready, and going through our pre-ride. We hit the first rock garden and I figured the day would favor Travis more than I. He seems to ride rocks better than I do, although my new steed makes it much easier for me to hide my technical deficiences.

Upon getting ready to have our neutral roll out by a man in blue, they asked us if we wanted to do 3 or 4 laps. I didn't really care, but luckily the main census was to cut it a lap down to 3. This turned out to be a great choice.

We start to roll out, and at the blacktop corner, the cop pulls off and we're off up the pavement to the singletrack. I hit the woods in 4th spot, right behind Aaron. The first technical section had everyone stumped, and I was the last man in the train meaning I got gapped. Getting caught up behind 3 other riders was no fun. This happend twice before we popped out on the long grass section. I was pretty spent from having to bridge back up twice, but luckily the grass proved to be in my favor.

I jumped Farmer and Ryan Feagan to slot in behind Aaron again who was just behind Trav leading the pack. We cruised the grass at a comfortable pace, and put a small gap on Farmer and Ryan. Once we hit the trail we gapped them a bit more, and then came another big rocky section. It was pretty comical. Travis bobbled, then Aaron bobbled, then I bobbled. It was a cluster.

Travis continued to lead, due to some sweet blocking techniques. The pace was seemed almost lazy like. We were still holding a consistant pace, but I knew it wouldn't last all race. Anytime you have three guys riding together joking and talking during a race, you know they're not going hard enough.

Well the moment came, and Aaron attacked Trav on a hill, and put in a quick 10 second gap. This was towards the end of the first lap.

We hit the pavement with Aaron up the road. I told Travis we had to reattach and to grab my wheel. I powered up the engine and crushed it to the singletrack, and proceeded to make back our lost time. Unfortunatly Travis blew up in the process, and luckily I just barely kept from doing so myself. I had caught Aaron's wheel again.

Photo thanks to Kenneth Rodriguez. Photos of the race here...

We rode together for awhile, until the grass section. Aaron put in a pretty hard dig, and put in another 10 second gap. It gassed me pretty well, and in the process I tried to take a drink after hitting my gel flask, and dropped my bottle. I was hualing, and there was no salvaging it. I had to finish the lap waterless...

Aaron dropped his chain and I caught back up, only to loose him again not long after. My hungoverness started to rear it's ugly head again, and I was lacking the power to keep on his wheel. My back started to throw fits, and not having water was keeping me from recovering as well after the hills. Luckily I didn't loose much time.

The third and final lap was pretty uneventful. I had water again, but still no power. I put it in cruise control and finished something like 30 seconds or so behind Aaron. I would catch a glimpse of him from time to time, and I would dig, but my digs weren't very impressive. Just didn't have it all together. Travis rounded out the top 3 just a few minutes behind me.

In the end I was glad to be done, and glad I had done it. I was also glad not to have ripped a deruilleur off, and I was glad I was bashing my training Flows vs. my carbon Rovals. The rovals are fast by far, but when it comes to a training race with rocks like that, I stick to the wheels I don't mind beating up. It was a great race, a good workout, not to mention a very generous payday. The BBQ was awesome refuel, and the beer wasn't bad either. Not Weston quality though, which we somehow forgot to pack. The raffle proved to be uneventful for me, as they always do, but they gave away a ton of stuff.

The crew at Big Poppi did a damn fine job putting on their first race, and we'll all be back next year. The only part of the day that wasn't top notch was the scoring, but I'm sure they'll have it ironed out by next year.

If you near Manhatten, give the boys at the shop a call, and they'll give you the skinny on the Dirty Little Secret. If your into fun, fast, and challenging trails, then this one will suite you well.

One more week of hammering it, and then some rest before the big race. Time to dig deep.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Make Your Moment

I had a conversation with my father the other day. It's a pretty on par converstation that randomely occurs when talking to people who don't understand why we do what we do. Most people can't possibly comprehend why we would ride bikes like we do.

What suprised me about this convesation with him was the fact that he says he used to be full of adventure too. I remember the fishing trips we would go on as a kid. He always seemed to enjoy that. He was also a bullrider, a boxer, and played football in HS. So it was unusual to me to hear his particular perspective on this conversation.

We were talking about life moments. I expressed that money wasn't as big of a deal to me, because I value the moments in life over the amount of money in my bank account. Sure I enjoy having enough money to do those things that I love, but ultimately I base my life fullness not on my possessions, but the memories that I possess. Sure, I bought a crazy expensive bike, but it was a means to a way. I could do probably as well on a less expensive bike, but I also recieved such a great deal on the bike that in the end I'll at least break even. But back to the means to a way, it's a way to help me possess the memories that I'm after. My sought after memories are different than your's, but that doesn't matter as long as you're depositing memories that mean something to you into your memory bank.

He said as he's grown older, that memories don't mean anything anymore. The past is dead and none of it matters. As he's aged, the things that matter to him the most are what lies ahead. It seemed to me that what he meant by that was having a house that's paid off, a retirement account, and a secure future.

I can't blame him I guess. To each their own. Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking that the only thing that matters to me are the places, people, and experiences that I have encountered and still seek to encounter. Life outside the confines of an office have always been what drive my life's ambitions. The office isn't what fuels my soul. Money isn't the root of my happiness. I don't care as much about what the future holds, because the future may very well not extend past tommorow. I've had moments in my life where if luck had not been on my side, I could very well not be here.

Most people seem to share his thinking. They focus on all the wrong things too much. Sure, there's still a place in making sure that your future will be stable, but making your whole life about just securing a secure future doesn't make sense to me. What's a secure future mean if you had to waste you life getting it?

Money won't go with you. Possessions won't follow you. Memories will always remain. I'll remain on my path of memory collection, and continue not to sweat the details of life. Work will always be there. The future can always wait.

Today is primed for memory making.

Hope you make some sweet memories this weekend.

Bikes are a great way to do so...

Clif Bar brought this post up... Check out their Make Memoments website. Pretty cool.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Weekends Races and Syllamo Reports

Looks like there's going to be plenty of opportunities to race this weekend. Granted this crazy weather holds up.

There's a XC race in Manhatten, part of the UFD West Series.

Want to go a little longer? Try the Indian Creek 3/6 Hour race out East, part of UFD East.

Doesn't look like I'll be doing either one, against my will of course. Sometimes other shit just gets in the way.

Next big race looks to be the Bump and Grind down in Alabama. I've heard good things about this race, and it should be plenty of fun to warrent the 20 hour roundtrip drive.

Sweet vid of the course.

Check out the Ethos blog. Some pretty good Syllamo report reads from our boys Dave Wilson, SSP, and JessieGFunk. Looks like they had quite the time down south last weekend. Also a big shout out to our gal Sara Worthington for taking a hard fought 3rd in the Womens division. Apparently she lost 2nd by a second due to a soft tire.

I found this old race report from the last time I did Syllamo. I was a different cat back then. I think it's time for a little ramatch. Can you say Syllamo 2012?

That's all for now, good luck to all you punks who get to race dirt this weekend.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Battle At Rhetts

Not often do I feel like racing in the mud. Something about trashing the bike, and trashing the trails doesn't sit well with me. But... there are those times when I make exceptions, and yesterday was one of those days. I had a SS I didn't mind trashing, and the trails at Rhett's are used to wet abuse.

I built up the Stumpjumper 29er I've had sitting in my living room for the last few months late Saturday afternoon. After a quick stop in to the bike store, I had everything I needed. Well, as it always goes with doing shit last minute, I ran into minor problems. Mostly the tensioner I was going to use to run it SS was broke, but luck would strike in the form of a 32x18 magic gear. Basically that means that that specific gear was perfect to run without a tensioner, and the chain was nice and taught. The new Hive BB went on nicely, and the crank fit like a charm (which wasn't the case when I original went to build it.) That's part of the reason it's been sitting for the last few months. You might remember a picture I took back after one of our Arkansas trips, when I snapped the rear triangle of the original Stumpy.
The New Ride!

So off to Rhetts Sunday morning with Travis, misting and looking like rain the whole way. We show up and do a pre-lap, joined by Justin Farmer, and I immediately think it's going to suck. It was slick, muddy, and the I wasn't feeling worth a shit after two hard days of back to back training Friday and Saturday. Luckily, towards the end of the lap the legs loosend up a bit, and I started getting my mud skillz back.

We lined up with a few of the Lou crew, Aaron Elwell, Dan Miller, and a handful of other experts. 5,4,3,2,1, we're off and Travis takes off to lead just like he so loudly announced he would before we started. The beginning was hectic for me. I couldn't get going, and found myself 6th wheel or so.

The first half of the lap everyone stayed together. Then it all came unglued up the "FU" hill we'll call it. It was basically a quarter mile hike a bike. Well, at least for me it was. Some guys were able to make it up the first part with gears, but this steep and muddy hill was very unpassable on the SS. So you basically ran up this steep face, on a flat for 20 yards, tight uphill switchback, another 20 yard flat, another tight uphill switchback, one more quick flat and then up the last tight uphill switchback hill. It sucked. I ran/walked it everytime.

After that hill I was 4th sitting behind Travis, with Aaron and Dan about 20 seconds in front of us. Coming though the start/finish I pinned it a bit to try to catch them, and Travis decided not to chase. I spent that lap pretty much solo in between Trav and just a bit off of Dan.

Coming into lap 3, I was only a bit behind Dan, and in somewhere in that lap, I caught on to his wheel. He endoed something pretty amazing coming into the FU hill, which put me in the lead.

Coming into lap 4 I had Dan right on my wheel, and figured it was time to strategize a bit. There was a rocky uphill, followed by a quick downhill, and another rocky uphill not long after the soupy powerline section. I had held Dan off through that said soupy powerline section, and figured that hill would be where I would make my attack. It was one of those hills I made only half the time, because if you didn't play it just right, you would slid on the big rock and have to run it. Well, I played my card perfectly, and made it up as clean as ever and followed it up with a quick ascent of the following hill only to look back and see Dan right on my heels. That didn't work so well.

I figured at that point it would come to a sprint finish only as long as I could hold him off till the FU hill and lead coming into it. I hate to block, but it's a race, he had gears and I didn't, so block would be what I was after. Well on another big hill, I lost traction, and he slipped by. He gapped, and I had to put in another dig to catch back up. Catch back up I did, and I was riding his wheel right up to the FU hill. This is were he made the play of the day. All be damned if he didn't clean the first section like he was completly fresh. I surrendered defeat. There was no catching him at that point. He had 30 seconds in that short period and I had to walk the whole damn hill. That was the 4th time up it, and I was all but done with it at that point.

Cruise control to the end, and a 3rd overall. I was happy with it. Travis came in a minute behind me, I was 30 seconds or so off of Dan, and exactly 3 minutes off Aaron. He pretty much checked out for the day and showed us how it was done.

To bad I was the only 19-29 expert. That's twice now. Unfortnately my main competition for the year in my age group, (if I can even be called competition), is Shottler, and he was out with a broken wrists. He was however out there bouncing all over the course cheering and heckling us on. He was also the one who took those sweet pics.

Aaron made a mention over on his blog about doing the payout for the overall. I'm all for it. They did it in Nebraska, and it seems to work out fine. Pay out the top 5 overall. You can still use the age groups for points, and USAC classification, but lump the payout in the overall. I think that would draw more racers to the races from all over. The top guys from the region would travel if they knew they could make a little dough to cover the cost. When you can only make 60 bucks max, traveling 2-4 hours to race doesn't seem as appealing. Now I know there's plenty of you that race just for fun, and that's all gravy. I'm no different. But if I'm going to travel, which we do often and sometimes very far, I'd like to know the incentive is there to make my travel expenses back at least.

Just a thought.

No racing for me this weekend. I don't think. Wedding to attend. More training. Go. Go. GO.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hello Again Cross Eyes

Inside everyone lies a deep dark cave that most never venture to explore. Inside this dark place awaites a creature that most never get to meet. Some call it the pain cave, or the hurt locker. I call it my happy place. Inside my cave lies Cross Eyes. When I venture deep enough into my cave I meet Cross Eyes, and at that moment I know I've reached my destination.

Intervals always get me to that deep dark happy place. The feeling of finishing a set and barely being able to see straight always brings me a feeling of accomplishment afterwards. It's also in this dark place that you become familiar with the feeling of being on the edge of making it, and breaking it. Flirting with this edge will teach you just how deep and far you can push the body before it truely crumbles into submission. This place is almost always farther than you'd expect. I like to flirt with that line because when we race, that moment almost always rears it's head. It's being able to understand how to deal with that moment, and to keep pushing on that allows you to keep pounding pedals, and not stopping by the side of the trail hunched over feeling like death.

Last night the intervals went something like this...

Warm up for 15 minutes.

13 minutes of 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off

3-4 minutes recovery

7 60 second intervals with 30 seconds rest between

3-4 minutes recovery

12 minutes of 15 scconds on, 15 seconds off

These interval mimic mountain biking to a good degree. There's alot of stop and go with mountain biking, because most courses are far from straight. Corner, explode, corner, explode. That's the 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off. The one minute intervals are almost like hill repeats. Most hills don't last longer than a minute around here, and you're lucky to get a 30 second break before hitting it hard again.

Find your deep dark cave sometime. Push just a little harder than you think your capable of. You'll find you'll be able to go harder than you expected. And when you bust, take a break, and then hit it hard again. Then next time your out hammering it and that feeling starts to take over, you'll know exactly what to do...

Rhett's is ran or shine this weekend. Come have some fun...


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Robidoux Roundup Recap

If you climbed a set of stairs in your home 360 times, that would roughly be how much climbing we encountered at Krug last weekend. And if you happend to miss that fun, well my appologies in advance for you missing out on the complete awesomeness that was the Robidoux Roundup.

A stroke of luck hit St. Joe in the form of no rain Sunday morning. That stroke of luck missed KC, as I remember waking up to pounding rain in the wee hours of the morning. Luckily for us, the trails remained bone dry and ready to roll.

My race went well. Something like this...

Line up with 14 total experts. We had a nice little paved climbed to start, and I figured I'd punch it from the start to see if I could string everyone out. Look back and everyone is still bunched up not doing anything. So I let off the power and regrouped, only to come bombing down the grassy noll and hit some major air coming into the single track right where I wanted to be, behind Aaron. Trav slotted in right behind me, so overall we had a pretty good postition.

I rode Aaron's wheel, which had me about as pinned as I wanted to be, and just past the cedar section, he took a wide line and had to dismount, leaving me to the front. Pinned it from there, looking to gap him, he rejoins, and I make some comment on how I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be leading him.

Somewhere near the end of the lap I look back and he's not to be found, so I pinned it again down the last downhill and up the big grass finish hill. I was the only 19-29 Expert so I wasn't racing for the winnings, but there was a $50 gift card to Bike Source for the fastest lap. I was all over that...

I had about a 20 second gap after lap one. Lap 2 came together nicely and I was able to ride my own pace which happend to feel really good. I was covering the hills quickly, and pushing through the corners knowing Aarons tires weren't treating him the best. Lap two actually ended up being the fastest lap of the day.

Lap 3 was uneventful. I was still thinking Aaron was behind me, and every once in a while during lap two I would catch a glimpse of Travis also. I did make another rookie mistake and totally forgot to grab my second bottle for the last lap. So I ended up only having one bottle to drink during the entire race. I came in after lap 3 at 1:46 for the overall win.

Trav came in about 3 minutes behind me, and Justin Farmer took 3rd overall about 3 minutes back from Trav. All in all it was a great race. What made me feel even better was having a good race after training hard the day before. I'm doing things different this year, and training through all of the local races, and tapering for a select few like Subaru Cup and Nationals. This way I can still get my training in without wasting training time always trying to be fresh for every race.

Big thanks to the teamates up in St. Joe for pulling the big weight to get this race put on. Also got to give thanks to everyone else who went up and helped prep the course, set up, and tear down. I think Ethos put on a pretty sweet race. You can expect even bigger and better next time.

It's looking good for a trip to Tennessee this weekend. My man Steve is game. Travis got swamped at work. There's a US East Cup race, and from the description, it should be interesting. Three 11 mile laps. Six miles to the top, a couple flat, 3 or so down, and one on the road to the finish. Should be great training for the Nationals in which I'm sure they'll have us climb and then decend.

If not TN, then maybe Como. They have a race going on down there this weekend. You should go.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mellow Johnny's Recap

I'm still a little lost for sleep, words, and emotions. Let's start by saying I'm pretty damn lucky. Lucky to be able to ride my bike everyday, and lucky to have a couple of crazy friends who started a mountain bike team, that happens to support the hell out of me and my racing adventures. So a big shout out goes to Ethos, Travis, JP for driving all weekend, and everyone one of you all that throw in to help support a brother like me.

My Team

Enough of the sappy shit... ETHOS THREW IT DOWN! I honestly didn't know what to expect. We've only raced in a relatively small pond, and the Mellow Johnny's Classic isn't necessarily a small pond. Nestled down in Dripping Springs, TX lies a ranch owned by a relatively famous cyclist nickednamed Juan Pelota. Which means One Ball. The course is also named Juan Pelota, but after riding and racing it, I'm pretty sure all of two balls where needed. It was no one ball course.

We left Thursday, and stopped in Norman, OK for a little break from driving, and to shake the legs out at Thunderbird Mountain. It was a pretty decent course. Lots of sand, not much climbing, and some pretty sweet wooden features with lots of g-outs. It felt good to be back on trails.

More driving, and a stop in Dallas for the night, followed by the last push to Austin in the morning. Check in, unpack, and head down to pick Graham Aldridge up at another hotel, and then off to the venue. There wasn't any hotels close to the course, so it was an hour drive to get to it each day.

Riding the course Friday was interesting. It was something like 90 degrees, sunny, and Kansas windy. The dust immediately covered everything in sight, including the car, bikes, and us. We hit the course and immediately I became aware that this was going to be a demanding course. Plenty of rocks, not a ton of climbing, and some loose corners. There were some freaky fast rocky short decents also, that took complete attention. This wasn't one of those cruise control, let your mind wander kind of course. It required all of your attention, which can be trouble mid-way through a 2 hour race. I rode one of our full laps with Trav, and then rode the Pro course with Graham. My legs felt alright, but I could tell they were still waking up from the rest week.

We packed up, headed back to the hotel, grubbed at Pei Wei, and then headed to Mellow Johnny's for the kick off party. Pretty cool seeing all the top Pro's hang out and talk about the upcoming race.

Saturday was the Pro race, and our boy Graham was in it. Some of you all might remember this young punk from back when he was stomping everyone's ass at our local XC races. I remember him kicking mine a time or two, but never really knew him all that much. Turns out he's just a goofy ass kid like myself, who happens to be really fast on a bike, and lives a life that many of us would be jealous of. The Pro race was pretty intense. We got there in time to catch the last half of the Pro women, which KRocket enjoyed. She'll be in that mix one day. Then the Pro men lined up for their race. The start was lightning fast, and watching the Pro's climb made me realize that I can improve greatly in that area of riding. Todd Wells looks like a monkey humping a football climbing, but it turns out that's a very effective way to climb. Lots of upper body english thrown in.

We were bouncing back and fourth all over the course cheering Graham and Aaron Elwell on. I often times had to tell myself to sit down, because I knew standing all day wouldn't be great for my race the next day. Oh, did I mention it was hot? Ya, the Pro's must have felt it too, because there was some pretty rough looking expressions of their faces. We pre-rode the course again, in 90 degree heat, and not as much wind as the day before. I did some openers, and wasn't real impressed in how the legs were acting, but I didn't put much thought into it.

Georgia, the Pro Women winner.

Pro Men Start

More Pei Wei that night, and an early bed time led to waking up early Sunday morning to another continental breakfast consiting of eggs, sausage, yogurt, OJ, and a big waffle. Not Texas shaped waffles like we consumed in Dallas, but good waffles none the less. We packed up and drove once again the hour to the ranch.

I put on some Jazz to calm the soul a couple hours before the start. My mind was processing everything that was about to happen. The mental aspect of my racing has made giant leaps over the last few years. From a emotional back of the pack finisher who seldomely ever had it together, to a much more confident, calm minded racer that I am today. Of course I still have my moments, but overall I've calmed down quite a bit, and learned to have complete trust and confidence in every race I encounter. This was a unique one for me. I've never raced a National level race, and I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I kept telling myself was that this is what I trained so hard for, and that I have done everything I could have done to get ready for this moment.

I suited up, and the music changed from soft soothing Jazz, to fast upbeat Techno. Like fist pumping, rave happening Techno. It was warm up time. The time to pump up the mind, and get the legs ready for what they were about to experience. Pain.

Lining up, I was less nervous than expected. I casually talked and joked with my fellow Cat 1 19-29 racers, while waiting for our call up. They went PRO-1's first, then Jr's, then SS'ers, then us, and then everyone else. I knew that lining up behind the SS'ers was a bad idea, and that we'd likely catch them immediately. With only a minute between us and them, that would be the case. There was no real countdown. Just a 15 second warning, and then a GO!

My start was less stellar than usual, but I managed to hit the single track in 4th or so postition. As expected we hit the back of the SS class right away, and it was a battle through traffic for the first half of the lap. Luckily this played out very well for me. I rode behind 3rd as we made our way up through the SS'ers. I was riding very well, and it was almost easy the pace we kept. My HR was low, and I remained calm as we passed one after another racer.

Somewhere in there though, I got stuck behind someone on a tech uphill and managed to turn my bars. I had to stop quickly and fix it, and managed to quickly catch back on. Then 2nd bobbled, and we quickly made our way passed him. I was riding 3rd place at this point, and I noticed that the 2nd place guy was having some troubles. He said something about the heat, to which I told him we needed to bridge up to first. I told him to latch on as I passed on the false flat section, only to look back after that section to see him 15 seconds back.

I casually made my way up to 1st wheel. It was a guy named Joshua, and according to the last guy I passed, he had been winning all the local races this year. I said something like Hey-O to which he replied "Is that Missouri?" He was one of the guys who I chatted with at the start. Sure is was my reply and we quickly made our way through the last tech rock garden. He seemed suprised that I knew how to ride rocks, and replied that there must be climbs and rocks in Missouri. He too was looking like he was feeling the effects of the hot heat, and so I kindly asked him to pass, and pass I did. He latched on, and I figured he had been holding back and was going to ride me for awhile. I pushed hard up to the big hill at the end of the lap, and put in a big effort on the climb knowing he wasn't climbing well earlier. Hearing the crowd cheer and one look back confirmed I had put in a nice gap.

I took a nuetral bottle hand up and used it to cool my back, head, and core. I was riding exceptionally well given the nature of the heat. After the first small climb, I went to finish off my first bottle, only to look back and see that I had lost my 2nd bottle somewhere along the way. I only had a third of a bottle left, and I was 7 miles from the Start/Finish. This was no bueno. It was hot, and I typically don't do well without water. Once again though, I kept my cool about me, and told myself that it wasn't that hot and I didn't need water. Both were lies, but it's amazing at what the mind can do when you tell it what you want.

I pushed harder the 2nd lap knowing that the traffic was less, and that if I could put in a solid 2nd lap, I would have some room in lap 3. Somewhere in lap 2 I took a corner way to fast and ate it pretty hard. I drug my brake over my top tube, scratching my pretty stead and making it tough to re-straighten the bars. Luckily the handlebar managed it's way back over the top-tube, and I was back on my way. A little inspecting while riding and I was injury free, body and bike. Like I said earlier, you couldn't take your mind off the course.

Coming into lap 3, I took two nuetral bottles, hosed down with half of one, and used the remainder of it and the other bottle for hydration on the last lap. The rest of the lap was a blur. I kept telling myself to ride smart, and every time I passed someone I told myself to put in a gap. That kept me rolling strong, and the onset of cramps didn't hit till the last rocky tech zone towards the end of the lap. I held them off, and crushed the climb, cruised the forest, and came out towards the Start/Finish with a crazy amount of emotions running through me knowing it was finished.

What just happend?

I didn't even put my hands up like a pro coming through the finish. They were doing the awards for cat 2s and so there was no announcement, no big crowds, no big cheering. Just me, my bike, and the sinking in feeling that I had just won the biggest race of my career. I immediatly went to get a couple of more bottles, downed those, and hit the cooling tent. Ice, FRS, water, diet cokes, I was downing any fluid I could find. I was silent. Nothing but a smile on my face. Then Travis came through. I let out a shout of excitement, knowing that I hadn't seen any other Cat 1's come through. We had just took the 1-2.

Lost in emotion.

It was a pretty amazing experience. I was happy to have finally had everything I've worked for for the past 5 year pay off. All the training, all the pain, all the sacrifices. It's not easy doing what we do. Especially when you're tying to compete at the top level. Luckily like I mentioned, I have a great support crew. From my family, to Jamie, who for the most part puts up with my crazy bike life beautifully, to all the teamates and friends.

Top Step

The drive home was long. I couldn't sleep. My mind was still racing from the day. I did however pass out around 2am, only to awake and drive myself the hour home, where I finally got to pass out at 5. Another weekend come and gone. Another race done and checked off the list. Now it's back to more training, and getting ready for the next big show.

Make sure you come out to Krug Saturday. We're putting on a race. It's going to be a blast.