Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 In the Rearview

So I've been meaning to post up all of what happened this year in terms of riding and racing.  I enjoyed not having to do these long drawn out posts about every race this year, but in the end I probably enjoy going back and reading about old races more than anyone else.  Well, definitely more than anyone, cause really, who gives a shit other than me? 

I guess there are still a the few random ones like yourself who still read this stuff, and people like Anonymous from the last post.  I am now, according to said person, a showboater who DNF.  Their words not mine. Regardless, I feel it necessary to dive deep into the bows of my year to either debunk or maybe just maybe validate this point of view that has been bestowed upon me.  So thanks, Anonymous, as you have helped spark the little flame in the deep borroughs of my soul to give me the courage to get off my ass and write this little post about my life as a bike racer in the year of our great lord 2012. 

Enough of that shit, let's get to business.

The year started off bat ass crazy with quitting one job, moving out of Warrensburg, bouncing around for 2 months, then settling into my new home in downtown KC.  In between that there was a month of being sick, some sick night Pirate racing, random riding, and going to Cali for a week to attend SBCU.  Oh, and trashing a S-Works while there and breaking my first road wreck cherry!  That was noooo fun.

Bonebender was the first race of the year.  It went decently.  I raced the 3 hour solo and took 4th in some rough conditions that would normally debilitate me.  I handled it ok, but could tell form was nowhere were it needed to be.

Training got back on track, and things went well leading up to the next race.  It was the first big race of the year, Wilson Lake.  First big XC race, and it was loaded with some fun dudes to race with.  Ended up 3rd overall behind Cam and Shad and felt much stronger on the bike overall.

Krug Park was up next, and I was shooting for a repeat of 2011 with the overall win.  Krug always suits my style.  Which is climb, go fast, then climb again.  I managed to have a good day and do the repeat against some fairly strong dudes.

After that it was getting ready for the first big ProXCT of the year out at Colorado Springs.  Ute Valley was an awesome venue for my first real pro race.  It was a course that suited me fairly well, but unfortunately a cold leading up to the race didn't allow me to go as deep into the red as I'd had liked.  I was able to race fairly hard but didn't have that last punch to get up the climbs like I needed.  Either way I didn't finish last, and managed an ok finish at 41st.

It was off to the south about a month later for the Eureka Fat tire festival.  I was looking forward to this race.  I've heard nothing but good things, well, other than the horrible course layout and markings.  That would come into play somewhat during the day, but a nasty wreck was more to blame with me not having such a decent result.  It wasn't even that bad of a wreck. I was in the lead train of 5 after we had just got to the trails at the lake after leaving downtown Eureka.  We came around a loose corner and it had been awhile since I've ridden the loosey goosey pebbles of the southern trails.  It's like ball bearings sometimes.  Anyways, I go down fairly hard but nothing crazy.  I get up and do the quick bike and body check.  Bike: Good. Me: Not so much.  My pinky was in the shape of a Z.  I'm not even sure how that shit was possible.  Anyways, I ended up walking out to the road thinking my day was done but a few hundred yards later I got a wild idea to pull on my pinky to see what would happen. Wouldn't you know it popped right back into place.  WICKED! I hopped back on and made my way through the sea of expert racers to finish top 4th in my age, and I think 6th overall. Rasta Rider and I then completed the weekend by ripping up all the local Bentonville trails, which if you haven't had a chance to ride you owe it to yourself to go check it out.  Three days of awesome Arkansas riding was a blast, and the dislocated pinky didn't even seem to bother me that much.

Colivata Cup followed this race.  I was really looking forward to railing some WyCo.  Minus one racer freaking out like a child during the race, it went well.  Travis again showed some crazy good form and pulled away from me about halfway through the race and I could never re-attach.  He was on a mission that day, and it showed. He ended up 1st, with me in 2nd.  I felt pretty good about the day, but started noticing some back issues that were what I thought taken care of. 

From here I believe it was off to Iowa to race the Seven Oaks Ski race.  Travis joined me, then proceeded to kick my ass during the race.  The race was fun, but hard.  Short laps, and lots of them with good climbing and fast flow.  Trav ended up 2nd overall to Iowa's top pro Kevin McConnell, with me in 3rd behind them.  It was fun racing, and we took home some pretty serious cash for our efforts. The back really reared it's ugly head this day, and I knew I had to get on my back workouts again if there was any chance of keeping it at bay.

Next up, Subaru Cup.  It was fun, I sucked.  That's about it.  Well, it wasn't so much fun racing, but the weekend was awesome.  We got to ride some awesome trails.  Levi's Throw was one of them.  It was some fun fun fun singletrack.  Not sure what happened to me that day on the race course.  Body shut down majorly.  It's happened before, and it's never fun.  Just one of those days where you don't have it, and this was a place you did not want to not have it.  The course is a fun, but extremely hard at race pace.  The start of this pro race was way rougher with horrible dust and of course that damn climb into the singletrack.  It was all downhill after lap 2.  A few more laps and I had to pull the plug.  I was bordering what felt like death and at that point I still wasn't in last but was close enough to it it didn't matter if I finished.  DNF  Yes, mark one point on the true side of a showboating DNF'r.  But damn, I looked good showboating that Bontrager drop.  It's called Entertainment.  If you can't entertain them with your wicked power and speed, you do it with you style and skill.  That's what people watch the pro's for.  It was probably the coolest moment in my racing career each time coming into that drop and having the hundred or so people on that hillside go bonkers.

Still with me?  I know, crazy right?  I actually DID race a decent amount this year. 

Back to Arkansas after my disappointing trip up north. Slaughter Pen Jam was the venue.  A nasty little bugger from my calendar last year.  I managed to almost get mangled to death by this course in 2011, but finished 1st in my age group, but 2nd overall in spite of plenty of spills. This year didn't bode any better. The race started well, and I slotted into 2nd behind the eventual 1st place overall finisher.  I was feeling solid, and my back was feeling back to normal.  Coming into one of the new whoop-d-do sections I was having fun and pumping up some serious speed when I came down the backside of a pump and exploded my rear seat stay.  I guess my suspension bottomed out or some other weird shit.  DNF, but not really my fault this time!  Mayyyyybbe a bit more pressure in my shock, but I ran it at the same pressure I normally do. 

So regroup and figure out the game plan on getting a new bike.

Long story short in a couple weeks I had a brand new 2013 S-Works Epic 29 frame sitting in my hands with the new Sid with the brain included.  Thank. You. Specialized.  That's why I ride their stuff.  I ended up having a seperate warranty issue with my old Epic.  It was a legit claim and they legitimately took awesome care of me.

I raced a little race down in Warsaw as the new stealth Epic's inaugural race. It went well, even though no one showed up.  I raced hard and managed a very good overall speed and felt good about my condition.  It's always good to have a good check up on how well you can hurt.

Binder followed that race with some 6 hour duo style racing with my teamate Jason Knight.  This dude is one to watch.  He's going to be crushing the XC scene with us next year.  He rode down with me at Slaughter Pen and hit the podium at his first decent sized XC event in Cat 1.  Anyways, the Tall Oaks Challenge was a stellar as ever and we managed to take 1st.  I got to race with Drew Edsall quite a bit during this race which was also fun.  He's going to be a good addition to this scene next year. 

Then there was the Berryman prep.

Then the BT Epic.  You know about all of that.

And so ended my 2012 season. 

12 races by my count, and I don't think I forgot any.  Far from the 20+ I did last year, but enough to keep the legs progressing, my racing skillz tuned, and the mind in check on what needs to happen for 2013.

So there it is.  Showboater or not, I still feel pretty good about my 2012 season.  Plenty of podiums, good results at the big localish races, but a not so stellar ProXCT season.  That'll be worked on heavily for next year.  Just a few tweaks and it'll all be good. 

My winter season officially kicked off last night.  2x20's on the trainer.  Once a week for 12 weeks this workout will be included.  It's a oldie but goodie. 

My three month block will end mid-February. Hopefully I can take a trip early Feb to hit some Cali racing to prime the pumps for Mellow Johnny's in March.  The season starts early this year like last, and I definitely don't want to miss the Texas race. 

Done and done.  Thanks to everyone who helped make my 2012 fun and a success, and even to those haters like Anonymous who keep my shit fired up ready to rip some more legs off for the upcoming year. 

I love you bro.


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