My mountain bike season seems to be lasting forever. I have however had a very successful year, so maybe I should embrace the concept and stretch this "season" into infinity!
Saturday night I resigned to giving up on racing Sunday. It didn't look like it was going to be worth it to make the drive up to Rim Nordic with Allison praying to the porcelain god and a night that didn't promise much sleep. On Sunday morning however Allison rallied (at least on the outside) and talked me into heading out. She seemed fine till it was almost time to leave when all of a sudden she was lying on the floor moaning. At this point I had enough momentum that I was going to head out solo, but moments before I rolled from the garage she climbed into the car. I knew she wouldn't be racing, but at least I wasn't going to roll one Mann short!
Warming up I didn't feel great. It felt like maybe the altitude was getting to me, or was I feeling the effects of Saturday? I just didn't have much to give, and when I did put in an effort it seemed lame. Due to not feeling great, I spent some time chatting. One of the guys in my AG was harassing me about moving to Pro. I laughed as I rolled away. I am not the top dog in the area, and the top amateur times at Fontana, Bonelli, or Big Bear are significantly faster than mine, not to mention the fact that I don't think I even had a top fifteen or twenty Amateur time at Nationals. I have no desire to get pulled from my favorite races just to appease some dudes that can't dedicate to solid training or nutrition. Deal with it. I want to finish my favorite races like Bonelli and Fontana, not get pulled early. Just like you, I am a working dude and I pay to play. I give up lots of stuff to train with my wife (who does have high aspirations). Train harder, eat right, and kick my ass. :) That said, Allison has declared that if I post the top Amateur time at Bonelli or Fontana that she will apply for my upgrade for me. It would be quite a feat to pick up 4 or 5 minutes on my races this year.
The race itself went better than expected. I sat on Griffith's wheel off the start. I didn't want to go solo but noticed that he was looking really sketchy. I don't think his 1.5" wide cyclocross-ish tires were helping him out any! When we looped back near the feed zone I knew that a technical climb was coming up and I wanted a clean track so I went around. I sat up a bit once I was clear of the challenging section but nobody seemed to have followed so I went into solo TT / seek and destroy mode. I did my best to stay focused but had noticed a deeper than usual Pro field and didn't think I could pull a top five time to meet my goal for the day. I had a couple of bobbles on lap two and got hung up for a while on a descent losing precious seconds. On the last lap I went around a corner and it felt like my front tire rolled on the rim. NO!!!!! Not another flat!!! I kept testing it as the lap went on and it was definitely going down, so now my whole goal was to milk it to the finish. As I traversed the fire road up top I spotted Garnet ahead and hoped to pass him. Unfortunately my front tire kept me from descending at speed, I was having to brake into corners way too much to keep the front tire on the rim. I crossed the line and my front tire was almost immediately flat. There was a sidewall puncture that was large enough that all my Stan's Sealant had drained. It had lasted just long enough for me to take the win in my AG and meet my goal of a top five time! (4th overall)
So I can add another series title winning the Rim Nordic Series. I also contributed heavily to the 2nd place team finish for Sho Air behind the huge Bear Valley Bikes team. Another successful page written in a very successful year.
Looking forward, cyclocross season is starting to look really intimidating. There are just so many races, so much driving, and so little time between the end of cyclocross and the beginning of MTB season. It will for sure make for an interesting adventure! In the mean time we have a couple weekends to enjoy some good riding. I look forward to it!!!! BRAAAAAP.