My 2013 didn’t start off the way I had planned it at all. I was originally planning on being in Tucson and getting started with my training for the upcoming season come the first of the year. Instead, I was in Durango taking antibiotics for a sinus infection and dealing with the pain of dry sockets from two wisdom teeth I decided to have extracted. I had a good run of avoiding antibiotics for the past few years but that infection put me down. I got over all of that pretty quickly though and was off to my desert home just a few days off schedule.
I was just getting settled into my training routine down in Tucson when the unthinkable happened, my teammate and great friend Burry Stander was hit by a car while training at his home in South Africa and died instantly. I received a call from my friend and Specialized mechanic, Joe Devera the morning it happened and was in complete shock. Soon I started to see stuff on line and get calls from other team members in SA about the tragedy and it started to sink in, kind of. Days later Meg and I were on a flight to South Africa for Burry’s memorial and funeral.
Throwing dirt on my friends casket was probably the saddest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t know what else to say about it other then I think about Burry now more then I ever did when he was alive, funny how life works. It was amazing to see the outpouring of support for his family from the cycling community and the South African community in general. It is very strange to read about the Cape Epic right now and not see Burry’s name along side Susi’s as a team. It will be even stranger at Sea Otter when I’m not going for rides along the Monterey bike path or wasting time hanging out at the coffee shop with him.
Since everything that happened at the start of 2013, the past few months have seemed pretty uneventful. I finished my normal base period of training that involves long steady mileage increasing each week for six weeks. This year I knocked a few hours off my weeks but stepped up my time in the gym. I also managed to run a little bit more this off-season so I feel a bit more solid then normal, though maybe not as light. I also finally made it to the Premis skate park here in Tucson and had my first experience with a foam pit. Foam pits are cool but they aren’t as soft as I thought they’d be, I have even more respect for the freestyle guys then I did before and that’s a lot.
I’ve already had four race weekends this year, one local AZ series MTB race in Sierra Vista (1st), two ProXCTs (3rd,3rd, STXC 4th) and one NRC Crit (group). The racing has been good but I have been lacking that little bit needed to go for the Ws, except for the crit where I was no where close to going for the W but had a lot of fun racing with the best US crit specialists in Tucson under the lights downtown.
It is very relaxing to not travel to Europe or South Africa in March for the World Cup this year since it starts much later. I am also skipping the Pan Am Championships for the first time in many years since they are deep in Argentina and it takes four flights, a bus transfer through Buenos Aires from the international to domestic terminal and about 2 days to get there and back. With all this time at home I get to do what I enjoy most, ride my bike and spend time with the family, instead of sitting on airplanes and staring at hotel walls.
Next up for me is the legendary Tucson Shoot Out morning group ride this weekend. I have been here for almost three months and haven’t made it out on one yet but I think this weekend is my time. Looks like the sun might even be up and the temperature above 40 for the 7 am start.
I wonder what Winstons’ doing right now…..