I wasn’t looking forward to getting back on a plane this weekend for the flight to Alabama for the 5th round of the PROXCT. It didn’t help when Howie and I had our flight from Durango to Denver diverted to Colorado Springs because high winds had shut down most of the runways in Denver. We were parked on the tarmac in the Springs for about an hour and half but it wasn’t as bad on our plane as some of the others also rerouted. A fight broke out on a 737 parked next to our little regional jet and there were tons of firetrucks and ambulances surrounding the flight. I think a plane is one place if you get in a fight you are guaranteed a trip to jail.
Our flight to Birmingham had already left by the time we arrived in DIA and there is only one per day but we managed to get rerouted and with a few extra stops we were in Birmingham on Friday night.
We had planned on pre-riding part of the 28 mile XC loop on Friday but that didn’t happen since we landed in darkness. Luckily the STXC was first up on Saturday and with out much training all week and none the day before it was a very painful race for me. I could sit on Trebron and Bishop but as soon as I went to the front, they attacked and I couldn’t follow. I was happy with 3rd after how the week had gone and surprised to see my HR monitor hit 193 during the race.
Howie and I got to ride a bit of the XC after the STXC and the trails were just like I remembered, twisty, fun and flowy. Oak Mountain State Park has some great XC mountain bike trails so if you’re ever in Alabama, it’s worth a trip. I forgot to mention it’s hot in the dirty south. Coming from 40s and rain in Europe to upper 80s and near 100% humidity is a bit of a shock to the system. I did quite a bit of sweating on the trip but I’m not complaining after the dry air we have in Colorado all year.
Sunday was the XC and I had high motivation after my dismal showing in Europe the previous two weeks. We were a big group for the early part of the race since there is so much twisty single track and minimal climbing, it’s hard to break the race up. By the midway point we were a group of 5 and when Bishop attacked toward the middle of the second loop he got a 5 second gap on me and we distanced the rest of the group. I chased him for at least 20 minutes and I finally closed the gap with a few miles of single track to go. The single track finally opens up with about 500 meters to go onto a asphalt road for a few seconds then it’s an open grass field hill climb before dropping back down on the road for the final 150 meters of pavement.
As soon as we hit the road I attacked and Bishop pulled even with me at the top of the hill but I had the inside around the corner dropping back down onto the pavement so I hit the finish straight on the front. We sprinted for the line and I wound up winning by about a tire width. It was a great fight and I was happy to be able to make myself suffer and come away with the win to maintain my lead in the overall for the PROXCT. I thought the 193 HR I saw in the STXC was good but when I downloaded my garmin later I had popped a 195 in the XC, no wonder I could barely breath.
I made it back home last night and am excited for a few weeks in Durango. The weather is awesome right now, the trails are in good shape and I have a little time off before I start my build up for Nationals and Leadville. Winston and I have a big week planned with lots of time at the river and the dog park. High temperatures, blue skies and no rain in the forecast. Maybe I’ll even be able to tube the river this week.
I wonder now Stalkers’ drive back to Durango from Birmingham is going……….