This past weekend was the 8th round of the PROXCT, yep you read that right 8th round. We were up at one of my favorite PROXCT courses in Wautoma, WI for another round of XC and STXC racing. Let me rewind to earlier in the week because it was quite an eventful 6 days between Marathon National Champs and the races this past weekend. I got back from Sun Valley and Specialized had a product launch in Durango on Sunday and Monday. My flight got delayed Sunday so I missed that day but got to hang out with everyone on Monday. On Tuesday I loaded up the truck and headed to Copper Mt. for the 2013 Specialized GPL. Let me tell you the 10,000 ft elevation of Copper is much drier and way less O2 then the 5,000 ft of Sun Valley. I got to ride some amazing new bikes on Wednesday and Thursday before heading to Denver to fly to Madison on Thursday night.
I met up with Tyler at DIA for a nice litter dinner at the Chophouse(steak salad much better then burger) and a little Tour coverage. Friday I was up in Wautoma to get some hot laps in on the course before the race Saturday. It was nearly 100% humidity and quite muggy too, big difference from the 3% humidity of Copper the day before, but nice to have some much oxygen in the air. The little space in the air not occupied by O2 or humidity was taken up with bugs. I grew up in NY but I have never seen so many bugs as we had in WI. Could have something to do with this giant breeding ground right in front of our casa.
The XC started with a bit of a hiccup with Bishop taking a wrong turn on the start loop and leading a few of us off course. Only a few of us were stoopid enough to follow him off course instead of following the lead quad but we quickly realized our mistake and got back on course, albeit in the back of the field instead of the front. Lucky for us there was quite a bit of single track so it all stayed close together and we were able to move up once the course opened up.
Once we got some open space I bridged across to Ettinger and Plaxton before getting a gap on the 3rd lap and extending it to the finish. I was really happy to finally win that race and get to put on the coveted cheese head for the podium. WORS puts on a great race series and the course in Wuatoma is a good mix of flowy and techy single track. It was in the upper 80s for the race with a lot of humidity so it was definitely a wet chamois kind of a day.
Sunday was the STXC and everyone except Bishop lined up to do it all again. I was stuck with Plaxton and Ettinger again for most of the day. Stephen attacked halfway through the last lap and I barely squeaked by him on the top of the last climb to make it 2 for 2. The STXC course in WI is also a good mix of flat, climbing and descending. There is plenty of passing and an interesting course to ride.
The real race stared after the race when USADA showed up and we had a tight flight to catch as it was. We were hoping to leave the course by 3, about an hour after the race but instead we left at 4:30 since I couldn’t pee for 2:30 hours even after drinking 7 water bottles and standing in a bucket of ice while trying to pee. Our flight was in Madison at 6:38 and we still had to get our bags from the house. We raced to the airport and I had to pee the entire way after drinking all that water. We arrived inside of the 30 minute check in window but the friendly gate agent got us checked in anyway and we made the flight. Good thing b/c the next one wasn’t until 6:30pm the next day.
Howie showed up to the race with his foot twice the size it normally is after an allergic reaction to a bee sting the day before. I couldn’t even believe he could fit his foot in his cycling shoe, it looked like a moon boot. His foot is slowly looking like a foot again but Rude had a big crash and his hand looked like a catcher’s mitt. Durango had a huge representation there with the Sweet Elite, Zia and a few other teams/people represented. It’s great to see so many young riders from Durango doing so well on the National stage. And to put the pressure on me all weekend Lea won both her races too before me so I had extra pressure to do well. And, almost forgot all the guys on the team and some people from the office are growing mustaches in support of Howie who has been growing his ever since he crushed the Missoula PROXCT.
That is about it from the weekend but we made it to PA last night and rode the Nationals course today. It reminds me of racing in Ringwood State Park, NJ and the riding out the door where I grew up in Ulster Park. I would say it is the rockiest course I have ever ridden. It is very tight and the only real places to open it up are on the short ski slope sections. If you could build a course for the S-Works Epic, this would be it. That said, you really have to finesse the climbs and be careful on the descents because the entire course is littered with places to flat. Top that off with a projected temperature of 100 degrees, nearly 100 percent humidity and thunderstorms in the forecast and we are going to have an old skool style east coast race!
I wonder what Winstons doing right now…….