South Africa is a long way from Durango. It takes about 2 days to get there, 4, if not 5 flights and plenty of time hanging out in airports all over the world. I was looking forward to another shot at World Champs and thought with my Leadville/Breck Epic prep I would have some big blood and hopefully good form going into it. I didn’t do much training after that block, just resting up and getting ready worlds.
When I left South Africa after the World Cup last year I had to get transported from plane to plane in a wheel chair because of a crash I had in Shakra’s playground. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it going back this year but I’m a pro and it’s my job to ride that stuff so I had to man up and do it. Luckily I made through all week with out any problems.
I knew it was going to be sad going back to SA with out having Burry there but was looking forward to seeing his family and Cherise. They dedicated a memorial to him at the Cascades track on Thursday before the race and it was really emotional. I wasn’t prepared for that but it was great to see all the support and to know his memory is living on.
Race day came and about 10 seconds after the start I was lying on the ground after Luk Fluk crashed and everyone piled in from behind. By the time I got my bike untangled from the pile I was in dead last and that is not the way you want to start a World Champs. After the crash I lost my motivation but managed to get it back after a few laps once I was able to start to move through the traffic. I wound up 32 which is not a good result but I put up a good fight. I managed to pass over half the field and didn’t have any catastrophes in Shakra’s playground so that was good.
After Worlds it was the big trip back home. At least it only takes 2 days to get home instead of 3 to get there. We all got sweet new bikes with custom paint jobs for World Champs. The airlines tried their best to beat my bike up but somehow it came out with out any scratches.
I flew home with 3 bags and each one arrived on a different day. Luckily my Evoc bag arrived on Thursday night so I could use it to fly to the cross race this weekend.
So anyway I made it back to Durango on Tuesday night and had a few days at home with Meg and Winston before leaving on Friday for some CX racing at Nittany Lion Cross in Allentown, PA.
I like to start my CX season late once the ground get’s soft and muddy but this year I thought I would try a different approach and do some early season high speed CX races in hopes of getting ready for Cross Vegas. Nittany cross is less then 5 miles from where our MTB XC/STXC National Champs were this year. I think I’ve spent more time in the Allentown Homewood Suites then I have in Durango this summer. At least I knew my way around when I went back for the cross race this weekend. The race was at the Trexlertown velodrome, which hosted track worlds a long time ago.
The park around the velodrome is almost pancake flat so the course itself wasn’t very selective. With super hard ground and lots of tight corners, the speed was high, there was plenty of drafting and some good recovery. That made the race feel more like a crit then an off road race. I was happy with that as that was what I was hoping to work on to get ready for Vegas.
I managed to win both days with a sprint the first day and good positioning on day 2. Now I’ll have some UCI points too after I take a break and won’t have to start as far back later in the season when I start to prep for Nationals. Since I only did a few CX races last year it was nice to get back on the cross. It is always a tough transition for my hands and feet from the MTB to CX though. I get blisters on my hand and my feet get sore from jumping off my bike at full speed to run over the barriers. I need to do some bunny hopping to give my arches a rest.
I picked Meg up at Newark after the race and we went into NYC to hang out and do some sight seeing. I think I walked more today then I did all summer playing golf at Hillcrest. It was fun to see the chaos that is NYC but it is always nice to get on the train and leave it all behind. I feel like the strip in Vegas and NYC are on a similar level of stimulation and noise, there is just so much going on.
I’m hoping to get some good sea level training in at the family’s house in NY this week before heading up to another MTB venue, Catamount for 2 more UCI CX races this weekend. I have a trip to Ben and Jerry’s planned for weekend as well for the factory tour.
I wonder what Winston’s doing right now…..