US Cup Finals CO Springs

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These Clif Kid Zbars Chocolate Chip are my kryptonite, once I start eating them I can’t stop and the new protein Kid’s bars are even more addictive.

This weekend wrapped up the US Cup series and not only was the $50,000 handed out but the coveted series leader heavy weight belt as well. I came into the weekend trailing Kabush by quite a few points. I needed to win and he needed to finish outside the top five.

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 8.04.42 AMYou can see by the points breakdown he got a huge lead when he won the Bonelli HC round. With a 13 point gap between 1st and 2nd for that round and all the other rounds only having a 3 point gap between 1st and 2nd it was going to be an uphill battle. I did my part and won the race but Kabush ended up 2nd even though for part of the race he was back in 6th.

Going into the weekend I didn’t think I would have much of a chance at grabbing the overall because the gap was so big but I was excited to try to win the event. Racing in my home state is always an advantage and with the course not having too much climbing I had big ambitions. The course was a good mix of single track and double track. It was mostly smooth hard pack with pea gravel on top but there were some bigger embedded volcanic rocks as well. I chose to use the Epic after doing a hot lap with my brother and hitting just about every rock on the course while trying to stay on his wheel. It was fairly easy to pick clean lines while leading but nearly impossible while on someone’s wheel. I also chose to run a fairly aggressive tire, S-Works Fast Track front and rear 25/27 because of all the hard pack, gravel corners.

The race was hard from the gun and we quickly broke up into a group of 6 or 7 on lap one and Kabush wasn’t there. I was hoping maybe he was on a bad day and for the next few laps myself and Finsty  pushed the pace and whittled the group down to 4. I managed to get a little separation at the end of lap four, I was hoping Finsty would come with me but he seemed to be running out of gas. I went flat out for a lap and got a 50 second gap which was enough to hold on for the win. Kabush made a big surge at the end of race and rode all the way up to 2nd place to secures the series win.

The past few weeks I have grabbed some good results but my best ones always seem to come on day 1 of 2 so I never really get a chance to celebrate because I’m always getting ready for the next race. This weekend was the same and there was no time to celebrate because the STXC was the following day. We did manage to go to a reception at USA Cycling which is located about 1 mile from the US Cup venue. It was cool to see the home of USA Cycling having been a license holder for all these years and never stepping foot in the building until this weekend. If you are ever in the Springs and get the chance to stop by I would recommend it. They have some really cool memorabilia and huge photos from Olympics and World Champs. It is amazing how much drop they run on those track bikes.

So Sunday we lined up in nearly 100 degree heat at 5 pm to battle it out again in the STXC. Finsty and Keegan nailed it from the start and it was good to do a redlined start like at the World Cups since most of the time domestically we have a pretty civilized first lap. They instantly got a gap and i was sitting in the chase group trying to catch my breath for the next few laps. Midway through the race I jumped up to Finsty and Keegan fell off the pace leaving us off the front with 3 laps to go. We took it easy for lap and then with 2 to go Finsty hit it and I couldn’t respond. He rode away for his first STXC win in front of his whole family(he grew up in the Springs) and I came in 2nd.

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It was a great weekend of racing even if it was a little hot for this guy. I can’t thank Scott Tedro enough for putting the US Cup together, getting the US it’s first HC Category UCI race and giving us a professionally run series with real prize money. The series is slated to have 3 HC races next year and with Olympic qualification points on the line next year I wouldn’t be surprised to see Southern California become the next spring training/racing destination for teams from all over the World.

I’m 2 weekends though a 5 weekend block of racing with Marathon Nationals this weekend in Sun Valley, Wisconsin PROxCT and finally XC/STXCX Nationals in PA. I love this time of the year, just race, recover, race.

I wonder if we’re going to get some wet races in the next few weeks………..

 

 

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