I finally broke down and got a real espresso machine and grinder. I have a lot to learn when it comes to make espresso, cappuccinos, etc… but it’s a great process. I think my caffeine intake has gone up three fold. Hoping it acts as a savings account and a diet aid, guess time will tell.
Enough coffee, how about the racing? Well Missoula was two weeks ago and I think that’s my favorite town we visit all year. The people are all super friendly, tons of great coffee shops and restaurants, a river runs though the middle of it and it’s the Shultz’s hometown. I did miss the three story banner of Sam this year, bring it back.
For everything I love about the town, I hate racing at night. We don’t start the XC until 7 pm, light isn’t an issue since the days are so long up there around the solstice. Sitting in the hotel room wasting one of the longest days of the year is the real bummer. It’s also always hard to get the eating right for those late night events. The last few hours leading up to the race are the same as normal but it’s the rest of the food you eat before that which is different.
So I can deal with the late start but then we have to ride up Marshall mountain six times. Now the climb up is about as fun as they can make it but for a big guy like me it’s always hard. This year Howie nailed it from the start and I spent the rest of the race chewing on my handlebars trying to keep the guys in front of me in sight. There was no chance of seeing Howie again as he won by nearly five minutes but you can gauge your gap on certain sections of the course where it switchbacks up. I finished the day/night in fifth. Not what I was hoping for but that has been the story of my season, pretty close but missing a percent or two. In the early season I had a bit higher power then normal but was also a bit heavier then normal so that canceled that out. Now I’m getting closer to my optimal weight but have lost a few watts. I’m hoping to line it all up at Nats in a few weeks and again at Leadville. We’ll see if it works.
This past weekend was the last round of the US Cup in Colorado Springs. Now the Springs isn’t nearly as cool as Missoula but I like the course much better. It’s only got a few hundred feet of climbing per lap, it’s not sustained and it’s really fast. There is a ton of single track, some drafting road and double track sections and plenty of kitty litter on top of hard pack.
My race started much better then Missoula and by the end of lap 1 I was off the front by myself. I didn’t attack, just rode my own pace so I knew it was going to be a good day. Finsty and Gagne joined me at the end of the second lap and we steadily built up a thirty to forty second lead on the chase. I drove the group for most of the race and Finsty and I both attacked but we were stuck together. Finsty attacked into the last single track and Gagne got in second, me third. At that point Kabush was just about to make contact too. From there it’s about three minutes to the finish and opens up for a few seconds on a short double track climb before descending to the finish. Gagne was able to jump Finsty at that point but I couldn’t get around so I was stuck in third as we hit the finishing pavement. Gagne had a second or two gap but Finsty and I sprinted for second and third. I thought I edged him out but the officials gave it to him. I was hoping they would have a finish line camera since it was HC category race but why would they do that? They gave me third on the day which put third overall in the US Cup. Second would have given me second overall but oh well.
To add insult to injury my backpack and wallet got stolen out of the car at venue so after filing my first ever protest, I also had to file my first ever police report. Not how I thought the day was going to about five minutes before the finish but it was close to being great and the power seems to be coming back slowly, now if I can just swap that espresso for a few lunches I might be on the right track. And I need to remember to leave the wallet at the hotel.
Sunday was even better then Saturday and I was able to take the win in the STXC. This year the course was about 50% pavement, 50% double track so there was a lot of drafting. We were a big group all day and going into the bell lap we were still seven guys. Finsty attacked on the pavement heading into the double track climb. I was able to jump around him and Keegan and roll it in for the win by a few bike lengths. Most of the time we race the STXC basically for bragging rights since there is rarely any money, no series overall or anything else. The best part of the STXC is the training we get out of it. To achieve the same output in training as you get in the STXC the day after an XC race effort is nearly impossible(for me at least). It sucks waiting around all day to race for twenty five minutes but it’s a great work out, maybe they could move the races to the morning after the XC in the future so more people would race and could still fly out that same day.
Big “Thanks” to Scott Tedro for putting on a great series, even if it didn’t get much press the races were great and the competition was world class.
Up next for me is the Leadville Camp of Champions this week. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Reba, Wiens and all the campers. It will be a nice chance to get some ultra high altitude training in before Mammoth too. After Leadville I will zip in and out to the Boston PROXCT before heading to Nationals. I’m really excited to head to Bean Town for a MTB race and I hope they get a great turn out. It’s cool to see new venues pop up and it’s always good to support promoters that support us. I’m going to miss this guy though.
I wonder how much of the Leadville course is still under snow……