(Photo @Chris See)
At this time last year I was pretty exhausted. I had already completed 6 100-mile events, crisscrossed the country numerous times and had spent way more time away from, rather than at home.
This summer has been wonderfully different! I’ve tried a bunch of new events, stayed closer to home and actually maintained a garden. The weather has been great, training is going well and I’m feeling ready for my next big events, the Pierre’s Hole 50 and the real biggie, the Breck Epic.
Back to the racing. After a successful Pro XCT in Missoula where I notched a 10th in the XC, 11th in the short track and 5th in the Super D, I was ready to switch gears and try my first Enduro. I headed to Sun Valley and participated in the first Sun Valley Enduro. After 2 days, 4 stages and over 1:30 of total race time, the leader and I were only separated by 30 sec! I was happy to land second on the weekend with no significant crashes, a lot of lessons learned and stoked to have tried something new. This Enduro was very pedally, was far more taxing than I expected, and I finished the weekend pretty cooked. I had mainly gone so that I could preview the Marathon Nationals course for the following weekend and happened to have a ton of fun while I was at it.
Marathon Nationals was a big target race on my schedule. Race day came and I was ready. Well, I thought I was ready. Some days you have it…this day I just didn’t. I knew immediately in my warmup that it was going to be a rough day and it was. From the minute the gun went off (although I did get the hole shot) I had no power, no pop, felt really flat and yeah, every pedal stoke felt like a struggle. It was a huge disappointment and one of the toughest races I have had in a long time. Mentally, I had planned on a podium spot. In fact, anything less than 2nd would have been a disappointment to me….so needless to say 7th was a huge bummer.
But, them’s the breaks as they say. Some races just have to be attributed to a random bad day. My Cannondale F29 with Race Gold’s was perfect, the team support of course was awesome and the course was great. I just didn’t have it on the day and as a racer, that’s sometimes just part of the deal. I tried to learn as much as I could from the experience about what went wrong, but moving on from this one has been harder for me than normal that’s for sure.
Keeping with the theme of trying something new I decided to shake off Marathon Nationals by trying another Enduro, this time in Park City. I went to the Bell Wasatch Enduro and lined up against the country’s best for this stop on the North American Enduro Tour. I brought my Cannondale Scalpel, put some 2.2 Honey Badgers on and called it good…and it was! Again, another great learning experience and I rolled away with a 6th place and the knowledge that if I ever wanted to improve at Enduro, besides making some very significant training and equipment changes, I’d really have to learn how to just sit around better!
And, yes, more something new. A few days later I went back to Park City for a cyclocross race. Yes, cross in July is part of Dealer Camp, an industry event that is becoming bigger and bigger every year. It gave me the opportunity to chat with some of our great sponsors and to open up the cyclocross legs. The race was fun (although it was the rockiest and bumpiest cx course I’d ever ridden) and after leading and pulling for 4 laps, my endurance-trained legs had nothing for the winner’s last ½ lap attack. I ended up 2nd and most importantly, am now super motivated for cross season.
(Photo @Chris See)
Crazy July? For me, absolutely! But, thanks to my super awesome Stan’s NoTubes team and all our great sponsors support I’ve been able to try new things and represent them at a wide variety of events. The diversity of our team’s abilities, I think, is really its best feature.