Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bad Taste in the Mouth

I have to start off by saying thanks to my wife Kelly. She has been great about me doing a ton of training and racing this year, especially this fall, with most weekends including a cross race. She has been really supportive and I couldn't do it without her.

After a couple years of mediocre performances at the State Championships I decided this year that I wouldn't focus so much on having a great performance at this one race, rather focus on having a good end of the year, over several weeks of racing. During November I had several excellent results for me, including 3-podium placings, as well as securing a top Series placing. After this weekends performance I am really glad I decided to reevaluate my approach to the season, as once again I had another mediocre performance at Montrose. This is not to say that the week leading up to the race I wasn't imagining pulling on the State Championship jersey, but I was in just a slightly different state of mind come race day.

The Race
Course was a great layout with plenty of technical sections, great portions along the beach, and a tough climb on cricket hill. So the race starts and there is a ton of bumping heading into the first 180 degree turn. Brakes are squealing, metal is grinding, frames are breaking (seriously!!) people are crashing. As the bottleneck started I was off the bike and running. Back on the bike, and I find myself in about 7th place. Not great, but OK. The first lap was really crazy with lots of bumping, especially in some of the deep snow sections and run-ups. As the lap progressed Dave Norton, Tim Yuska and a VQ rider had a slight gap on the chase group. I was sitting on teammate Brian Parkers wheel as we exited the sand, and on the next offcamber section Brian washes out and I take up the chase. On the next section while riding on top of the concrete retaining wall near the beach, heading to the next downhill offcamber section, there was a bump at the transition. To make it over only a slight lifting of the wheel was needed. I had no problems with this in warmups, but I guess at race pace, and pushing the pace to close the gap to the leaders I misjudged the bump, and the next thing I know I am over the bars, and my right knee is throbbing and in some serious pain. The pain that kicks in, leads to that nauseous feeling in the gut. I got up and tried to walk it off, but it was no go. I sat down for a couple of minutes trying to recover, but thought my race was over. Walking back towards the start/finish teammate Jeff Holland walked up, asked me how I felt and encouraged me to get back on the bike and give it a go. I took his advice, and after a few minutes on the bike the pain was subsiding, and I was feeling OK. Thanks to Jeff's encouragement I was able to finish up the race, and is really appreciated. At this point I was in last place, and was just going to try and catch as many riders as possible, so it ended up being somewhat of a fun ride. In the end I rolled in for 22nd.

After the race I was really happy to hear the Brian Parker was able to move his way through the field and roll in for a well earned silver medal. That was a really great performance, wish I could have been riding with him to see it.

So the season is over, and I am sad that I won't be racing cross for another 9 months , but definitely ready for a break from the week in and week out process of packing up and heading to races. I will also miss all the fun of hanging with friends, heckling other racers, and eating brats. Only 9 month until Jackson Park!!!!