It seems time has been pretty limited lately. That’s what happens I guess when you have a career, spend time and energy as a bike racer, remodel a house, and become a father. These are all things that I feel very lucky about, so the time constriction isn’t really bothersome, but it’s just there. However, since this is about bike racing, I’ll keep it at that.
Rachel and I find ourselves in Breckenridge for a few weeks again this summer as my producing partner and I continue the post-production work on our films.
Admittedly, I'm a little bummed that I don't have hours upon hours to explore trails and train around here, but I have been doing my share and I've been able to race a little bit here and there.
I’ve had some time over the winter to reflect on the previous season and think about what I want to do and change the next time around. I left off last time just shy of the solo 24 hour worlds, which took place in Northern CA in October. And as I’ve mentioned before, there are only a handful of things I want to do in cycling before I call the racing side of it off. One of those is this 24 hour win. It is SO much easier said than done, but I wouldn’t take so much time to train and prepare and sacrifice time with friends and family if I didn’t think it was possible - and I knew I was in good enough condition to show up and give it a proper shot last year. I felt like I was in the best shape I could be in and coming off of a few good wins I was confidant in my preparation.
But, this is bike racing and best laid plans always become best suggestions. I rolled out to CA with one of the staples in my cycling life, Nick Howe. He was there for my first worlds attempt in 2006 and has been steadfast in supporting me, calling me out when I’m not prepared enough, and just an all around motivator when I’m in need most. Meeting me out there were my aunt and uncle Sandy and Pat, cousin Tony, and long time training partner, Josh Bezecny. Also ‘meeting’ me out there were race favorites of all sorts - Tinker Juarez, Josh Tostado, 6 time world champ Jason English, and a handful of other really fast guys from around the world.
The race started as usual and I like to be in the front. In retrospect, I maybe rode too hard in the beginning, but it’s just my style of racing and when you’re riding with one of your olympic heroes, (Tinker) you tend to push just a bit harder! I managed to have a pretty good race, but the wheels came off for me just a little in the middle of the night and I faded to 6th place by the race’s end. And with that, a fun and successful 2015 was in the books!
Each year that passes, I find myself more appreciative of teams and sponsors. There was a time where I didn't necessarily expect to be on a team and have great sponsors, but it became the norm. Now, I’m always aware of the fact I need to be working for it. We are mountain bike racers, therefore we do not get road racer salaries, but what we do get in terms of support/product/money is all gravy because we get to do what we love, in cool places, with cool people. So when I was invited back to the Honey Stinger/Bontrager Team for 2016 I was excited as usual!
I’ve had some pretty big life changes in the last few months, so my season looks a bit different than usual.
My motivation to train and be prepared has never wavered and even though time management has become essential over the last couple years, it has now become essential to everything. I’m finding myself training indoors when it’s beautiful outside so I can be close to the house, yet get quality miles in. I’m also realistic at my level of form and I know I’m behind. For me, that’s a little harder to swallow as I’m a person who wants to be in the best shape possible almost year round. However, a lot of that can be mental as the few races I have done, I feel pretty good about. I ended up 2nd at Winter Park with a really fast field and I won a Breckenridge mid-week race last week - so you take it as it comes, I suppose. There have been a few disappointments - like having to skip the Tatanka 100 and the Firecracker 50, but there’s always next season.
Next up is the MDH 100 - a staple for me as it’s a race that means so much in terms of the location, (near my parents!), the people involved in making it happen, and the fact that the race is so challenging. I’m not sure I’m in the best form, but it will be another adventure that I’m looking forward to.
As far as the next 24 hour race for me, that would be the worlds in Italy 2017. Rachel and I lived in Nice, France - about an hour and a half from where the race will be - so we are very excited to make the trip back over there next June. Lots of prep time between now and then…