Let the racing begin! After several days of traveling from Alaska, where I was visiting my parents for the winter, I made it home to Durango,Colorado. Two days later, with a truckload of bikes and gear, I packed up to start my season and headed west to sunny California. For awhile I lived in a cozy converted room in my aunt's back yard, now I am living and training in Whitter, California. Here's the rundown on what I'm doing:
With one week till my first race and very little training in Alaska, I pushed forward and began my 2013 season. Logging in base miles (where one gets in long hours at zone 2 heart rate), and no intensity. I figured I can sacrifice a couple of small races, in order to prepare for the important races later on in the mid-season. My season is long, and I want to get a good solid foundation and fitness. So as I slowly arranged my new room in the evenings, I would ride my road bike in the afternoons and scope out the Cali sights.
Vail Lake, the start of the U.S Mountain Bike Cups, was soon upon me. And I began my trip to warm Temecula to pre-ride the course on Friday. Racing started Saturday and Sunday. This season I will be racing Super-D and Cross Country. Super-D is a discipline where you need fast reaction and skills, catered with endurance and fitness. Smash all these skills into a technical fast and rocky 7 minute sprint and you have Super-D. The starts are either time-trial format or mass start. This race was a time-trial format. There are long descents, and short and punchy climbs to make racing this discipline all at anaerobic capacity...for 7+ minutes. Super-D is my main focus, and is an event that resembles Enduro racing. Enduro racing is a new World Cup formatted race, and is what I aim to dominate at in the near future. I race Cross Country for fitness, but I have a bit to go with catching up to the current XC Pros, and with no cycling team to support me and pay me to train...its hard to live and trian as hard as the fully sponsored riders do.
Camping at bike races is the norm, and Temecula is no different. Waking up to the glorious views that Vail Lake has to offer was wonderful. Having my usual Raw Meal protein shake in the AM, along with Garden of Life Vitamins is how I start my morning every day. Running threw my bike before practice, and before my actual race is key. Dialing in my suspension, tire pressure, gears, brakes, basically the whole bike so that its running at top form. At times I will even change the tires to accommodate to the terrain. The Super-D course had a loose technical upper section, with a very pedaly fast lower sections. The little hills towards the bottom were lung burners, making you work hard to get up and over to the finish line. I felt good about the Super-D, and I always go into races with an open mind, learning from every win or loss.
I ended up winning the two stage Super-D race with no flats and no mechanicals. Having a two stage format can be stressful because they combine the times for the overall fastest time. In a race that is won in seconds, there is no room for errors. Having a flat or crashing on the second stage can make you go from first place in the first stage to last place in the last stage. Needles to say, I did have a bobble on my second stage run, but I had such a huge gap from the first run that I was able to still take the win by 20+ seconds.
On to the XC race...not so good. Having not many miles in my legs, I knew riding at race pace for 2 hrs would be hard. So rather then stress myself and my body, I decided to make this XC race a training race. Having fun and seeing what the legs and body would do. I was quite impressed. I didn’t bonk, I finished the hard 30 mile race, and I felt great and full of energy after the race. All good indications to a good start to the season. Mountain Bike season can last till October. Racing and traveling every weekend can be very stressful for the body and mind. If I began my season tired and frustrated, then its only going to snowball later throughout the season. I picked my battle that week, know that XC would not be a battle won, but the war continues on. I have many races to battle, and many more victories to be had. That's what I love about this sport. Its never the end result that one needs to aim for, but more so the journey in which it takes you. Next race is in Fontana California on March 9th, a Super-D race. My Cross Country bike is broken, and I am hoping for a warranty replacement soon. That leaves me only with Super-D to contend in next weeks race. There are fast guys in this race...local World Cup legends of the sport in Southern California. I look forward to the competition, to grow and become better and faster. Stay tuned …:)
Just keep shredding,
First Place in Super-D. Vail Lake U.S. Cup
Box of goodies from Garden of Life :)
My room, and my altitude chamber for high altitude sleeping at sea level.
Super-D racing action!