BMC Project Dirt & Mellow Johnny’s US CUP #1

It has been a while since I updated the inter web blog. Looking back, it haven’t been very active on here since September.

At any rate a lot has happened since then. I wont rehash on too much because I am very excited about what is happening now and the future in general.

I raced CX for Mock Orange Bikes out of Winston Salem, Nc and had a pretty good year. I started a little late but came into the end of the season motivated.

After cyclocross nationals the MOB team (Emily, Katherine, Kerry Shields, Lynn, Dylon) and myself headed up to Silverthorne, Co to Ski Copper for 3 full days. Honestly, I was more excited about that than I was for cx nationals. Due to weather we skipped out on skiing copper monday and instead tried our hand at cross country skiing. That was by far the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. The amount of coordination/physical fitness you need to do that is at an extremely high level. I have a lot of respect for the men and women who do that professionally.

After cross country skiing it was dh skiing at copper. Russell came up for a day and showed me how to hit the tree lines… That resulted in a variety of crashes that resembled a pin ball game.

A little more time off after skiing and back to Banner elk to tough out the winter. Luckily, it was somewhat mild and I was able to train consistently without having to stress too much.

That gets us to present day…

I flew out to Colorado Springs last Sunday to get the rig, bikes, etc ready for the first race of the season, Mellow Johnny’s Classic.

I took on some managerial responsibilities this year so I am in charge of making sure things run smoothly at these race weekends.

With that said, getting things ready to go wasn’t the easiest. Not all of our equipment showed up in a timely manner, which left me scrambling, this past Thursday, to get it all together to leave. Sepp Kuss, a U23 men, on the team and I drove down to Texas from the Springs 15hrs…

Once we got to Texas the weekend went off without a hitch, logistically speaking.

Friday we did some course pre riding and then relaxed to get ready for the race on Saturday. We were staying in a hotel on the north east of Austin, which is a really cool town. I would definitely like to spend some more time there.

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Saturday we got to the venue early for Shayna’s race. It was a warm and sunny upper 70’s. I couldn’t have been happier, especially coming from Banner Elk.

We had Andrew Fiore, a SR Suntour (our suspension sponsor) rep on deck to help out. This proved especially helpful. He played a huge roll in helping us all with our suspension as well as taking over some feeding responsibilities.

Shayna had the 10th call up and once the race started she started out strong. She came through the first lap in 7th. She then faded a bit back to 11th. However, a very respectable result for a second year u23 among the country/worlds best.

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Sepp and I then geared up for our 2:45pm start time. I had the 10th call up as well and Sepp was going to battle from the back with the 30th call up.

I was 9 and Russell was 11 … If you ever need any help give us a call!

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The gun went off! After 2min of the start loop horror struck and I managed to find, what was most likely, the only nail on course. It penetrated my front tire tread and sidewall. That was the race for me. I walked for 10min or so to the pit, which I went backwards on course to enter and got DQ’ed. It was either that or walk an entire lap to get into the pit legally. I spent my big air trying to inflate my tire but it was no luck.

I was frustrated and didn’t want to waste a 70º day so I went out and smashed out some intervals. Then cooled down with a scenic water fall spin through Pedernale Falls State Park.

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While all that was happening Sepp, unfortunately, dropped out due to the chills and fatigue from a cold.

All in all the day was no bueno for the men but Shayna managed to put in a good result for the team. Just like that the first big race was over.

We went out and ate at my favorite Taco place in the world, Torchy’s then called it a night.

Sepp, Russell, and I woke up the next morning to go race the category race at the same venue. Shayna left for the airport at 5am to head back to school.

We stepped out of the hotel and it was foggy but 70º. It took an hour to drive to the course and the first 40min it was still 70º. Within the last 20-30 min of the drive the temp dropped 30º and started sprinkling/raining…

No one was prepared for the temp drop. Luckily, Sepp brought a long sleeve and some leg warmers. However, my gloves were ill equipped and my hands felt dead and cold. The cool thing was that everyone was on the same page. Also, even though I wasn’t really into it, the race was turning out to be an epic.

Completely different course conditions then Saturday. It was slick and getting slicker, but the dust was turning to clay and packing into everything.

My lack of openers during my warm up didn’t suit me well. It took me a half of a lap to feel good and then I started moving up. By the end of the first lap I was with Tristan Hule, the leader. We rode the next lap together and a quarter of the third lap. Then I made a move on a slippery downhill and managed to get some distance. I held the gap and took the win.

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I was pretty pumped because coming into the race I wasn’t even expecting to finish, it was one of those kind of days. After stealing a warm shower then freezing while waiting for awards, because I only brought shorts, we headed back to the hotel.

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On the way back we had to hit Torchy’s Tacos and we were lucky enough to be joined by Jack Hinkens! That’s right. I said Jack Hinkens! He is back and ready for action. Actually, he just came to do this race but it was really great to see him racing again and he even held his own. 28th on Saturday and 6th on Sunday. Hope to see you at more races Jackie-moon.

After Torchy’s we needed a little something more so we hit Gordough’s Donuts, which proved to be very satisfactory. Though I didn’t feel like doing much after scarfing down one of their Blackout monstrosities.

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Back to the hotel to load the BMC rig. Then Sepp and I said good bye to Austin and headed for Colorado Springs.

It is great to be back with the team again. It’s always a new adventure and I am looking forward to the season.

This year we are a four person squad. Emily Shields, Shayna Powless (two U23 women), Sepp Kuss (U23man), and Myself as the only Elite rider. Kerry Shields is going to be helping us out as a mechanic as well.

With the continued support of BMC and this year KMC Chains jumping on board as a huge co sponsor I am very confident that the riders are going to have a successful season. We have continued support from Smith Optics, Giro, SRAM, ClifBar, Feedback Sports, and ESIgrips. Newly added to the team is Enve composites, and Industry nine hubs. Kenda Tires, SR Suntour, and Voler apparel.

Its going to be an exciting year so stay tuned for some great stories and great bike racing.

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