The end of CX season

After the Hendersonville GP weekend I was excited to step away from racing, get back to training, and celebrate the holidays in an extraordinary fashion. 

Christmas is my favorite Holiday by far. Gift giving is always a good feeling. I love seeing smiles on the face of those around me and receiving a few gifts isn’t too bad either. Not to mention wearing hideous sweaters, which are only considered cool on Christmas… 

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So after Christmas I had a bit of a road trip ahead of me. I was using the Dallas-Nationals weekend as a justification for driving from NC to Texas. I had a 8′-20’ covered trailer (BMC Project Dirt’s set up) loaded with Emily and my stuff and we were moving to Colorado Springs promptly after CX Nationals.

So after 9hrs from NC to Memphis I stayed with Joe Welsh and his family. Then the next morning, Friday, it was on to Dallas for resolution cup. 

The drive left my behind and legs feeling less than ideal but I was happy to get the first major leg of the journey out of the way. Also, from Dallas it was only 3hrs to Austin, and a whole week to adapt. 

With that said I met up with the Optum Team Crystal, Chris, and Tay-Tay. As always Chris and Tay-Tay had everything on point and I was ready to race. 

With wet weather the first day at Dallas the track was running slow/sloggy. It felt like you needed to put out 400 watts just to move forward. The ground was basically a power sucking sponge. This was unfortunate from me. My legs felt heavy from the drive and I ended up fading from the front group mid race and finishing 5th. 

Sunday the track was running like velcro! Really fun and fast, racing Chicanes and able to lay the bike over hard in the turns. 

I felt way more opened up and was in the front group on the last lap sitting second wheel 500m from the finish. I let my guard down and washed out on a corner letting first get away and 3/4 to pass me. I ended up riding in for 4th. 

Nationals now the next race in my cross hairs I was feeling good about my fitness and excited to get to Austin to check out the course. 

I arrived on Monday and staked my claim in the Shields’ VRBO with Em. We used the week to relax, check out Torchy’s and the Salt Lick, as well as some riding and the course. 

The course was fun and probably the most technical, when wet, since the Pan Am day at Cincy. 

All week I was excited to get the race over with and be done with anticipation but the only thing I could do was wait. Then Sunday rolled around and due to weather the race was postponed and more waiting ensued. I wasn’t too bummed about it. I used the day to check out an African Food truck and hang out with my parents more, who I wont see for some time now. 

Monday morning rolled around and sure enough it was race day.

The course was still wet and slick so I was looking forward to getting out there. My front row call up had my amped to get off the line good and come 4:25pm that was the only thing I was thinking of. 

The gun went and I cranked pedals as hard as I could. I looked over and the only person next to me was J-Pow.  Knowing I secured that top 5 start I sat up some and settled in behind the top 5 waiting for the show to start. 

I felt great that first lap but then fell into a sluggish rhythm towards the middle of the race. Not sure what it was but I just felt like I couldn’t respond, a one speed type of thing. Then with 4 to go my rear wheel came out of my drop out and that caused me to lose contact with 7th place. 

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PC: Kevin McRee

I got my wheel in and kept my wits to ride a strong finish. I put the 2nd fastest last lap time in only loosing out by 1s to J-pow. I know this doesn’t reflect the race. Most guys on the last lap have their position secured and they are simply riding to maintain. Though it goes to show I was riding for vengeance and managed to get one spot back and two more within 10sec come the finish line. 

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PC: Dave McElwaine

With a 9th place at nationals I was done. CX season over. I was happy with the race overall but know that I could have done a spot or two better without that mechanical. Regardless, I was looking forward to some off time and mostly getting the 13hr drive ahead of me over with.

I spent the evening with my team and parents. We had a nice dinner and capped off the night with some much anticipated Gordough’s Donuts. Early to bed early to rise to take my parents to the airport.

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Above: Right- “The Fat Elvis”, Left-“The BlackOut”

I had the next 13hrs to think about the weekend, the season, and what lay ahead for me in Colorado. Emily was following me in her car and sometime around 8pm we rolled into the springs. Unloaded what we needed to sleep for the night, grabbed a six pack, and hunkered down in our new home (for the next 8 months). 

I can’t begin to thanks Optum for picking me up this year. This was my first year doing a fully supported CX program and I felt like I was really able to grow. I had my best CX season by far and I owe a lot to Chris and Tay-Tay for having me dialed in at races. Also, the management staff for making sure Crystal and I didn’t have a thing to worry about but pedaling hard. 

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Also, someone who doesn’t get a ton of mention is CTS and specifically, Jim Lehmen. Jim has been a huge asset to my success over the past year and really helps me to keep my head on straight. Not to mention keeps me on track for the big races!

With CX season behind me I am excited to have some fun in my new location with my favorite person in the world and get ready for 2015. Stay tuned… Updates to come. 

In the meantime I have been able to relax some. Emily and I went to Copper Mountain for a fun ski trip! 

Then hiked Gog and Magog with Joe Liston, who coincidentally brought my car out to Co from NC. Thanks man! (the shout out you’ve been waiting for)

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