The Nationals Build and Looking Ahead

Since my European racing endeavors my blog updating has been more than lax… However, the motivation to talk about racing hasn’t been as high due to some less than optimal results. 

After Albstadt I was able to put in a big block of training. With the help of the OTC staff and CTS coach Jim Lehman Russell and I got in to the new High Altitude training room for some Supplemental O2 intervals. We did 4X4min all out intervals w/ 4min in between and we did them at sea level with the help of the room. The idea is to stress our bodies with intense intervals more than we could outside at 6000ft elv. 

IMG 7491

We did 3 sessions over 1.5 weeks and had about a week before Missoula.

In that time we experienced a truly American holiday, “National Donut Day.” We celebrated at Amy’s Donuts…

IMG 7474

We did these last year and I felt like that had a really good effect on my for my nationals form so I was looking forward to a good results at Missoula. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I managed to hang in there for a lap but my climbing game was not up to par and I didn’t have the ability to run with the top 10 towards the end of the race. I ended up 14th and grabbed 2 UCI points

A little disappointed I boarded a flight and came back to the Springs, excited to have my mom in town and also for the home town race! She tried clipless pedals out for the first time in her life and met the pavement a couple times but by the end of her stay she wanted some of her own.

IMG 7527

I was feeling good leading up to the race and had higher hopes than I did for Missoula because the course profile better suited what I had been training for, ie no long climbing. I figured I was for sure rested from the O2 intervals by the Springs weekend so I was ready to rip some legs off, apparently just mentally.

I didn’t have the best start in the XC, I wasn’t aggressive enough before the first single track. However, that wasn’t the reason for my end result. I felt like I only had one speed throughout the race. If I went hard, I had to back off to recover some. This lead to me drifting back throughout the race. With 2 laps to go I snagged my rear derailleur cable on a rock and luckily there was no derailleur or hanger damage. I pulled into the pit and James readjusted my cable and I was back out on course. By this point I was hoping to be pulled. I finished 23, and because of the HC race status, got 4UCI points. Woot! 

IMG 7554

Like I said I was excited to have my mom in town and show her why I love Colorado, and the Springs especially so much. So after STXC, which went better than the XC, I made drag herself up the incline. Only to come down in a gnarly lightning storm! #worthit! (look at storm in background)

IMG 7573

I was quite flustered after those two weekends of racing. I thought I had put in the training to a T! Also, I was super focused on everything off the bike as well. Watching my weight, sleeping good, recovering the best I could. I tried to pay extra special attention to these things because in Missoula I sat down with Donn and worked out the rest of my schedule for the remainder of 2015. We decided it was best to pull the plug on MTB season after MTB Nats so I could focus on the upcoming cyclocross. 

I was happy with this decision. One of the reasons I was so happy to join the Raleigh-Clement Team was because of the focus on Cyclocross. I am ready to mix things up and transition to a schedule more heavily focused on CX than MTB. Looking forward to 2016 I want CX to be the main focus and I was happy to learn from my talks with Donn, who has been nothing but supportive through these less than ideal results, that we were on the same page.

With that in mind, I was in hyper focus mode since our meeting. After the springs race I went to Jim and told him I wanted to go all in for the next two weeks so I would have no regrets/excuses at nationals. Jim wasted no time in cracking the whip. Big ride on Monday with Payson and Russell post race weekend yielded fun trails and some bloodshed.

IMG 7582

I was excited to focus really hard on the last two weeks and it paid off. My numbers increased and I am feeling good. The only thing left to do is smash it up at nationals. Anything can happen at 8000+ft and I am looking forward to bettering/maintaining my 2nd place from last year. 

Though the training has been very focused I have been able to have some fun… First, Emily’s Dad, Sister, and sister’s boyfriend as well as a family friend was in town after the springs race. We went to Cirque de Soleil, which was an eye opening experience!

IMG 7586

Emily’s Dad stayed in town all the way through this past Saturday, when they left, via RV, for Mammoth. A 20hr drive, which I will be embarking on with them on the way back from nationals Sunday morning. We showed Emily’s Dad the COS downtown life by taking him to Black Canyon Brewery and playing pool a couple nights.

IMG 7608

Then Russell and I set off to head west into 11 Mile Canyon for a little day fishing trip. This was Russell’s first time fishing with his new fly rod and surprisingly we came out of that trip with 5 fish between us…

IMG 7614

IMG 7618

That fishing trip sparked a fire in us and Russell quickly formulated an over night trip to the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range, south and west of the Springs. He had told me about the Sangre’s before and gushed about how he wanted to move to Westcliff. With their unbelievable views, easy access to three 14er’s, the rainbow trail, and just about anything adventure I could see why he was so captivated. 

We drove down to Westcliff, about 1.5 hrs, on Sunday evening and camped at DeWessee reservoir. 

IMG 7670

The next morning we woke up and fulfilled our bike riding obligations before setting off into the mountains.

IMG 7698

We unloaded the moto’s, packed lunch, and fishing poles, then set off for Hermit Pass, 13,010ft and Hermit lake, just below the saddle of Hermit Pass. It took us about 45min to moto to the top, where we were disappointed by the snow pack that blocked our way up to the top of the saddle. The views from out lunch stop were still spectacular!

IMG 7700

We shoo’ed the marmots away…

IMG 7686

Then packed back up and headed back down to Hermit Lake for a .5mi hike to the lake shore. The fish were jumping out of the water like crazy! Some, a mere 10ft in front of us. We were eager to get a line in. However, we didn’t even get a bite. Also, we only got about an half hour of fishing in before the clouds rolled in and the rain started coming down. Damn afternoon thunderstorms!

IMG 7693

We packed back up and headed down to the car. When we got there the sun was shining and we turned to look at the mountains to discover the rain looked to have subsided and it was simply cloud cover. That was a somber moment but we reassured ourselves that if we would have stayed we probably would have gotten stuck in a lightning storm for the ages. Also, I will use that brief but unforgettable experience as an excuse to get back there ASAP!

Back to the springs Monday night to decompress over a big group dinner at the Pate, Emmit, Finsterwald compound. Joined by Katie and Mark Compton, Caroline Feldman, and myself we had a great BBQ. 

I am sitting in DIA writing this ready to get this nationals trip rolling. Here’s to the end of MTB season! I am ready to make this last race count!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s