Crash and Burn in Sin City

Oh Vegas… The lights, the streetwalkers, the hustle and bustle (like New York the city never sleeps, at least the marquees never stop turning). It was only my second time in the city and I quickly realized it’s not a place I enjoy spending time in. I am sure I would have a different view point if I wasn’t in the city to race the biggest race of my cyclocross career. Maybe if the purpose of my visit revolved around the wad of cash in my pocket and the desire to pop bottles all night I would enjoy the nefarious ambiance (though if I had a wad of cash in my pocket it would probably go towards a motoing endeavor).

I flew in on Tuesday evening and met Jamey in the airport before hitching a ride with James to the venue for a lap on the course and a spin on the grid, during rush hour.

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Our airplane legs groaned in disapproval at the added climbing and velcro like grass. I was really hoping a golf course mower was going to come in and take the grass down to putting green level. Basically, there was a ton of pedaling and not a lot of rest. Throw in the world cup level competition and the race was going to be, by definition, a sufferfest!

Team dinner followed our evening spin. As we waited for our meal I nonchalantly glanced at my watch and noticed that it was 8:30. My eyes were already drooping. The fact that it was 11:30 on the easy coast weighed heavy on my eye lids. By the time We finished dinner, pushed in our chairs, and headed home I was ready to go toes up… Our race wouldn’t have even started yet. 

The next morning we convened at an Egg Works for a good homestyle, down home breakfast. Caroline ordered 3 sides of toast which turned out to be a whole loaf. I kept it simple with some blueberry pancakes. James ordered all of Mexico in a deep fried Tortilla… His thought bubble should read “Donde debo poner todo esta comida?!” (where should I put all this food?!)

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Off to the course to meet the mechanics for a spin.Mainly we were trying to kill time so we wouldn’t lose our minds staring at the hotel wall paper until 9:30pm.

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I can totally understand racing in the evening. The interbike festivities are over for the day so it draws a big crowd. The lights are more than sufficient to keep the whole course visible, even for our blind teammate Caroline who raced with a light at some night races last season. However, motivation to race at 9:30pm was nearly nonexistent. The fact that Cross Vegas was making history by being the first CX World Cup in America helped, but not enough. Personally, and I think a lot of riders would agree, the race should have started some time around 6 for the women and 7 for the men. Even that is a little late in my opinion but in order to draw the after work/ post interbike attendees sacrifices must be made. Also, it should be noted that I was especially at odds against racing at 9:30PST because my body clock was on EST.

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We showed up at the venue around 5pm so Laurel and Caroline would have ample time before there race. Plus, sitting at the venue was better than killing time in the hotel. 

I used the extra time to stop by the Crankbros tent and grab some new Candy 7’s. Cool new internals and external look. 

I did some course laps just before the women took off. Then hopped on the trainer to get my warm up underway. I had also yawned a handful of time, which I was hoping would go away once I pounded my pre race Redbull. With Redace Organics Beet juice shots and Redbull pumping through my veins I toed the line with the deepest field in my career. 

I was nervous sure but I was feeling pretty numb by this point. I didn’t have any expectations and just the goal to move up. 

The gun sounded and I found myself moving up through small gaps and sitting good after the start lap. Then disaster struck. I was in the air mid remount when someone stopped in front of me. Well I kept moving through the air and my bike stopped. Over the bars, and then I looked back and saw the 40 guys behind me storm over and past me. Unfortunately, Jeremy Durrin got caught up in the mess. Luckily he found my Garmin when he got back up. With bars off kilter and hoods pointing in opposite directions I headed for the pit.

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My race was pretty much over. I knew that. However, I wanted to try and at least get 1 UCI point… So I put my head down and tried to catch someone, anyone. Eventually I did. by the end of the race I made my way to 45. 

To say I am bummed about the result is an understatement. I felt like I had good legs and with a good start I was ready to do battle. That is how bike racing goes sometimes. These situations always suck because some things are out of your control, especially in World Cup fields. There is always more energy and that usually means more sketchy stuff going down, more risks, and inherently more crashes. 

With my first and last world cup out of the way there was only one thing left to do… Food. It sure as hell wasn’t sleep. I shot gunned a Redbull at 9:30pm and my race jitters weren’t going to wear off for hours. I figured In N Out would help to quell my post race energy so we headed there. 

The next morning I woke up and felt extremely hung over, though I had only one beer after the race. Caroline, Jamey, and I headed to Interbike to schmooze with  the people that make our team awesome! It’s a cool thing to have so much of the bike industry in one place because face to face interaction is so much better than clicking the send button and loading up someones inbox with product requests. Though, with so many people to see it ends up being a long day of standing on your feet.

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Thus, I give kudos to the industry folks who work those booths all day from Tuesday-Saturday. I just hope you all are wearing comfy shoes, compression socks, and are treating yourselves to anesthetizing beverages come the days end. I’ll have one for you tonight! Cheers! Stay tuned because we are in Ogden on Sunday for the Ogden CX race. That is if Jamey doesn’t kick us out of his house before then…

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