Full Circle

I started out the beginning of July with a trip to Vermont and now I close it out with another trip to the Northeast, New Hampshire. This time in my own RV. Well, Emily and I split it but everyday I use it I am convinced it has been the best investment I have made.

In between I flew out to the PNW for a video shoot with Diamondback, through my involvement with Rally Cycling, for a new gravel bike they are releasing. The video drops tomorrow. I also managed to get some good training in and even a local race in Burmil Park, Greensboro, NC. It was a bit of a crazy month but now Emily and I are hunkered down for some rest and relaxation in our new motor home.

We bought it about two weeks ago from an older couple in Virginia. The engine only has 46k and the interior is in great shape.

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We tested it out last weekend with a quick weekend trip to Brevard and it passed the inaugural trip with ease. Now confident, we loaded up and drove northeast to Boston for the US Cup, the Boston Rebellion.

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We arrived on Friday morning. The logistics coordinator, Ari Shocket, was nice enough to offer his driveway to us even though we were complete strangers. It turned out to be perfect. His family was great and cheered for Emily and I while also getting their first “boondocking” experience with the RV.

After a quick course pre ride I was happy with the course. Hardly any elevation change, just quick punchy climbs and lots of tight turns causing constant sprinting in an effort to maintain speed. There were also a good bit of roots and rocks out there drawing constant attention to proper line choice to prevent flats and abrupt ejections.

We settled into our driveway home and headed out with Russell, Keegan, Evelyn, and Myron for dinner. Quite a lively crew! Spirits were high and I went to bed excited to race my first UCI MTB race since MTB nats last year. Consequently, I had 0 UCI points and was not looking forward to traffic on a course with almost no room for passing.

Luckily I had a decent call up, mid pack and followed that with a great start. I went into the woods top 20 and just kept going. The heat was definitely playing a factor in the race as most of these guys haven’t seen high temps and humid conditions. I, on the other hand, had been training in NC for the last two weeks. The race day temp was cool compared to some of my mid day rides in NC. While I cursed the heat in the moment I was grateful to have suffered through and acclimated to it.

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I avoided the fade train and rode a clean race, kept pushing, and no mechanicals to finish 8th. Definitely my best HC finish and against a good field. The front of the race saw a big Euro contingency and I was happy to be next in line. Plus, I netted some good UCI points, which will come in handy next year at MTB and more importantly Nationals, being held at Snowshoe, West Virginia!

I grabbed a complimentary beer and tried to regain my composure. Dinner soon followed and the same crew hit whole foods and Ice Cream, where Emily and I tag teamed a pint like it was just a kiddy cone.

I must note how great it was to be piloting a some new colors this weekend. This marks the beginning of some great things to come by partnering with Kona. They were gracious enough to get me a 2017 Hei Hei DL just in the nick of time. With only Friday to get use to my new cockpit I was a little nervous to race in on Saturday but it felt natural and I warmed up to it faster than a fat kid to cake. I can’t wait to spend some more time in the saddle and just wait… #crossiscoming.

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Sunday was STXC day. My motivation was lacking, most likely due to the rain pouring down. I was looking forward to racing but warming up in the rain is a real kick in the pants. Luckily, just before our race the rain subsided and a cool overcast swept over the venue.

Due to my finish I had a handy front row call up and within two laps I found myself in the front group. The course was not very selective and therefore there were a couple more riders at the front than I was in favor of. The racing turned agro quick and swear words were exchanged on several occasions mostly from erratic, overly aggressive behavior too early in the race. Hence, about 4 laps in I got tangled up in some wheel over lapping and bit the dirt, or rather the gravel road. This was equally my fault as anyone, which was apparent from that being the only crash in the race. The worst part was I ripped my new shorts and now was down to one fully functional kit. More sink laundry for me on race weekends now…

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I sat on the sidelines and watched my friends suffer into the finish line, holding down bouts of jealousy and rage at the fact that I was sitting idle waiting for the race to be over rather than bleeding out my eyes in an attempt at a fleeting moment of glory. These are the not so great experiences that accompany racing. However, I have been lucky enough to have few of these and usually maintain and “onward and upward” type of mind set instead of brooding on the past and what could have been.

Plus, it was hard to keep my pouty pants on when Russell and I went out to explore the roads around the area for some extra training.

Sunday night we hung with the Shocket’s and they planted some ideas in our heads for what to do over the next two weeks as we train, relax, and check out New Hampshire and Vermont before Windham.

So this morning it was 1.5 hrs to Portsmouth, NH where Emily and I ran along the cost and out to Pierce Island where we saw some big US Coast Guard rigs. Then we cleaned up and strutted around town to check out the art, small shops, and food. Emily was even almost eating my a whale monster.

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Now we sit in Concord, NH waiting for the sun to rise tomorrow and more adventure to unfold.

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