I had a bit of bad luck racing cyclocross in November, and it was the wake up call I needed to get back into cross after collegiate nationals. I raced down in Broomfield at Interlocken, and got a little over zealous in a corner, ending up sliding along the grass with my foot still clipped in to my bike. I twisted my ankle enough for some immediate swelling and some hobbling around. It didn’t put me off aiming for redemption in Longmont the day after though. I was going great (again), managing to set the pace and ride a lot of people out of the lead group. That all ended when I shredded my tyre on a metal edging on the course, and came to an abrupt stop. It was the end to a frustrating weekend of racing, but it put a couple things in perspective.
This is a very belated write up on the Grand Junction Offroad race that took place at the end of August. It’s taken me a while to get around to putting pen to paper since the last three weeks have been chaotic! I’ve been settling into life as a normal person, rather than pretending to be a full-time cyclist that I had the privilege of this summer. The Grand Junction offroad was a new event run for the first time, but by an experienced crew of people. I’ve raced the Whiskey 50 before, in Prescott AZ, and loved it. The Epic Rides team put this race on to be a compliment to the Whiskey at the other end of the season. They succeeded.
I’ve raced the Steamboat Stinger since its inception in 2011; since the first year I was racing Mountain Bikes in Colorado. It wasn’t intentional, but it’s become the only race to stand the test of time. It’s become a yardstick for where I am in the year, where I am in the world, where I am in racing.
I’ve really missed competitive Mountain Biking: I haven’t done enough of it this year. My return to Colorado set the stage for a return to the wonders of XC racing, and I was really happy to race in Winter Park this last weekend. I started my Mountain Bike career in the Grand Valley, at the headwaters of the Colorado river, and it’s great to continue it now. My first XC race was a collegiate race in Sol Vista, just down the road from Winter Park. I raced in the ‘B’ category, and came an emphatic second after feeling like my sea level lungs were about to explode.
Race time. It’s a familiar feeling; one that my body has been craving for too long. I have neglected the competitive addiction, one that must be sated for everything to seem right in the world. The internal feelings are unmistakable; restless legs, concern for every unit of energy spent, and food constantly consumed. The external environment is new though. I hadn’t organised a lift with a friend, there was no pick up time, no packing of cars, or friendly albeit nervous banter on the drive to the race. We didn’t pull up to the car park in our own clique, and go through the motions of preparation with the support and backup of close friends.