And just like that, Spring has turned into late Autumn, and my mountain bike season is over for another year. I raced 34 days in 2017, my most ever. The season didn’t go to plan in every aspect, but the process of looking back has been really helpful. I improved on the competitive side, and saw some amazing sights while traveling, too!
My biggest accomplishment was getting on the podium twice in the National ProXCT series. I’ve been working towards short-course UCI style races for a couple of years, so to see that success pay off was fantastic. The validation of a national level podium cannot be underestimated
The low points
My biggest disappointment was not capitalising on that early season form in July, when I travelled over to race the World Cups. The form dipped, and the beating I got during those races was hard to recover from. I came back from Europe with a terrible cold that hung around for the rest of the year. It wasn’t until after Breck Epic in August that I finally went to the doctor and got diagnosed with a sinus infection!
My “long form” racing came on quite well. I finished 13th at the Whiskey Offroad and 8th in Grand Junction. These were the strongest domestic fields I raced in all year. These events are the target for next year, and I have a good idea of what I need to do in 2018 to be even stronger. I love the 3-4 hour length races, and I can be a better all-round rider with this focus in 2018.
The Local Stuff
Racing in Colorado is hard to beat. I love where I’ve chosen to live. I relished the late season events in Colorado. Without doubt, the highlight of the season was my 8-day block of racing in August: The Steamboat Stinger, into the Breck Epic, into the King of the Rockies (aka #KingoftheHoneyEpic, thanks Evelyn). That block started well with a win in Steamboat. I struggled through the Breck Epic, but came out the other side having a new appreciation for multi-day racing. As day 8, I went over to Winter Park for the King of the Rockies, and had a great battle with Taylor Shelden, coming in 2nd. That was the start of the best season in Colorado: the late season races. I got on the podium at the last of the MTB races, coming 2nd at the Fall Classic and 5th at the Outlier.
The Support Network
Christa has been there for everything. She dealt with my incessant hunger during the Spring when I did nothing but long hours on the bike. She traveled to Europe to watch me at the World Cups, and she’s there now when all I want to do is sit on the sofa!
I have an amazing support network. I’ve stayed with family and friends across the US and further afield; people going out of their way to help me pursue my single minded drive to succeed. It’s humbling to see. There are two companies in particular that have stuck by my side. Boulder Cycle Sport lives and dies by its local community. Their support this year is the biggest component of my success; Wes Webber has rebuilt my bikes more times than he or I can count, and Justin Hoese has fielded my emails and questions at all times of the day.
At Scott Bicycles, I’ve had the pleasure of working with really good people, too; Wade Gasperson and Zack Vestal – thanks for your help. Your bikes are undoubtedly the best on the market, but your culture and willingness to help are even better!
Jasen Thorpe – you’re a bigger part of the last couple years than I’d ever tell you in person.
What’s up in 2018?
I’m changing up the schedule next year: no World Cups, and very few short course XC races. I’ll be starting my season later, giving time for a proper break through the winter. I’ll focus on a couple big stage races, in addition to the Epic Rides series, and also some bigger races in Colorado.
No guarantees just yet, but it’s going to go something like this:
Moab Rocks, Moab Utah
Whiskey 50, Prescott Arizona
Grand Junction Offroad, Grand Junction Colorado
Trans-Sylvania Epic, Pennsylvania
GoPro Games, Vail Colorado
Carson City Offroad, Carson City Nevada
Crested Butte Fat Tire 40, Crested Butte Colorado
Firecracker 50, Breckenridge Colorado
Singletrack6, British Columbia, Canada
Steamboat Stinger, Steamboat Springs Colorado
Breck Epic, Breckenridge Colorado
King of the Rockies, Winter Park Colorado
Fall Classic, Breckenridge Colorado
Chequamegon 40, Cable Wisconsin
Outlier XC, Vail Colorado
OZ Trails Offroad, Bentonville Arkansas
Iceman Cometh, Traverse City Michegan