Wow, from the last time I wrote up a blog piece a lot has happened. A lot of it has been bad but certainly some has been good. Racing last month at Palmer Park no one could have foreseen what the coming weeks would hold for Colorado Springs. Personally I have never been so close to such widespread devastation and fear. I have never known what it is like to live day after day glued to the media coverage listening for every shred of news with rapt intension. I hope I never have to do it again. I speak as a person who did not lose their home and was not inconvienced all that much but I do feel that it was the best of the human spirit that came through in our community. To see what people are capable off when stretched outside of their limits and well beyond their comfort zone reassures me for the future of our great land.
My life has been filled with bike riding, travel, and racing. The good life. After a fun ProXCT here in Colorado Springs I raced my first Winter Park race of the season and got on my first Pro podium of the series. Local triathlete mega star Michael Weiss and I had a great duel in which he outpowered me in the closing miles to take the win and I came in 2nd. I was happy with the result and even though I cracked hard in the end I was feeling on track for my main goal of the XC National Championships the following weekend. As I have discussed here in the past I have been hungry for the win of the singlespeed National Championship for several years now.
I got my first singlespeed, a Surly Rat Ride, when I was 15 and I fell head over heels in love with riding one gear bikes. Riding gears is fine enough and I like to compete with gears against other Pros but singlespeeding is the passion of my life. Just thinking about a long day riding one gear around in the mountains gets me so giddy I can hardly sleep. When I was still in high school I rode my first singlespeed century. With not many options for a Kansas farm country boy I rode laps of our 5k cross country running course literally all day long. I wore a grove in the undulating grass field while some friends gave me sandwhiches and wondered what I was doing this for. Not much has changed 15 years later.
I won the XC National Championship in Sun Valley and set the fastest time on the course. I won the singlespeed class by 6 minutes and had one of the best races of my life. As well I had an absolute blast, Sun Valley was gorgeous and the course was beyond words. My Dad made the trip with me and along with several friends we celebrated by riding at Kurt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming. Getting in the car exhausted from pedaling and heading back into Colorado was one of the best feelings of my life.
A short week at work and I was back off to Breckenridge for the 100 mile race contested there over the weekened. I had felt unusally good on my bike all week and thought that I just might be riding the perfect peak off Nationals and could possibly throw down a big singlespeed result at Breck. I have won each of the RME series races I have entered but I was getting hungry to not just beat the other onespeeders. For a singlespeed to thrive you need lots of steep ups and steep downs. If your fitness is good you can pull away on the climbs and if the descents are fast enough you do not stand to loose much time, if any. Breck 100 is steep up and down all day long. I had the best 100 mile race I have ever done and finished 1st in the singlespeed class and third overall again to Michael Weiss and Breckenridge all time Champion Josh Tostado. It was an epic haul and I dug deep but it is a result that I will be proud of forever.
So here we are, another Sand Creek Race. After all the travels and adventures it is so comforting to grab my Pikes Peak Sports team jersey pedal away from work and over the hill to the start line. This races marks the start of phase two of my 2012 season. Now all focus turns to the 24 hour National Championship. Along the way I get the chance to prepare by racing what just might be the toughest local competition in the country. The Sand Creek Series serves riders on many levels. It can be a perfect introduction to new riders looking to learn from the chance to ride and race with others. It can be bragging rights for local trail shredders who have been duking it out with each other for years. Or you can take the oppurtunitiy to chase around recently crowned U23 National Champion Russell Finserwald or the perennial power house JJ Clark. That is pretty cool, so I guess I will see you there tomorrow.