First thing on the itenerary was the Pro XCT Finals in Colorado Springs. This year the event was a stage race which was surely going to be tough being it is at altitude. Three stages, a Time trial, a Cross Country race, then a cross country criterium. First things first though, was a stop at Carmichael Training Systems to catch up with Cameron and Amber Chambers. We got a tour of the facility, which was pretty awesome. I was drooling over an entire building based solely around cycling and Katie was jealous that Cam gets to work in a place where every employee is physically fit, no big gulps and smoke breaks there.
Stage 1: The TT. I pretty rarely do a TT, make this my third one ever, so I didnt know how it would go. This was the roughest course of the weekend, the only day I would ride a dually. The race started with a big paved climb, then entered into a really rocky section. I felt good at the start and got through the rocky section without a problem. I was thinking I didnt want to go too hard and blow up before I had a chance to really pour it on towards the finish. This turned out to be the wrong approach as it was really hard to do much pedaling the second half the course as it was lots of descending and loose, slick turns. At the finish, I was pretty happy with a 28th place. Only losing a few seconds to the top 20.
Stage 2: XC. Saturday was the traditional Cross country day. Figured it would be over 2 hours of racing. Once again, I was careful on the start to ease into the race. The lap is basically one long climb and then a descent. At the end of the first lap I started to catch riders who were blowing up. From there I steadily moved up little by little and by the finish I was sitting in 24th. This put me into 24th overall.
Stage 3: XCC. Sunday's stage was a cross country crit, or a really long short track. 45 minutes plus 5 laps. Warming up I was thinking that the two days racing were taking its toll and my legs felt a bit weak. I had a good call up by sitting in 24th and the race started on a long paved climb before entering the singletrack portion. The gun went off and I quickly found that I felt better than I thought. By the top of the climb I was well inside the top 20. I would fade a bit in the middle of the race, but then started coming back towards the end. On my next to last lap I had decided to try and rest for one last surge so I sat on a couple of guys wheels for the lap. As we entered the paved climb there were four of us together and I was thinking that if I beat them to the singletrack I could hold them off to the finish. One pedal into that plan and my front derailleur came loose and twisted. It was hitting on my cranks so I had to switch out of the big ring to try and keep pedaling. I found it would keep the chain on, but sounded like it was trying to shift every pedal stroke. I stayed with the group until the top of the climb but the shifting problems were too much and they got away. 22nd place in the XCC put me in 22nd for the overall. Some more series points were earned, and a handful of UCI points as well.
Mike Broderick is making a pass on me on the second or 3rd lap.
The trailwatch photographer who takes photos for Cyclingnews.com seems to like taking pictures of me and playing with them on photoshop.