6:00 am, it was time to get up and ready for another weekend of racing, this time it would be on Colorado turf for stop #1 of the Mountain States Cup Series in, Salida, Colorado! This was my first instate race of the season and I was rather nervous. The first of everything makes you the most nervous, from the first race of the season to the first short track, or the first instate race. I always want to make a mark on the first!
By 8 am I was pumped and warming up for the first of two races that day, the hill climb TT up Tenderfoot Mountain with a 8:45 start. Before I knew it I was in the gate ready to shred! 8.o9 painful minutes, and 2 miles later I was atop tenderfoot mountain with a super solid time which was nearly a minute improvement on last year.
After a successful mourning it was time to rest for the noon short track start. Back to the camper we went to fuel up rest up and prepare to kick ass! 11:30 I was back at the start warming up and taking caffeine shots for a painful 20min. race against the entire men’s Cat. 1 field. We were soon off; most the racing took place on a dirt road that climbed about a mile up Tenderfoot Mountain. Atop the gut busting climb was a wicked steep and tight, single track decent! the decent was off camber, loose, and contained some of the sketchiest switch backs I have ever encountered. By lap to I was really ready to get kicking. I was sitting in 7th place for the cat. 1 overall but, I was determined to pick off as many as I could on this lap. There goes one, and another, and then a few more. By the top of the climb I was in 4th just seconds off of 3rd. But i would haft to wait a till the bottom of the decent to pass because there was n o way a position gain was going to happen on the tight single track. By about half way down the decent I was right on 3rd. places wheel and was riding comfortably, then smack I took a small spill laying the bike down on the non drive side. I was quick to get up but 3rd. was now out a ways and would be difficult to catch on the third and final lap. But I was ready to climb till I puked, and I nearly did. I didn’t catch him on the climb but i was hopping if I kept it together on the decent that i could catch him on the sprint climb finish! The final decent was smooth and problem free and I was ready for the sprint. I hit the climb and was racing an attack, i was about to catch him and then he, about 20 feet ahead put on the motor and crossed the line in 3rd. Still it was a great race, but now I needed to focus on tomorrow’s 17mile XC race, time to recover.
That evening we headed to beautiful and adventures down town Salida nestled upon the banks of the mighty Arkansas River. We ate dinner at the boat house cantina and then I got called up on the podium for leading day one of the riverside rampage. Now time for some quality rest, which would be easy to obtain considering I would start at 1:30pm the next day.
I woke up the next morning to find a large field of riders in my category. The race started out really fast, which was expected due to the short length( 2, 8 mile loops) The first 2 miles of the race where on a paved road section, at this point i just sat in the middle of the field trying not to waste any energy. As we were about to turn onto the single track portion, where you could not pass, I sped up into third place. The leader, a local kid Garett Lunberg, took off and was long gone very quickly. I sat in 3rd. right on 2nds. tail with 4th not to far back, for the whole first lap. On the second lap 4th place, Kyle Bloesser, and I worked together on the road. I ended up breaking away a little before the single track. On the technical single track I took off and got close to second place, he and I were pretty equally matched and so was Kyle Bloesser in third place who was about 30 seconds back. The course was very slow due to the loose rocky course, but we powered through venturing our way towards the start. With about 2 miles to go one of those loose jagged rocks punctured my side wall, I heard it immediately as the Stans attempted to seal the hole, I used my Co2 shot to seal it, it held for a bit and was beginning to seal, soon I was in 4th, as the 3 ahead of my took off to the finish. I kept on riding it and airing it up, I didn’t put a tube in because I could nearly see the start so it would probably take longer to change the flat. I ended up in 5th which was fulfilling considering the situation at hand.
It was a great way to start of the Colorado season! I was still able to take home the stage race over all, so I was very excited. Thanks to REEB cycles for fueling my Salida adventure! Ride on!!!