Houffalize and Sea Otter Classic Blog:
Man…it has been a crazy two weeks. Tons of
travel, different time zones, flights, and some awesome racing!
When I arrived in Houffalize I did a nice
long hard ride to blow all the travel out of my legs and also did some laps on
the track. Which was pretty amazing. So much fun, and a decent amount of
climbing for a world cup. There were two main climbs that are about a minute
and half long and really steep. There were also plenty of technical sections
that made sure you could handle your bike!
Then came race day, I thought I had the
course dialed and with a front row call up I was really stoked to race. The gun
went off and the start was insanely fast. I was spun out of my gears before we
hit the first "wall” on the start lap, and had to immediately drop it to the
little ring. I think there were only about 8 guys that were able to ride it,
the rest were running! I somehow managed to make my way up first which was really
nice going into the singletrack. I felt really good so I figured I would just
keep hammering up there and try to blow up the group a bit. Victor, Frishy (Scott/Swiss
Power) and I took turns up front on the flats to keep the group moving quickly.
I felt strong on the climbs and was able to get a slight gap each time, which was
good because it allowed me to recover up top on the flats.
After about lap 2, Romin (France), the
eventual winner caught up to us. Going into the last lap I burped my tire
somewhere, then Romin attacked and I couldn’t hang with him on the DH. So he
was off, and then Andri Frischknecht attacked going into the last downhill
before the finish and dropped me. Romin won by about 40 second and Frishy was
about 20 seconds ahead of me. Overall I was way stoked with a 3rdplace finish, it was my first podium at a euro world cup! Thanks so much to the
USAC staff, as well as Cannondale for all the help in Belgium.
Almost immediately after the race I flew from
Brussels directly to San Francisco for the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey California.
I was excited to race because I had a good finish last year, and it’s a cool
event. Tons going on.
After a quick preride on Thursday it was time
to race. The course was one big lap with a lot of fire road and sand. It was
also very hot, especially coming from rainy, cold Belgium.
The race started out really fast with Tobin
taking the front and drilling it. Which was good because it strung out the
field, and made it a bit less sketchy than last year. I made my way to the
front going into the dirt because it can get a bit hairy with 40 amped up
juniors going around a gravely hairpin turn! Bryan then put in a ferocious
attack on the fire road downhill at the beginning and no one could hang. So he
was gone. It was then Cypress, Jacob and I chasing.
I didn’t feel so hot so I decided to let
those guys do most of the work; the heat was taking its toll. On the last climb
I began to feel a little better, which was good because Cypress was putting the
hurt on Jacob and I. I was able to hang with him, and then I threw in an attack
on the final climb and was able to get a small gap. I immediately saw the
colorful kit of the Ritte-Castelli team and knew Bryan was right there.
I thought I was racing for second so I was
way stoked and continued my attack to catch Bryan before the singletrack
downhill to the finish. Cypress had managed to pass Bryan as well so he ended
up 2nd with Bryan rolling in for 3rd. Great racing guys!
Props to Bryan for riding like 19 miles off the front alone in that heat.
Taylor came in 12th after a great start and then hitting the "heat
wall”, good work sticking it out man. Good job to Alex for his 32ndin the pro cat, which was a really fast field and some crazy hot weather!
Thanks for all the support from Cannondale, and Nate Miller (who smashed the
single speed category!) for keeping our equipment flawless.