NCCX is definitely one of my favorite trips of the year. Its always a good excuse to make a trip to Athens and visit mom and dad, its an awesome drive thru the mountains of VA and TN, and the racing is top notch...even more so this year.
The last couple of years there has only been a handful of fast guys showing up in Hendersonville. Shriver, Frattini, Berden, myself, and Kerry Werner...this year the level of competition increased quite a bit.
I still managed a number 8 call up both days and it was pretty nice to be in the front row. With a fast up hill paved start followed by 3 or 4 muddy off camber sections and some tricky U turns it was important to get out early and avoid the carnage.
Day 1 was a wet and cold battle. The entire race I was following between 5-10 seconds behind Zach McD and we were slowly moving up. By the last lap we had caught Yannick and were within striking distance of Kerry W in 4th position, but my buddy was shutting down. It seemed my feet and hands were blocks of ice. At the 1:00 mark we still had a lap to go and it was that extra 10 minutes that put me over the top. I yelled for mom to turn the heat on in the car as I went out for my last lap. I finished up pre-hypothermic and experienced the shakes for about 15 minutes while my core temps tried to increase. Problem was at the same time my core was warming so was the embro on my legs and I started to get that uncomfortable warm feeling. Soon it felt as if somebody was holding a match to my skin....it was classically painful. I finished 7th. Huge thanks to Andy Swartz for ruling the pits for me. He jumped in head first and it was like we had been working together for years. Wouldn't have been able to finish without him.
Day 2 - I was fatigued...the course was getting heavy. Not nearly as wet as the day before, but after staying up till midnight working on bikes I was not feeling rested. Instead of proper warm up I was searching for help in the pits knowing again it would be a day that disc brakes pads would go fast.
Luckily a Cane Creek employee jumped in and saved the day. A slow start due to lack of warm up but then after a few adjustments I started going forward. The gaps were huge but by the end of the race 8th - 11th position were in a tight battle. I ended up 10th.
After NC I traveled back to Athens, home, and now I'm back in Athens again for Christmas. Next stop Tucson! Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for reading.