Saturday, May 10, 2014

Whiskey - Go Go Go

Had so much fun partying after the Whiskey 50 that I almost forgot to update about the race.

Reppin' Momentum Endurance & some 'PORANGE' Bontrager RXL's!

It's basically the story of Goldilocks & The Three Bears....

Last year I was coming into the race in pretty good shape.  I had a few races under my belt and was mentally ready to go, unfortunately it was my first Whiskey 50 attempt and I had not pre-ridden at all.  This left me racing nervous and over my limits way to often and although I had a great start I suffered at the top of the slkull valley climb and lost positions the whole way down the mtn.

This year although I was not quite as race ready with only 3 weeks of steady training in the legs, I was much better prepared for the altitude w/ 2.5 weeks in the thin air of Durango.  I also had way more knowledge of the course...having it raced it last year and having 2 solid course inspections one full run of the course and one 25 mile preview of just the technical bits.  The combo of these had me just as confident heading into the race weekend.

Knobbies & a skinsuit!

Things kicked off Friday night at the Fat Tire crit.  I had pretty darn good legs and definitely wanted to have good showing and get a hard effort in so I could rest up Saturday and crush it on Sunday.  Mission accomplished and it was HARD!  First 20+ min effort of the year.  I started slow, but made the front group when it really mattered...once I was established I stayed put....with 2 to go I was in a group of 7...all others had slicks, and I was rocking the knobbies.  I was getting out cornered when I heard the side knobs biting on the pavement and I had to ease up....once the small gap opened I knew I was in trouble.  I was able to hang on for a 6th place off the podium!

The XC was altogether tactically different than last year.  I had a great start into the first singletrack.  I slotted in about 10th wheel just behind Ben Sonntag.  There was a gap behind me....I had made the front group.  As soon as we started going up though Ben was struggling.  I opted to be patient knowing I got myself into trouble last year riding over my head...and the lead group rode away.  Luckily for me Kabush caught me just before the first major descent and I thought for sure he was my ticket back to the front group.
an XC race w/ some techy gnar!

We slayed the descent!  It was so much fun....but when we hit the next climb I knew something was wrong....Howard Grotts and Carl Decker caught us and went by...again I thought to myself be patient and opted to stay with Kabush.  I never say those two again and Kabush started going slower and slower.  The chase group swelled to like 25+ riders on the descent down to skull valley.

On the climb back out of skull valley I was feeling pretty good...not great, but good.  But by the time we got to mile 8 where it gets steep I was struggling a little....a small group of 4 or 5 had a 15-20 second gap towards the top of the climb...I was fairly confident I would catch them on the descent...especially when my Tucson training buddy Tom Sampson was just in front of me on the final descent.  I was really hoping we could hook up jam the descent and be in contention for the sprint for 9th place.

Plenty of climbing at the Whiskey
We almost caught them on the trail...then we almost caught them on the pavement, but it was not to be...I ended up watching 9th - 14th sprint about 10 seconds ahead of me.  I felt great on the descent and on the pavement and had way too much left in the tank.

So - last year I was smashed...this year I was year will be just right!

After the race we partied!  Prescott Station to celebrate Chloe's win, then the next day to Sedona to shred some red rock single track.  Hi Line and much fun.

A day later we were off to Moab to ride the Worlds Famous Slickrock! 

Then it was back to Durango to gather the rest of out belongings before the long drive home!

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