Sorry again dudes, I've been really busy the last couple of weeks. Driving to races, working, and trying to finish all the stuff I need to do before I go to school. Funny, that sounds a lot like the last entry I did.
The trip to Brevard was fun except for the fact that it rained the whole time and we didn't get to ride as much as I wanted. Oh well, I shouldn't complain too much as I'm going to spend the rest of my life there pretty much. After taking like 2 hours to find a place to eat we came back to the camp site and packed up and then it started to rain again, sweet. So we instead of riding we loaded into the car and drove over to Fontana. The hole way over it poured on us and I was cringing in the driver's seat. I have luckily missed all the muddy races this year and I didn't want to break my streak. I think wet and muddy conditions are something that I excel in but I hate getting all that dirt out of my bike, clothes and hair.
Surprisingly the course was incredibly fast and dry. I had never seen the course sooo dry, I actually had dust on my bike. Insane. We got there Friday afternoon and pre-rode and the Kemps let Ethan, Mike and myself stay in their bad ass cabin. It was a really nice cabin right next to the start. You could see the start/finish from the porch. Anyway, props to the Kemps. Saturday morning Mike and I suited up to go ride again while Ethan readied for the downhill. Ethan thought he had a shot at winning the downhill until we found out that Chris Herndon was showing up. Chris Herndon is probably the nicest person you will ever meet. You'd never know that he is one of the fastest guys in the U. S. if not the world. Back in the spring he hit the world cup race in Spain, he had just gotten his new downhill bike like a week before that and jumped off the plane and was less than 20 seconds behind Sam Hill, the world downhill champion. Oh and by the way he can do Farlow Gap, I can not do Farlow Gap at all.
The Saturday night short track raced around the little park in the center of Fontana Village. Word had been getting around that I was favorite to win the short track so there came a little bit of pressure from the rumors. Woodall won last year by attacking on the first couple of laps and soloing to the win. One comforting thing about the soon to be slaughter fest was that I had two teammates in the race: Andy and Brad. Tactics do not play a huge part in short track races but having teammates does not hurt. Since the objective was to prevent Woodall from winning Andy instructed me to mark him through out the race and make sure he didn't go on another solo break. The race started incredibly fast and attacks were going off the front every five seconds. I remember covering attack after attack and looking down at my watch to find only five minuets had passed!Anyway the team messed up on tactics in the end allowing Woodall to pass Travis Liverman and grab the win. I was able to hold off Andy for third and Wes brought up the rear in fifth.
The next days cross country was a little less exciting for me as, to make a long story short, I didn't eat enough after the short track the night before and bonked pretty hard about half way through the race. I couldn't even see the trail on the last lap I was just trying to keep the bike going in (more or less) a straight line. After I finished I rode back down to the feed where the rest of the team was. I almost fell off the bike (actually quick pause, for those who don't know what a bonk is it is when you run out of food or water and you basically can't even pedal any more and eventually fall off the bike and go to sleep. Bikers can go longer than runners after the bonk because the bike frame supports us but once you get off you can't even walk you just kind of fall to the ground and wait until the wolves make off with your remains.) So that's what happened -minus the whole part about getting carried off-it was funny because I said very weakly: "Does anybody have anything to eat?" All of a sudden I had sandwiches and water bottles and candy and ice cream shoved in my face. It was awesome! I ate a ton of food and promptly fell asleep for a good 20 minuets. I woke up and Tash was crossing the line in front of me, so I cheered her on and then went back to sleep. It was awesome! After that I felt great and was about to do another lap of the XC-um yeah, I'm going to have to throw the bull shit flag on that one.
I'm going to skip ahead so you'll be up to date on my national schedule. Sunday is the last SERC race in Anniston, AL. I'm doing that race so I can have a last minuet prep before Nats which is the next weekend. I'm sitting in 2nd overall in the SERC (sorry it was a mistake when I said that I was 1st because I had forgotten about the dropped races) and I just need to do the race to make the legs feel good and to pick up my awards. From the race we drive 12 or 14 hours (I forget how much) to Mount Snow, Vermont. The cross country is on Friday and the short track is on Sunday. After that race on Sunday we drive down to Sugar Mountain in North Carolina. Again I race on Friday and Sunday. The national race in VT and the NMBS at Sugar are the two deciding races for the national team for the World Championships in Scotland. These are the two big ones that I've been training all year for. As Andy said, our team has an odd habit of winning on odd years. We've had people win in 2001, 2005, and perhaps 2007. I know that we'll be staying in a condo for VT so hopefully I'll be able to keep updating my blog, checking my email, and of course, checking my facebook. Dude whenever I start thinking about the race I just get a feeling in my stomach and my legs start twitching. You have to listen to your body all the time but especially when the legs start taking. The legs tell me they want to go fast, they tell me they want to crush all the minions that are my competition. Despite what Jon and Phil say I agree with Buck: "I've got witches in my legs." Unlike Cowboy Yuck my witches make me faster when they are under the control of the Dark Lord Dalman. Hold up, my bad I got carried away a little bit.
I'm writing this passage before I go into work so I can get in the evil, dark, cruel mindset that is required to make black magic at the local bike shop. This morning has been really crappy because I set all my forms for Brevard on the top of Tasha's car. When she went into work the paper went all over the road. So I've been trying to figure out what I'm missing for like the last half hour. Righteous. I haven't been able to get connected to the Internet so I decided to just sit tight and work on my blog.
I'm grouping this all into a huge blog because I don't really have time to separate all the different stories so here's an update on the Mt. Snow trip. We got in about 6 o'clock today and checked into a really decked out condo in the Mt. Snow Village. The Kemps showed up soon after and we had supper before going out for a quick ride. We tried to ride the whole course but it got dark to fast and we could only ride the first climb. We headed back and by the time I got in a quick shower and Tash showed up. We got settled in and went to bed about 11.
Wednesday morning was Friday morning for me. It makes it a whole lot easier to remember what to do when you always race on Sunday. Since I'm racing Friday, Wednesday is Friday, Thursday is Saturday, and Friday is Sunday. That means you have more room in your brain to think about racing. Anyway when I woke up I found out that it had been raining since 4 or 5 in the morning and the track was good and saturated. That makes it so much better for me, the west costies can't ride any dry roots much lesss ones covered in mud.
Saturday morning dawned with no rain which was pretty cool but as we soon found out the first climb was almost completely unrideable. Sweet, I like riding in the mud when I can ride in it. I rode for about half an hour on the road, just trying to spin out the legs and chilax. The legs felt good but I still need to switch my front tire over from the small block eight to a Karma. The Karma hooks up better in the mud but Brad just showed me a Kharisma which might be a little better but I think I'm going to stick with the Karma. I'm a little nervous because the climbs are usually where I make my moves but most of them will be unrideable so I'm trying to think of another way. The plan for the race is to just sit back and watch the other racers until the right moment when I do my thing.
I watched the tour today, I'm sure that Phil had fun watching Vino attacking in the last K, impressive. I think Mom Dad are going to show up today or sometime tomorrow hopefully before 5.
Mom and Dad did show up before 5 but they were a little late no worries though. It was pretty cold at the start and during the whole race as a matter of fact. The start was pretty sweet because they decided to call us up based on our USA Cycling Ranking meaning that I would be on the front row. A call up usually doesn't matter at local races because there's not as many people but at the national races a good call up is very important for the start. If you start in the front then you don't waste as much energy moving up to the front. The start hits a long ski road climb before ducking into the woods for a quick decent back through the start/finish. Two devo guys attacked right from the start I covered the move One of them, Greg Carpenter dropped off the pace so it was just Ethan Gilmore and myself. By the way, the trail had not dried out at all during the last couple of days. The first climb was completely unrideable. Ethan and I jumped off and ran for about half a mile before we hit another road and hopped back on. Ethan kept on going and wee Tristan was left staring at his shoes. He got a good 15-20 second gap at the top of the climb and opened it a little more the next lap. Eventually two Devo guys caught up to me and did pretty much the same thing. The rest of the race was me chasing those three guys. I thought I knew how to ride mud but those guys really, really knew how to ride mud. It also didn't help that we raced in the friggin dark! When you went into the woods at the top of the decent the trail went completely black. To add insult to injury I crashed on the lap allowing another Junior X to pass me, I thought he was a U23 but at the finish I found out the truth. I went as hard as I could and those guys were faster in the mud.
Anyway nothing much happened Saturday except that I fed Andy and ate over at the sister's place. I was pretty pissed at myself and at Ethan and the other guys who beat me. I was the strongest guy in the race and I deserved that win. I was ready to race the short track and I was ready to win it. Those witches were doing their job. I rode after Andy's race and they felt like I spun around the block instead of racing a 2 hour cross country race in the mud.
Sunday was the last day of the 2007 Nats and it didn't start too exciting. I got up, made breakfast, talked to Brad's dad about college, switched tires to my super light Kosmik Lites, and sat around watching Versus Red, White, Black and Blue Summer programs. The parental units showed up around 12:30 to like talk and stuff. Hell if I know what they did. No wait, they did do something. Guess what Dad was wearing when he walked into MY condo. A freaking MAXXIS SHIRT! What were you thinking Dad? You show up to support you son racing in the national short track championships and show up wearing the opposing team's colors. Yeah, so I gave him my KHS T-shirt. Don't EVER do that again father! Warmed up and everything and rolled up to the line. USA Cycling once again reserved a space on my black list went they announced that the call ups would be decided by order of registration. So if you were a good little boy and registered back in February of last year you could start front row. Another thing about starting in the front is you don't half to deal with PABs. A PAB is a mix between a jerk and ass hole. It kinda right in the middle-haven't you always wanted to have something in between those two? Well now you do, a Punk Ass Bitch. PABs are bad, they start in front of you and don't even know how to shift much less know how to clip into the pedal correctly. In order to get past them (there are usually quite a few) you have to whip out ya hockey elbows (new term-cirtousy of the Velo Bella team) and proceed to hack the hordes down.
So, I had to start behind those terrible PABs. It went OK I move moved up about five places at the start only to slam on the breaks and run over three more in the first turn while 10 got past. I kept on trying to move up because every time I stuck my head around I could see the guys in the front attacking each other. Last year I was the very last one to get called up to the line and by the time I made it up to the lead groupo they had started launching race winning attacks (an RWA is when you go all out in order to break away from the group-you totally commit 100 percent). Really suckful. Things were doing OK in command central until I tired to pass this guy in the front drag. I yelled at him over the noise but I don't think he heard me because when I pulled along side he tried to pass the guy in front of him. We locked H-bars and we both went down. I think I had the breath knocked out of me because I just curled up on the ground gasping for air. I thought about getting up and trying to get into the race but by the time I did I probably would have been pulled because I was too far behind the leader. So after about 5 minuets I was out of that jersey too. Totally suckful.