So, in keeping with tradition I started last year, I'm going to pump out another one of these 'best of' lists for 2009 as the year is (unbelievably) almost ready to expire. It's felt like a year of massive change for me...literally as if the year was forcing itself upon me to instigate and create needed change in my life. And so it came to pass. Bike racing for me felt like I was having mad fun, as it should, but certainly not über-focused like in years past. So much needed my true focus…all of which had zero to do with pedaling circles. And so, my Best Of list for 2009…
Best New Race - Red Rocks Velo, Golden November 29th.
What a rad course an a crew of passionate team mates who love 'cross and wanted their course to reflect all of the features a good course should have. Sand, woods, straights, a man made stair case...the course had it all. Can NOT wait to race it next year!
Best Race That I Raced - VeloCross September 13th.
I think I felt the best all year at this early season race. Probably too good in fact (reminding me that I need to feel the way I felt on that day in November and December). VeloCross could have been my 'best new race' as well given the uniqueness and sheer fun of the course. It was rad to ride through the VeloDrome and felt like an urban cross like those hosted in Diegem and other cities in Belgium. It was flat, fast, technical and fun.
Best Race That I Didn't Race - Bend Nationals 2009
Before the season began, I had already set a mental line in the sand of when my season would end, and that was CO States. I knew given all the changes swirling in my life that getting to Bend was out of reach, so I mentally scratched that from my list. But the agony, oh the agony felt not being there for my friends races. I was less concerned with pinning a number on myself and more broken hearted at not donning Wellingtons, gloves and brushes to pit and scream at my boys Webber, Baker, Dubba, Robson, Hogan, etc. Next year…
Best Training or Racing Aid – The Kelly RoShamBo Single Speed 29er
I’d modified an old Dean to be a 1 x 1 in the past but when I scored this old frame and built ‘er up, the sheer joy became obvious. From June through September, nearly every ounce of ‘training’ I did to prep for cross was done on this bike. I couldn't ride anything else! There’s something about a 32x18 in the mountains that was just delectable. Everything felt right out of the saddle pounding out rides in Nederland and I’d never felt more ‘one’ with a bike than this one. The power efforts were done easily and what you lack in being able to train w/ high cadence and light spinning, you make up for in depth and power. Can’t WAIT for the trials to open up to get more miles on her this spring.
Best Food-CLIF Shot Double Expresso
I’ve been up and down on gel’s the last few years. The Chocolates are too chocolaty and the fruit-based ones are too fruity. They all made me want to vomit on long rides. Then, I saw this new product roll in to Boulder Cycle Sport…the Double Expresso. I love coffee…so why not! I tried it on some epics and honestly it felt like the perfect taste when you are deep into a ride and in that ‘bonky’ state where the wring tasting thing will send you into the cave quickly. These were the perfect taste….and clearly the right amount of caffeine (100mg a shot).
Best Road Trip- Single Speed Worlds!!
What a flippin’ EPIC! Pete Webber and I piled in my minivan with tons of bikes (I had all my ‘cross bikes too given I’d head to ‘Vegas from Durango for Cross Vegas as well), beer and cameras to document our trek to D-town for the 1x1 world championships. It was a blast and the Durango Crew assembling the SSWC09 race were so on it, it was incredible. Some how, they preserved the true ‘core’ feeling of 1x1 fanatics with a balance of organization to keep all the smelly bike racers like me having fun, racing safe and getting the sense of how Durango=bike culture.
Best Product I Tried This Year – The 2009 Ridley X-Night
'C’mon, you KNEW that was coming, right? I have professed my love for the bikes since I opened up their boxes and marveled at the construction. It’s more arrow than I am Indian and I hope to ride up to their standards next year with some more podiums but the bikes are incredible.
Everything felt right from the position I had on the bike to (most importantly) the geometry. I’d heard a load of heresy about bottom bracket height being too high, etc but there is a reason why Ridely has won countless World Championships and ridden by the best riders on earth. It’s amazing with the right set of tubulars and the right pressure how this bike behaves when you dive it into corners. Given Colorado’s snowy winter (which turned to mud most weekends), the internal cable routing was flawless…never missing a shift. It was incredible. That and the fact that the SRAM drive trains I use are bomber and will essentially shift with a log caught in the derailleurs!
Best Picture I Took - Matt Pacocha at Frisco Cross
I don't know exactly why I like this photo I snapped so much but I think it’s Paco’s fingers on his right shifter.The whole scene just captures the intensity of a racer bombing out of a corner, mouth slightly opened in anticipation of the next interval to start.
Best Picture Someone Took of Me
Rob O-Dea seems to 'win bike races' a lot as it were...in that each pull of his trigger seems to yield amazing images. Rob snapped this picture of me...my snotcicle an all...at Cross Vegas this year. I look panicked...as if some Belgian was about to catch me (and they did...and a gaggle of Americans like Jamey Driscoll and Chris Jones at 0:53:50!! Bastages. Although I am happy to have had the mercy round put through my skull.
But alas I am honored and have keepsakes like this to show my sons when I embellish my 'back in the day' stories.
Best Purchase I Made in 2009-My ‘Chain Link’ for Valmont Bike Park!
We held an exposition race at Valmont Bike Park this season to demonstrate to the community what this whole area could ‘feel’ like and IT WENT OFF! What a DAY! The course was amazingly fun and the festivities were top notch. If you haven't done so, donate to the park and ensure you become ‘indelible’ with it with a the purchase of a ‘chain link’! We originally had the concept of a brick but the placement of these on the ground never looked or felt right so an artist devised these metal engraved chain links which will be sculpted into an awesome ‘wall’ to show all those who have donated.
Best of the Best of 2009-FREEDOM!
My life changed in April of this year with a decision to ‘accept the package’ as some people say from my old employer. 12+ years building and building and investing much of my soul into a bunch of zeros and ones working with some of the most talented engineers and business folk in the world. We innovated, we sweat, we won and lost together, but it was time for my life to change. And so it has!
So that’s it folks! A wrap up of 2009. Some bike stuff, some life stuff, but all-in-all another year to thank the Big Man for. Be happy for your health and happiness, my friends. No New Year’s resolutions…those are for suckers. Live life the way you want to in ‘10. On your terms. Make yourself and your families proud.