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Cross Racing Week 4 | Interlocken and Xilinx

Photo by Dejan Smaic - Sportif Images

Ups and downs...highs and lows. It was a weekend full of 'em! The Boulder-area had some of our classics this weekend. Interlocken on Saturday and Xilinx on Sunday are two of the most revered and favorite courses by the locals run by some of our best promoters, Boulder Racing and Blue Sky Velo. 


The weather the Front Range has been experiencing is classic Indian Summer - warm sunny days with dry and fast conditions. But we can always artificially make a 'cross and that's what our friends at Interlocken did by allowing the industrial park's sprinklers t remain on all night and create a swamp of epic proportions for us. 

The day began with a bang with my son Seamus (above) telling me he 'felt it' in the car on the way over. I'm like..."Feel what Seamus?" and he responds: "I feel like I'm going to win." Well then, OK boy. And he proceeded to pin it from the start had a blast 2 wheel drifting in the mud. His first taste of victory. 

I lined up a little less brazenly with aspirations only to have a good personal race and continue to build. From the gun I went to the front with Robson and had that 'oh shit' moment where I could literaly hear the mitochondria in my legs saying 'Abort! Abort!'

Photo by Enduro Bites Race Food

I'd pace with teammates (Brian and Wisner above) but each lap felt horrible. Completely over the limit and began to make mistakes. My mind wasn't focused on anything going forward and staying smooth. It was not even thinking about training! It quite honestly was feeling the pain. 

Photo by Enduro Bites Race Food

The back section of the course features a good ol fashioned tractor pull (below). Standard fair in cross (especially in Belgium) and yet I felt like I'd sink each time around. Not being able to keep tempo and where I'd get caught/dispatched each time. Here teammate Matt, Scott Upton on the 1x1 and Gully and I traverse the field all trying to find the fastest line through. 

Photo by Six Degrees to Slush

I'd end up 20th. Obviously disappointed but less so with the placing and more with my inability to command myself to go deeper. In the closing lap I'd also started to think about Sunday (probably a mistake) but was starting to boil up some anger to try and use to summon fast legs. 

Blue Sky at Xilinx

Sunday. I woke up and had this feeling like Seamus. I'm going to win today. I literally felt this and didn't care who showed up. I was going to throw everything at them. I was at peace with everything and literally, and atypically, decided to go for a ride in the AM. I cruised over to 'The World's Crappiest Park' (Elks) with its cotton woods blowing up bright yellow to drift through the corners and feel the bike a bit before my race later in the AM. I was just riding, happy and still had that warm feeling that it was going to be OK to completely hurt myself to go after my best possible self.

From the gun, Robson and I blasted off the line to the front with the peloton in tow. We'd get into the chicanes and immediately distance ourselves. What's amazing is that Ward (7 back here) would salmon his way thrugh that group by lap 2 to bridge to us and start to work.  

Photo by Daniel Dunn Photo

By lap 2, Robson, Ward and I are a trio pushing hard and distancing ourselves. Robson turning to me saying, 'This is a good one Keller! Stay in!" Baker yelling at me "YEAH KELLER!!"It was rad to just be carving with friends just the same way we'd be flowing through singletrack together in Ned. 

Photo by Daniel Dunn Photo

Each lap I'd push hard, not yielding. I could finally command myself to do what I know I could do which is not concede and just trust myself and my bike driving. Behind me it was a rotating affair of some of the hard men in full chase. Frank Overton, Chad Totaro, Jonny Coln, Brian Hludzinski and finally Jon Tarkington all changing turns to try and reel us back. it felt good to just be watch them, guage my effort, then look forward and push to catch Ward. 

By the closing lap, Robson had 15sec on Ward and I and Ward was just too far to reel back in. Way too smooth and I did not want to take any risks on the last lap and preserve what I thought was a fantastic race. 

I ended up 3rd and proud to be on the podium with two of my greatest friends...

Photo by Amy Keller

Meanwhile in junior land! Seamus was on to another banner day in the AM. Well off the front in his little race. So much so that the officials didn't realize he was racing and they sent him on a long course while diverting the chasing pack of kids on a much shorter course! The poor kid was DNF'd and just didn't understand and was so upset. Aiden took an amazing 4th both days in the 10-12 chasing his incredible teammates who inspire him greatly. The older kids on the team do that and I love seeing him look up to other kids the way he and Seamus do. The boys are having an incredible season learning so much about themselves.

Photo by Daniel Dunn Photo

On to the big Boulder Cup weekend. The Colorado Cross Classic (Boulder Reservoir) on Saturday and Boulder Cup (Valmont Bike Park) Sunday. Oh, and this just showed up last night. HUP!!

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