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Cross Racing Week 5 | Colorado Cross Classic and Boulder Cup

Boulder's 'Big Show' UCI weekend came and went in what most consider dream conditions - a snowstorm late in the week with sunny skies and melting snow over the weekend. A spectators delight...let alone a joy for the true crossers who relish in the conditions and courses that favor the bike drivers of the lot of us. We saw some maddening racing with Ben Berden taking advantage of Trebon's mishap Saturday and Ryan getting vengeance Sunday but having to beat Summerhill first. Crazy good racing. 

But alas, let's recount the old guy and kid races...cause that's where al the real drama is! Ha!

Colorado Cross Cup - Boulder Reservoir

My main man Boups impressed yet again with his Rez course. Every year the complaints start about the Rez a few weeks before the race....Oh the goatheads! Oh the sand! Oh it's flat and boring!....but every year Boups impresses. The course assembled was downright fun. The precip made it more so with frozen snow in the AM and by the time the 35 Elites took off at 11:30, we saw no less than 3 or 4 stages of the course changing. From greasy mud to tacky ripping speedway....all in 45minutes. Awesome. 

Photo by Mountain Moon Photography

I'd come off a high the weekend before podium-ing at Xilinx. I trained hard through the week and hit the weekend equally hard. Saturday felt good from the gun and I maintained power and consistency but felt a bit worked in the closing lap. Sort of a reminder that the legs were telling me 'dude, you've done a lot these last few weeks crawling back since late September."


Colorado Cross Classic - SM 35+ open Lap1 from Dale Riley on Vimeo.

Video by Dale Riley of Crossin Colorado!

I rolled hard and could hear the announcers calling out my trio of teammates slaying each other which made me smile. Pete, Russ and Brandon were well in their own stratosphere while Robson laid chase behind and all of us usual suspects chasing him!

Photo by Mountain Moon Photography

The sand section was ridable but in traffic I found my running skills were way superior. Here Jeff Cospolich, my teammate Mark Wisner and I would enter the pit each time and I'd get an advantage and each lap we'd slay each other to get back to the same positions in the sand....

Photo by Mountain Moon Photography

Cospolich and I had an excellent battle going and he and I would rail these wonderful corners Boups laid out...

Photo by Mountain Moon Photography

And up front, these monsters, Brandon, Russ and Pete were in a knife fight, Russ coming out on top in a 3-up sprint. 

Photo by Mountain Moon Photography

I finished in 15th. I'd give my ride about a B-. I drove well and did the best I could. But afterward I felt super worked. I ate all the good recovery food but still had such a deep feeling of 'wasted' going on, I had the demons in my head for Valmont happening the next day. 

I cleaned up and threw out the demons and ran to Seamus' start. Aiden smartly took the day off ( and dad told him no!) as he'd been sick all week. Seamus was SO excited and woke me up at 6:45AM that morning...fully bag packed. There were tons of people watching again as our junior fields are incredibly fun to watch. They did a shortened course, looping a muddy flat twisty tack about 5 times or so. 

Photo by Jamie Kilcoyne

Seamus works hard at his skills I am proud of him beyond belief. Such a smooth 8 year old! His remounts are like butter...

Photo by Jamie Kilcoyne

He too drove really well railing the mud from whistle to finish line...

I went to sleep that night thinking about Valmont. Excited for the crowds, but still had that dark feeling that the legs wouldn't respond. It's a struggle I have...and rooted in lots of things....confidence, understanding rest and recovery patterns, step progressions in a training trajectory and belief in my abilities. 

I'm still a student. I'll always be and will always keep trying. 

Boulder Cup at Valmont Bike Park

Sunday morning came to me...finally. I slept horribly. My body sweating all night, heart rate elevated, peeing....the works. I was miserable. Not sick, just worked. 

I got on the rollers early AM to sort of open a bit and just breathed and tried to focus on racing my race today. Whatever that was to be. 

Photo by YannPhotoVideo

I did a few hot laps and the course my teammate Pete Webber designed was crazy fun...if not crazy hard. Very technical (good) and lots of climbing (bad).

I had a 3rd row start and contemplated what I needed to do to get into a group I wanted to be with. From the gun the initial laps were OK. I had to fight for position, and used the starircase to my advantage gaining distance where needed but would get annihilated on the climb and various slogs where I'd lose connection with the pack I wanted to stay with. 

Photo by YannPhotoVideo

The closing laps...hurt. Power drop off and the mental focus I needed to stay with me, abandoned ship. Pulling the rip cord and parachuting away from my burning vessel. I'd finish top 30, essentially going in slow motion at the end. My wife was there as were tons of my friends and they said I looked like not the normal Greg...absolutely visibly suffering. Yup.

Now, I rest. And rest, she is good. I've got to maintain the 'real' plan which is February and just getting there happy, fast and satisfied. 

But like I am learning this season, my self pity gets evaporated and replaced with pure bliss. Watching my sons absolutely ripping and feeling so great about themselves and what they can do on a bike! 

Aiden was back at play today after taking Saturday off. He looked fantastic on the slaloms. When I saw this pic, everything that we teach them at BJC is present...focus, looking out through the turn, balanced. Awesome. 

Photo by YannPhotoVideo

The little kids also had to tackle the 5280 Stairs like the big kids. Again, all the BJC'ers technique we teach them week in and out was on display. Awesome again. Aiden would finish a fantastic 7th amongst a really huge field. 

Photo by Daniel Dunn Photography

With Aiden done, we ran to Seamus' start. Again he was ready to race at the crack of dawn and raring to go...

Photo by Daniel Dunn Photography

Seamus ripped hard with some super fast 8-9 year olds....running into lapped traffic on lap 2. He'd go on to rip the course and finish a phenomenal 2nd place with new rippers in the mix in his field!

Photo by Daniel Dunn Photography

So the weekend done, my legs could chill for this week. Allowing them to recover and launch into the next 'step' progression of the season. I'm still building fitness...and most importantly learning to trust myself. Remembering to see the beautiful moments of the race like the way the bike felt in the corners or nailing the bunny hoppable obstacle each lap. 

The sport is inseperable from my spirit. 

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