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« The 2013-14 Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassadors CX Team | Main | Cross Racing Week 3 and 4 | The mall, first snow and horse poop »

Cross Racing Week 5 | Colorado Cross Classic and Boulder Cup

So after the horse poop race last Sunday, it all started to come undone. The viruses...they came and got me. I woke up Monday AM and felt super bad. So did Amy and we sulked. Great fall weather in the air, and the body felt like death. No playing outside.

I didn't touch my bike all week in any intentional way to train. I threw a leg over once on Thursday because the weather was so epic outside. I couldn't stand staring out the window. And I felt you guessed it: like poop.

The biggest weekend was approaching in a matter of days, the Colorado Cross Cup at The Boulder Reservoir and Boulder Cup at Valmont Bike Park. Sigh. Just have patience and breathe. Rest the body in the best way you can was what Amy preached to me...and so I did.

The Colorado Cross Cup | October 12th

Saturday came. The beach sand was waiting. I opened my eyes early and I felt...better. I was super motivated to go and ride my bike fast. I have a love affair with this version of the Rez course, one that needs a lot of finesse to corner well on gravel and maintain steady power. It's dead flat...the complete opposite of Valmont.

I sat and meditated on what I wanted today, Saturday, as I sit and drank coffee and pinned up numbers for me and my boys. Quietly before anyone was up...

I arrived early....happy...and began the warm up. The legs felt springy. Heart rate would jump well. Hmm. Looks like I am just going to let it all out today. See what comes of it. 

We lined up and from the gun it was a crit. Tight groups battling. Very few individual lonely racers out there. Mostly clumps of guys battling. My teammates Brandon, Pete and Johs were in attendance and just laying it down on the front. Incredible. But I could see them...touch them. Right there with in front of my group. I a racer again a bit.

Photo by Bo Bickerstaff

I battled with my good buds, settling in like we do every week, Pat Gallegos and I traded leads and played. Having a blast. Eventually getting caught up in lapped traffic and simply going full gas together (above).

In the end, Pete Brandon and Johs were in a race ahead of the race. Amazing. Such athletes. Beautiful podium. Pat and I would go right to the end in 12th and 13th. Finishing strongly in a very competitive field. Happy.

Still sweaty, I switched to my Boulder Junior Cycling duties. Shepherding and marshaling the 10 to 14 year old groups on their journey through the sand. Incredible action with such savvy-ness being demonstrated by these well trained little gromm's. Proud of Aiden's effort in his 10-12 race taking the top step again with his best bud Dakota taking 2nd and Ryan from Black Sheep 3rd. These kids BATTLE!

Once I finished my coaching duties, I switched hats yet again...this time to "interviewer" helping out Colt and Jeremy with Behind The Barriers TV. Super fun to interview some of my great friends after their races like Meredith Miller...

Photo by Bo Bickerstaff

...and Big Ben Berden...

Photo by Bo Bickerstaff

So to wrap the day up,  I got to the Reservoir at sunrise...and left at dusk. Tired, but happy. Tomorrow was the Boulder Cup. A test race for the 2014 US National CX Championships. I'd be facing my nemesis-course. As Webber tells me: "It's in my head" regarding my relationship with VBP. Maybe so. But I'd need to find courage (and watts) to haul this carcass up those steeps for 50+ minutes. Sleep first....

Boulder Cup | October 13th

Sunrise. Light beaming in through my bedroom window. I crack my eyes open. I am wasted tired...yet still happy to pin up again and line up with my friends. The sleep was good. The legs were tired. I hope my Day 2 would be solid...better. But not a strategy.

When the gun went off we charged off the line and within 100m, the leaders were in full gallop. Me, Matt Davies, Timmy, Jeff Winkler and Jeff Cospolich you see on the front. Right as this picture was taken by Taro Smith of YogaGloliterally right then, a kid darted right in front of us. How we did not implode into a catastrophic mess I do not know. We drove safely around him at full speed. It shook me up and would take me a lap to calm down and forget the incident and how close we'd come. A testament to racing alongside the best masters in the country. Calm. Smooth. Safe.

My corpse were wasted. It was obvious to me in the first lap or so. As I pushed on lap after lap, the pain in my psoas and Ql...fighting against each other simply escalated to a fever pitch. My bud Dan Farrel in the pits was watching me lap after lap contorting myself trying to stretch on the bike on the only flat section of the course. This old issue was more than nudging me that it was re-surfacing.

The test course at Valmont was brutal. Chris Grealish was aggressive in testing how to utilize all of the main hillside....the 'hump' so to speak at Valmont. Crazy difficult and awesome at the same time. In stepping back, I think it was almost 'too selective' as if that is possible. "Too hard" is not the right phrase, but imbalanced in some way I am still thinking about. Mainly you want to create tension as a course designer for racers and spectators alike. Never knowing who is going to win. This one seemed very selective in that very few would be making the race so to speak consistantly in all the categories. My thoughts are just trying to ensure the absolute stoke of all the folks we want to show a good time to at Nationals. Have them say: "This was the best freaking course I've EVER raced on at a National event."

I finished anonymously. Just trying to 'get done'. 29th. Wasted. Not near the real race, just circling in it STILL battling people unbelievably in the 20's. Meanwhile, up front, my BCS juggernaut Pete Webber was battling with JJ exceptional MTB'er and guy I respect a lot. Brandon and Pete had a difficult time trying to shake this exceptional rider....Pete taking the roses again on day 2.

Photo by Bo Bickerstaff

I crawled off my bike and made it to the BCS tent. Shattered. My wife staring at me, studying how she was going to have to fix me…again. My QL and psoas lit up like an electric wire. And Amy would heal me. Like she does. Always. Eventually, I climbed out of the comfy seat under the shade of the BCS tent and put on my proverbial BJC coaching hat. The coaches and I saw HUGE masses of kids waiting at the start line. The 13-14 and 10-12 groups were massive…as big as any Senior category.

Aiden and Seamus were lined up in their 10-12 crew. Both super excited. Aiden in particular was smiling and super calm. He's normally a bag of nerves before these things. From the gun it was full gas….like an explosion of energy. Aiden and I talked about strategy that morning as it was a HARD course. Just be calm, stay in the wheels an when it's your time…jump!

He did that, executing perfectly. 2nd lap he came up the stairs in such a fury even Larry "The LG" Grossman, was screaming "WHOA!" I loved it. Like a true Flandrian charging up the stairs like a bird. On the front, staying smooth.

By the bell lap, someone ran up to me: "Aiden's crashed!" I walked over to the one section of course where the pain would be evident…the backside climb. The leaders came through, Ryan and Dakota. Then droves of kids. 6…7…8….then Aid'r. I looked at him and simply said as he came close by: "Control what you can control, Aid." And he did. Amazingly. He pulled himself and his emotions together, focused and drilled it from the back to 3rd place in the closing of the last lap. I will never forget this face…or his performance. Such passion.

Photo by

Meanwhile….SEAMUS! My god, the kid was crushing. The 9 year old was having a blast railing his MTB with the big skinny 700c's out there. Smiling. Nailing the climbs most kids…and adults…had to dismount for. I loved watching it!! He finished with a Starsky and Hutch skid and a huge smile. 15th! Crazy.

Photo by

Such a great podium and a great win my Dakota...Aiden's best friend, schoolmate and Lego partner. These guys are like the Pete and Brandon of the 10-12 year old set. They are such great students of the sport.

Our teammate Jaime Servaites created this incredible video of the day. Even capturing those moments where Aiden and me were interfacing. Father and son. Priceless.


Boulder Cycle Sport Team Roaring at the 2013 Boulder Cup from Jamie Servaites on Vimeo.

This weekend - The Ranch in Loveland. Cross of the North. Let's see what another week off the bike brings. Running out of patience having to be patient. Or some such nonsense.

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