…and mountain bike season begins!

I’ve been busy having so much fun racing/riding/watching cyclocross for the past few months that I kinda forgot what it was like to ride and race mountain bikes, pretty glad that its as fun as I remember!  I hadn’t been on the mountain bike much over the past few months and was starting to forget how the thing work.  Luckily my buddy Kurt G. and Victor S. decided to put together a local roots mountain bike race series.
The name of the series was the ‘quick ‘n dirty’ and it lived up to its name.  This is the kind of thing that has been missing in bike racing, especially mountain biking which is supposed to have more of a support community and core feel to it.  The races were only $30, the competition was fierce, and the prizes were legit.  It was a great season opener that got everyone used to racing on their mountain bikes again.  Not only were the races successful in attracting a great crowd , but the ‘quick ‘n dirty’ has contributed back to the park system via trail maintenance and good ‘ol cash money.  I managed a 2nd to Phil Tintsman, 3rd to Johnny O’mara and Phil, and a 1st in the three race mini series.
This last sunday was the first race of the US Cup, and I was a bit anxious as this was my first pro race of the season and I had no idea what to expect.  On top of the stress of my first race Ellen came out with her parents Jack and Libby who were in town visiting us, so I couldn’t disappoint them with a crappy result after having flown all the way out here from MD (not to see the race though of course)

Jack, Libby & Jacki
The field was rather small with only 9 or so guys.  I had no problem jumping out in front and letting someone else take the lead, wanting to make sure to stay in the top 3 or 5 as long as I could.  Pedroza soon tired out before the first initial hill, so I went ahead and took charge bringing Pedroza and Jenkins along with me, and forming a gap on the rest of the group.  
It was pretty apparent that Jenkins had pre-ridden the course as he too the lead on the last part of the first lap riding the route very well.  He and Pedroza opened up a small gap on me about a mile from the start/finish.  I didn’t really want to let them go, but I had no idea what was coming next on the course and wanted to save some energy.  
On the second lap Jenkins had a solid lead on me, and was slowly dropping Pedroza, who I managed to catch right near the start/finish.  I could tell he had turned himself inside out trying to ride with Jenkins, and knew I too could drop him if I ride smart.  I let him lead me halfway up the first climb then put in a solid attack and immediately opened up a decent gap.  I kept on the gas for another minute or so and was able to hold him off the rest of the lap for a solid second place.  
Putting in work on Pedroza Photo: PB Creative
The race couldn’t have gone much better considering I just finished building up my new Focus Raven 29er the night before the race.  Big thanks to Velo Hangar for having all the random parts in stock that I needed (as always).  Ive since gotten a few more rides on the bike and gotta say it is one of the best handling, snappiest and quickest accelerating mountain bikes I have ridden, couldn’t be happier with it!  It was also super heart warming to see Jack, Libby and Ellen at the end of my race congratulating me, truly memorable thanks guys!
Phil Beckman was out there and got some awesome shots as always…
Look at that bike! Photo: PB Creative
Tight weedy section Photo: PB Creative
Gonna try to make it to the Keyesville Classic this weekend if life co-operates, hope to see all my riding buddies out there should be a good time.
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