Big races in Crested Butte and elsewhere attracted many of the top names elsewhere this weekend. Nonetheless, I was stoked to get the win in the pro field at the Winter Park Epic Singletrack series race today.
The funny thing about long-distance races is that they generally either build you up or break you down. After racing hard last weekend at the Bailey Hundo, I felt pretty good throughout the week but was not sure how things would play out at the Winter Park race when I decided to do it yesterday.
This morning in Winter Park, we took off hammering up a significant climb on a service road. I like this kind of start because it allows for some separation before hitting the trails, and a group of five of us, led by the always-strong Kalan Beisel (he won the Front Range 60 this year), hit the singletrack together.
After recovering from a mistake in going the wrong way around a big puddle that cost me five or six spots, I found myself riding again with Beisel and Scott Tietzel of Specialized. Tietzel was very strong all day, and I was lucky to hold his wheel on some flats and descents before puling away on a couple of climbs.
While many competitors opted for the hardtail today, I was very happy with the full suspension Chiru Sonic, which kept things very smooth on some shifty, rocky, wet, narrow terrain. The bike climbs incredibly well, and keeps me in touch on descents--I love this thing!
I have been enjoying a focus on mountain bike racing, and it's fulfilling to get my first pro win at the cross country distance (generally a marathon or less). I crossed in 1:36 and Biesel and Tietzel followed shortly thereafter. I feel good going into two big races in Europe:
The Chiru Pulse, a 29er hardtail, should be an excellent choice for these races, which both involve huge amounts of climbing.
After the race, I enjoyed a nice BBQ with Team Evergreen, a local cycling club that has been instrumental in supporting our Evergreen area team for the Colorado High School Mountain Biking League. Thanks again, Team Evergreen!