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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back on the Saddle at High Altitude at the Crankworx Colorado XC

Winter Park hosts an excellent and competitive series of mountain bike races each summer, and this weekend's event corresponded with the Crankworx Colorado festival, an exciting mix of vending and various competitions. Amy, Wyatt, and I headed up on Saturday morning for the XC race, which covered 25 miles of dirt roads and singletrack.

With JHK (yes, the JHK) at the starting line, I knew the race would be competitive and fast.  My goal for the race was to re-accustom my body to a high effort at altitude before the LT100 in two weeks, and the first climb of the race definitely did that!  Pure suffering for the first 20 minutes set me back in the field, but I regained control and steadily gained places throughout the race.  It seems that two long races in Europe removed a bit of snappiness and high-end speed, as expected, but the strength was thankfully there late in the race.

JHK won by about five minutes, and I was happy to finish 8th, just over two minutes off 2nd place.  It was fun to get out there with a competitive pro field, and congrats to all who made it out!

Wyatt enjoyed some watermelon after the race.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

European Journey: Wrapping it Up!

Three weeks of travel and racing in France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany has left Amy, Wyatt, and I bonded, refueled, happy...and a bit tired out from 30 hours of nonstop travel home!

This was a great trip, and we look forward to life at home and the Leadville 100 mtb on 8/13.

Highlights of the trip:

2nd, MB Race, Megeve, France
With four climbs adding up to over 18000' of climbing and a field of 500, the 140-kilometer MB Race was a bear.  Lots of riding at altitude prepared me well, and I was able to finish 2nd overall.  I won a huge ham and some French wine, and participated in a public speech and TV interview after the race.  It was quite an experience!

12th, Salzkammergut Trophy, Bad Goisern, Austria
A week after the MB Race (and a day after crash-related swelling in my abdomen finally subsided enough to breath hard), I toed the line with a strong international field of 600 at the Salzkammergut Trophy MTB race in Austria.  Heavy legs and the foolish choice of carrying backpack with 3L of water left me hoping for a bit more sharpness on the first climb, and I lost contact with the leaders.  From there, however, the racing was steady and I passed a few racers in the final 20 miles to finish 12th.  The ride gained more than 21000' over 211 kilometers, and it was a solid day in the saddle!

Tour de France
We traveled to the Alps for the final stages of the Tour. Road closures during the Galibier stage forced us to watch the race from a small bar in Bourg d'Oisson, at the base of Alpe d'Huez, and we enjoyed the experience.  The next day, French AR legend Seb Sxay and I rode up and down L'Alpe in the morning before we all headed up the hill to watch the climb.  The atmosphere was absolutely crazy!  Finally, we watched the time trial in Grenoble.

Cancellara and Cavendish at the TT:

The scene at Alpe d'Huez:

Climbing Alpe d'Huez:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baptized by Fire for 12th Place at the Salzkammergut Trophy 211k in Austria

They (when I say "they" I mean Jay Henry) said that mountain bike marathon races in Europe would be very competitive, and they were right! With 211k in just under 11:30 and over 7000 vertical meters of climbing, the Salzkammergut was quite a day. Check ou the video for a synopsis.

Thanks to Squirt Lube Austria for hosting us at their house here in beautiful Altenmarkt im Pongua, and as always, to Team Merrell Adventure and Chiru Bikes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MB Race, Megeve, France

Organizers of the MB Race promise an epic experience, and participants of this monster are not to be disappointed! I was happy to finish second in the 140k mtb ride that features over 6000 meters of climbing and technical, muddy descending. Amy, Wyatt, and Pierre's entire family were an incredible support crew; it was really a team effort! The Chiru Pulse was excellent. The racing time was just under nine hours.

I hope these videos and photos do justice to the incredible views experienced throughout the week and the race. We passed through Venice today and will land in Austria tomorrow.