Monday, March 26, 2018

Croatan Buck Fifty

My Wahoo is reading somewhere around mile 120. I am by myself, crunching white gravel under my cx tires. There are about 5 miles of flat road stretching in front of me until the turn around point that roughly marks half way through the lap. Luckily, this will be the last time visiting that spot at least for this year. I am getting tired and my back is getting achy. There is no one in front and no one behind. I keep waiting for Dahn Pahrs aka Four Loko Guy aka Donald Powers aka I don’t know what name he actually goes by to catch up but I still don’t see him. I try not to think to much, just listen to my music and keep the pedals turning. I have a good lead but I also know the 2nd place lady is not too far behind and has a teammate with her to work with.

Croatan Buck Fifty is such a different race from what I am used to racing, but it is incredibly fun and challenging in its own way. The start is at the Carteret Speedway in Swansboro, NC which is right near the coast, near Emerald Isle. Cars filled the infield and tables/coolers/tents and support crews lined the main road through the infield. It almost had the feel of a huge family picnic. It was really fun to see some friends from the east coast mountain biking scene but there were a lot of new faces too.

In the infield at Cartert Speedway. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

I have biked once before near the Croatan National Forest at the Holly Shelter Game Land during a residency beach retreat. Let’s just say that biking early in the morning, still slightly drunk or at least very hung-over, in the middle of an incredibly humid NC summer does not exactly leave a favorable impression of a place one’s mind. But I had the day off of work and decided I should give that area another chance.

Matt and Gordon did an incredible job with organization, course markings, lots of cool useful swag including hand-up gloves, ridge supply socks, a cool ridge supply buff. It was a cool morning but promised to warm up. We lined up and followed Matt and Gordon’s motorcycles around the speedway and then down the road to the start of the gravel and the race was on from there.

The pace was pretty tame at the start. I didn’t lose Dylan’s wheel until Savage Road when the entire field got strung out single file zig-zagging down the road to find the best line around the huge deep mudholes. It was actually a really fun road to ride and definitely broke up the monotony of the flat gravel. Matt and Gordon were zooming around on their motos yelling things into the microphone, specifically that I was looking tired and slow. I laughed and then tried to pick up the pace.

What Savage Road looks like. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

My race plan was simple. Don’t ride alone. I knew if I could trade pulls, I could get through the miles a lot more easily both mentally and physically than if I was out there by myself. I got into a good group for the 2nd lap. I was with Dahn/Donald who was leading the SS field and 2 other guys who were doing the 100 mile race. We worked together really well trading pulls. I spent a lot of time behind Dahn pondering whether the tattoo on the back of his leg was blue birds, bats or dragons. In the last few miles, our group fell apart a bit, and I came into the finish with one of the 100 mile guys who was wrapping up his race. That also meant my race plan was falling apart. I tried to convince the guy to ride one more lap but he said he was good and wished me luck.

Riding with Dahn. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

I hung out at the cooler for a few minutes longer than I normally would waiting for Dahn to come in since I knew he wasn’t far behind. I tried to convince him to keep riding with me but he was mumbling something about his hamstrings. Singlespeeders 😊. I decided I should probably keep racing and set out to finish the last 50 miles solo.

At the finish. Photo from @BRETTROTHMEYER

It was pretty awesome race. There are no mountains (I climbed 561 ft in 145 miles) but that also means there are no downhills for recovery. The constant pedaling in the same gear in the same position on the bike presents a different challenge than cresting the highest peak. The gravel can be isolating but the miles tick by really quickly which makes it seem like you are making good progress. Because I was riding in different groups (a big one on the 1st lap, a group of 4-5 on the second lap, and solo on the last lap), each lap seemed unique and doing 3 laps wasn’t boring at all. I can’t wait to be back next year!

Women's 150 Podium. Showing off our Pit Viper podium sunglasses. So much fun racing with these fast ladies.

Jeff got 1st in the men's SS 100 race! Singlespeeders 😊

Thursday, March 22, 2018

True Grit 100

True Grit 100 was the next race on our calendar this year. This race takes place in St. George, Utah. Jeff and I were both excited for more desert riding and to escape the dreary cold place that Roanoke has been this winter.

Jeff has been looking for alternatives to our hard case bike boxes for traveling because every time we pack up bikes, we spend about half an hour playing Tetris and trying to find the right alignment of wheels, frame, and fork so that the boxes will close properly. We were able to get a really great deal on a couple of Pika bags from a friend and it made packing up the bikes so much easier. They are rather heavy to carry around the airport but I guess unless you are will to spend $500 on an evoc bag, you can’t have it all!

All snuggly in the Pika bags

We flew into Las Vegas and then drove to St. George. We stayed at an air bnb right next to the start of Zen trail. One of the best parts about this race was that a whole contingent of Joe’s racers came out from Baltimore and it was awesome to see everyone from the team. There was also a great group of Roanoke riders too, including Lauren, and Ray who were also staying with us. We met up on Friday morning and pre-rode Barrel Ride and Zen trails and scoped out lines on the upper section of Bear-Claw Poppy.

Joe's Bike Shop Racing Team with additions of Britt, Lauren, Ray and Haddock 

The riding in St. George is unlike any type of riding I have ever done before. It is very technical, full body work-out trying to climb up and over rocks and then surviving steep rock drops on the descent. The sandstone rock is incredibly grippy and sometimes you just have to trust your wheels are going to stick when it seems impossible that they will. I think Lauren said it best: “in the east coast, we always try to find the line between the rocks but out here, you have to find the best line over the rocks.” It is definitely a different way of seeing the landscape.

I am grateful to Jeff, Lauren and the rest of my Joe’s teammates for showing me the lines on the trail sections that we pre-rode. It made racing the next day a lot easier, although I was still pretty nervous about some of the trail sections. I really didn’t want to fall off and injure my knee again.

Race morning was a bit chilly, but it warmed up quickly after the start. We started on a series of dirt road climbs, descents down into washes, and then made our way onto singletrack trails. There was an incredibly strong field of female riders, which was awesome to see. I contemplated the fact that I might not even make the podium given how technical the riding was, but I was determined to go out and give it my best.

Larissa Conners had a blazing fast start and immediately gapped everyone else in the field. I had a decent start and made it to the start of Zen trail in second place. Sparky Spear Mois came flying by me on the Zen descent and there was nothing I could do to keep up with her. Then we came to the most fun section of the course, Bear-Claw Poppy Trail. It is a fun fast downhill with zigzagging trails all weaving in and out and joining back up together. You can pick any line down it and have a blast. After that section, you start a long and gradual climb back up to the ridgeline on Stucki Springs Trail. At this point, Chase Edwards came charging past, and I decided I should probably try to stick her wheel if I wanted any hope of staying in the race. We passed Sparky but then she later caught back up and passed us again on the technical Barrel Rolls Trail, which is the last technical trail section that ends the 1st lap.

A view from the top of Bear-Claw Poppy
I was actually pretty excited with how I was riding. At the end of lap one, I was right with Chase and we could see Sparky in front of us. I was right in the mix of things on trails that were really technical and usually would have me struggling at the back. Bring it on rocks!

I decided to put in a push and catch back up to Sparky. We worked our way back up the initial climbs, back through barrel roll, and started back up Zen. I didn’t have enough of a gap on Sparky to hold her off on Zen trail and she came by me again. She is incredibly fast on the technical sections and downhills! I pretty much rode my own race to the finish after that. I was much more relaxed and comfortable on the trails on the 2nd lap, pushed the climbs, had a blast down Bear-Claw Poppy and made it through Barrel Roll again. I knew Chase would be hammering behind me. Once you finish the last single track, it is a 1 mile descent and road sprint to the finish which felt amazing crossing the line. I was really happy with 3rd place. I finished in 8:02, about 3 minutes behind Sparky in 2nd.

Women's 100 mile podium

I had a ton of fun at True Grit. I think it has the most technical riding of all the NUE races I have ever done, the desert views are beautiful and it is just so different from anything on the east coast. Really hope to be back again next year! Much thanks to ESI grip, Maxxis tires, JBSRT, and Huma Gel for making this possible!

I did fall once during the race (and once during the pre-ride) but luckily not hard at all. Rich Dillen recently asked on facebook: Scab the size of a half dollar on the bendy part of your knee or zit on your nose? Having had permanent scabs on my knees for at least the last year, I'll take the scabs. I think it's a sign I'm getting better (or at least not afraid) to ride technical stuff!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

24 Hours of Old Pueblo

My 2018 season started off at 24 Hours of Old Pueblo, which is part of the Epic Rides series and takes place just north of Tucson, AZ in the Sonoran Desert.

We arrived in Tucson on Thursday morning, lugging a bunch of crap through the airport: bikes, lights, battery packs, kit changes, all the camping stuff, spare bike parts and tires. Way more stuff than we usually pack for a 100 mile race trip. By the time we arrived, I had already pretty much been awake for 24 hrs. I spent most of Wednesday morning packing, worked an ED shift from 4pm-1am, then we left Roanoke at 1:30 am to drive to RDU, arrived at 3:30 am, flight left at 5 am. Arrived in Tucson 8 hours later.

Pesky cholla Trees

We drove out to race venue to check it out. It was raining, a very fine almost misty rain but the kind that soaks you right away. The 24-hour village is located at the end of an 11-mile dirt access road that was full of potholes and mud and took about 40 minutes to navigate down. The road was super muddy and any bikes that were on racks on the outside of cars were fully coated in thick gloppy mud by the time they arrived at the race village.

Jeff got the van stuck in the mud. It took 3 people pushing to get it out of the ditch

The entire race village was a wet muddy mess of a cluster. Cars, tents, pop ups, RVs were all jammed in next to each other with muddy roads snaking through the camp site. Once you learned how the village was set up, it seemed a bit less chaotic but it was daunting at first to find a place to park and camp. Somehow, Jeff and I found the perfect place for our tent on a flat section right next to the course. We put up the tent and then decided to find a dry and less muddy hotel for the night which would also afford us a dry and less muddy place to build bikes and a solid night’s sleep as I definitely needed to play catch up.

Our tent/pit site

The next day was cloudy and rainy. We spent most of the day getting supplies for the race. It was hard know how much food to buy and what we would feel like eating at 3am after 15 hours of riding a bike. For future reference, huma gels, brownie bites, cold pizza, PB&J sandwiches, watermelon, Dr. Pepper and monster energy drinks pretty much did the trick. We spent Friday night at the campsite, ate dinner with Chris Lane and some of his friends who were competing on teams. It was fun catching up and hanging out by the campfire.

Saturday at noon it was time to race. It was a Le Mans-style start, which means we start at the top of a hill and have to run down to our bikes, which are almost impossible to find in the stampede of people running, spectators cheering and bikes strewn out along the dirt road, piled 3-4 layers deep.

The course is really fun, flowy and fast. It starts on a series of steep dirt road climbs and descents known as “the bitches.” Before the race, the race director made a big deal about how dangerous the descents on the bitches were and how people break collar bones or taco wheels every year. I was a little nervous the first time through, but there is nothing at all dangerous or hard about the descents. The more speed you get on the downhills, the less you have to pedal on the uphills! The more challenging part of the course was navigating through the cholla fields. Chollas are also called jumping cacti because if you even just lightly brush up against them, the arms will detach from the plant and stick to your arms or legs. If you try to brush them off, the spines will splinter into tiny spines that can be almost surgical to remove. So, if you get a cactus arm on you, you either have to use a comb (provided in your race bag) or have a friend use 2 sticks to whisk it off your body. I definitely had to stop a few times to de-cholla myself.

Making PB&J sandwiches before the race on Sat morning 

There were a few other stand out parts of the course: about half through there is a whisky tree with bottles of whiskey hanging from it or people offering whiskey hand-ups. On the last section of the course, there is a steady climb up to the top of a mesa and then a really fun descent all the way back into camp and into the finish line. This is capped off with a pretty steep but fun rock drop.

Jeff on the rock drop

I rode 3 laps before stopping to get food and change out camel packs. Jeff and I worked out a system where I would leave my empty camel pack on the left side of the tent and if Jeff saw it there, he would know it would need filling up and would move it to the right side of the tent. Jeff was racing too, but was also planning to take some long breaks and was able to help me out a bit with camel pack refills and lights, which was super helpful.

After 5 laps, it was time to mount lights, and I rode off into the desert sunset and mentally prepared myself for 12+ hours of riding in the darkness.

I didn’t really have any specific race plan, I didn’t really know how to pace myself, and I didn’t really know how my body would do in a 24 hour race. I tried to just focus on relaxing, being as efficient as possible with pedal strokes, not pushing too hard on the uphills because I knew that while they seemed easy now, after 18 or 23 hours, they would seem like mountains. At some point in the night, I starting stopping at the tent every lap to eat, change out lights and mainly to see Jeff and talk to him for a second before heading out again into the darkness. My wrists started hurting. At 3am, I started feeling like I was falling asleep on my bike and would jerk awake just before my bike went off trail into a cholla tree. I chugged some more monster energy drink at the next pit stop which definitely helped. At some point in the night, my garmin was reading 160 miles. I remember thinking to myself that I was probably going to ride 100 or more miles before the race was over, and I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around that. I decided to eat a lot more pizza.

At last, sunrise. It was a beautiful sunrise over the desert, the rocks, the cacti, the red and yellow cliffs all came into view again with the warmth of the sun. It was light out, and it was easier to stay awake. Jeff was motivated to ride again, and we rode the last 3 laps, ~48 miles, together.

I finished my 17th lap with about 15 minutes to spare. The race rules are that you have to cross the finish line after 12 pm or your race doesn’t count. I could either go out for an 18th lap or sit at the campsite for 15 minutes before riding the short section of trail down to the finish. I was solidly in 2nd place. Kaitlyn Boyle was in 1st and was already out for her 18th lap and I had no way to catch her, and Ashley Carelock was in 3rd place and out on her 16th lap. I had ridden ~272 miles which was farther than I had ever ridden before and I had completed my first 24 hour race without stopping. 4 weeks before this race, I was still in cx mode, and I had been a bit worried my endurance fitness wasn’t were it needed to be, so I was really really happy with how I had ridden this race. I might have started out a bit too fast, but overall, it was solid 1st 24 hour attempt for me. I decided that an extra 16 miles was not going to be make me any happier than I was right then. I sat down in a chair and waited for noon.

Walking into the finishing tent after noon on Sunday

My hands and wrists were so swollen and numb after the race, even now the tips of my right 3 fingers are still not back to normal. I think I gave myself semi-permanent carpal tunnel syndrome. Overall, it was an incredible experience. The race was really well organized, everyone we met there was nice and encouraging. People out on the trails were respectful and everyone seemed to understand that we were all there for the same purpose to race hard and to have a good time. The people who camped next to us let us use their generator power to charge batteries, which was super helpful. I wish we had scheduled more time off work to relax a bit in Tucson after the race, maybe check out some of the other areas to ride there, visit Sedona, but that will have to be a different time :-)

Chris Lane and Justin Sotdorus teamed up to get 2nd place in the men's duo category 

Women's solo podium 

Monday, March 12, 2018

2018 Goals

Hard to believe that mountain biking season is already in full swing! With trying to fit in a semblance of a cyclocross season last fall and targeting cx nats in Reno in January, there really wasn’t time for any kind of off season, but that’s pretty much how I like things anyway 😊

My goal for 2018 is to race in as many new races as possible. I love the gravel climbs at Cohutta and I would love to keep adding to my collection of wilderness 101/Shenandoah tech tees, but I also want to try new things, find new adventures, do some races against the pros, and cross a few things off my bucket list this year. Jeff and I will be targeting some races in the NUE series that we have never been to, some races in the Epic Rides series, some races at altitude like Breck Epic and Leadville, and some local gravel races if time allows. I will probably stand on fewer top steps of the podium this year, but I want to push myself out of my comfort zone, find new challenges and race with some of the fastest ladies in the sport.

When I think back over the last several years, I think some of the best races I have had have come when I finish in second or third in a race. Sometimes when you are in the lead of a race, it is easy to get complacent and settle into a pace that feels good but isn’t necessarily the fastest you can be. When you are behind in a race, it forces you to keep digging and working as hard as possible to catch the person in front. And when you race like that, it forces you to take more risks, ride more technical lines, or go out harder than you than you thought you could. Sometimes you will fly and die, but sometimes you breakthrough, find a new level, and do something cool that you never thought was possible before. That is what I want to find in racing this year.

I will be working hard with my coach, Chris Beck, who has helped turned me into the racer I am today. I will still be racing for Joe’s Bike Shop who has supported me since I started racing bikes. I still think they one of the best bike shops around! They helped me get my new Trek Top Fuel ordered and built in time to start this season, and I always look forward to seeing teammates at all the races I go to. I am also excited to still represent Maxxis tires and ESI grips. Right now, I am running Ardent Race tires which have been great in the desert conditions, and my hands haven’t blistered at all thanks to the chunky silicone grips from ESI. I also will be part of the Rudy Project team this year and am excited to be wearing their helmets and sunglasses. I haven’t had a chance to use projects yet, but I am really excited to be part of their team and represent them this season. And last but not least, I will continue to represent huma gel. If you haven’t tried huma gels, I would highly recommend them. They are made with all natural ingredients and chia seeds and actually taste good during long hot endurance races.

24 Hours of Old Pueblo and True Grit 100 are already in the books and I am excited to see what the rest of the season brings!

Monday, November 27, 2017

La Ruta 2017

I am up above 10,000 ft, 3 hours into Stage 2 of La Ruta and am cresting the top of Volcano Irazu. It is foggy, misty, windy and actually cold. I am half able to pull up my arm warmers which had been shoved down around my wrists for the climb up. I am glad I decided to put them on for the 5 am start. I don't stop at the aid station, but I notice all the volunteers bundled up in hats, gloves and warm coats. I am about to start the most fun 2 hours I have ever had in Costa Rica on my bike. And I'm not being sarcastic. We descend for 20 miles off the volcano first on gravel, then through some steep rock fields, then on smoother gravel that turns to pavement. It feels like you are flying down the mountain side, past colorful houses, lazy dogs in the street who barely turn their heads to acknowledge you are going by. The descent just keeps going and going and going. Hey dog, look at me! I am having the time of my life on Stage 2! Who would have thought that would ever be possible! By the time I cross the finish line before noon, it is hot, humid, and I am sweating up a storm walking back from the showers. But I have the biggest smile on my face. 

Climbing Volcano Irazu.

One of many dogs on the course. They never seemed to care about hundreds of cyclists zooming past.

La Ruta is not a race you go to for the incredible trails or single track riding. In fact, when the race director tells you they have added in single track sections, be worried. And be prepared to equate that with gnarly, mostly unrideable hike-a-bike. It is not the longest stage race, it is not at elevation. It is 100 degrees with 80% humidity, but there is something about the mud, the jungle, the steepness and seemingly never ending climbs, and the time spent alone with only your thoughts that makes the race much more of a challenge than it may appear on paper.

The stages

I wanted a 2nd chance at La Ruta, which is why I decided to go back this year. I wanted to tackle the beast head on. Last year, I think I survived the fight, and definitely came away with some battle wounds maybe more emotionally than physically. This year, I was ready. I had actual steep hills to train on in Roanoke and I was mentally prepared to keep myself focused on the road and hill in front of me and not think too much about the horrors that lay ahead or how slowly the kilometers were creeping by. 

La Ruta is not a race you can plan for. You don't even know when the stages are going to start each day until the night before when you manage to track down a race organizer and ask. And sometimes you get 3 different answers from 3 different people. Best just show up an hour before the earliest time you were given and then spend that extra hour jockeying for a good start position at the entrance to the start corral. It's actually best to just relax, not plan for everything, and realize that somehow everything works out. Pura Vida. 

Our bikes in front of a cool mural Jeff found in Jaco. We both raced on Salsa Ti El Mar's. Indestructible!

The people and race atmosphere at La Ruta is incredibly special. People from the race organization actually remembered my name and would come up and give me a big hug when we arrived and ask how I've been. It was like seeing old friends. I made a new friend this year with Guillermo, the chef, who works tirelessly to feed all of the riders at the end of each stage. We actually finished at his farm at the end of stage 1. He is incredibly nice, and I want to learn Spanish just so I can impress him the next time I am in Costa Rica. Even the people you ride with, the people along the roads cheering you on, support cars for other riders offering you cold water, everyone is inclusive, encouraging and wanting to make sure that there is a smile under the suffering. It is impossible to be nervous, frustrated or upset for long when you are surrounded by such positive people.

Drinking some water while someone with a pump helped me add air to my tire

We arrived in Costa Rica on Tuesday. Our bike boxes were lashed to the top of sprinter van and we drove through the rain from San Jose to Jaco on the Pacific Coast. It was halloween and the hotel staff were dressed accordingly. The next day we built our bikes and went for a pre-ride half way up the first climb. OMG. I thought I was going to pass out. It was so hot and humid, and I think I sweated out every sodium molecule in my body. I immediately went back to the race expo and bought preload and electrolyte tabs, which I never usually use. I began to get a little worried about the heat.

Unloading bike boxes in Jaco

Croc's Resort in Jaco where we stayed before the race

Dying half way up the first climb on our pre-ride

Day 1 starts from the beach at Jaco. The helicopter turns up with blades whirring and they send us off in a "neutral start" which is similar to the neutral start at Fool's Gold (ie not neutral at all). The wind from the helicopter whips across us as we head out of town. Then about 1 mile down the road, the lead car stops the entire field, and we have another "start" in the middle of the dirt road. Again, strange, but pura vida. 

The start line on the beach

Jeff and me before the start. School kids waiting for the bus?

Day 1 was the longest day. It took me 8 hours and 13 mins to finish, Jeff was out for 10 hours. We climbed along gravel roads, then wound our way through the Carrara jungle and mud, then up more climbs, then along some "single track" (ie nice hiking section), then up more climbs to the finish. My rear tire went soft just before heading into Carrara. I tried adding air but it kept leaking out through the valve stem. I had to decide: ride a soft tire through the jungle or stop and put in a tube. Given my mechanical skills, I opted to tighten the valve stem as tightly as possible and ride the tire soft through the jungle. I ran through a lot of the river crossings so I wouldn't lose more air. I had very little control over the rear end of my bike which made for some sketchy descents, but I made it through, got air at the next aid station and luckily didn't have any more issues with it for the rest of the stage. 

You never know what will be on the road around the next turn

Riding through the towns can be tricky with people, cars, motorcycles and cyclists all navigating the same roads 

Day 2. 2:30 am breakfast, and at 3am the bus picks us up from the Holiday Inn in San Jose. We get to the start line at 3:30. We sleep on the parking lot pavement using our yellow race bags as pillows. At 5am, we cycle out of town. We climb for the next 3 hours. Up over Volcano Irazu and Turrialba. There are a few short hiking sections, but nothing like last year. We started the stage at about 4k ft, climbed to over 10k ft and then descended down to 2k ft at the finish. I wasn't even close to ending up in tears. The entire race seemed so much easier this year because of the new route on Day 2. It is by the far the most fun stage of La Ruta and maybe even one of the most fun days I have had racing my bike.

At the finish of stage 2

Day 3 starts out with an optional rafting section down the Pacuare river. It is a beautiful trip with lots of rapids and dense lush jungle on each side of the river where you might see the indigenous Cabecar people using ropes and a hanging basket to transport themselves across. Day 3 requires a completely opposite skill set from the 1st 2 days. It is a flat hammer fest and if don't get in with a fast group or skip across the railroad suspension bridges fast enough, you will left out to dry on your own. It also starts at 1pm. My garmin was reading 98 degrees and Jen's garmin was reading 101 degrees. It is a hot, humid 2.5 hours from Siquirres to the Caribbean ocean in Limon. After getting dropped on one of the railroad bridges, I worked really hard with another other guy who spoke only Spanish to catch back onto a group ahead. Gordon happened to be in that group and I tried my hardest to hold his wheel across the sandy beach section. I wiped out around one of the corners which is I am covered in sand and mud at the end. I managed to catch back up to him and he definitely helped pull me to the finish! I finished 2nd on every stage this year and 2nd overall in the elite women. Jen finished 3rd overall, and it was pretty awesome to share the podium with her. 

The chaotic start out of Siquirres

Jeff on one of the railroad bridges
The stairs down to the finish

Finishing behind Gordon who gave me some good pulls
Women's elite podium. Maybe one day I'll get a green jersey!

It's hard to describe the feeling of seeing the Atlantic ocean. It means you finished La Ruta, you don't have to wake up at ungodly hours, there is no more mud, and for most of us in the NUE/OMBC group, it means the end of a long endurance season that started sometime back in Feb or March. You can float in the waves, close your eyes, wash away the mud, and just let go of everything. After day 1, Jeff said he would never be coming back to La Ruta. While we were swimming in the Caribbean, he had already changed his mind and said he would do it again. Pura Vida!

Much thanks to all of my sponsors this season: Joe's Bike Shop, Maxxis Tires, ESI grips, Huma Gel, and Ridge Supply Socks. I really couldn't have had so much success without all of their support!

Post race and post season beers on the bus ride back to San Jose