Mike Simonson traveled to North Carolina for the 3rd time this year for #2 stop of the NMBS NORBA series. Mike did well in the semi-pro class with a 13th and DNFed the short track after leading the start with a mechanical
the Simonster report:
I guess at some point in the season bad luck has to kick in, or lack orpreparation. It's just too bad it had to happen at Nationals. The XC coursewas a brute. 1600 feet of wide open ski hill climbing with a supertechnical downhill at the end would sum it up pretty well. I think JasonLummis sums it up best with his famous quote,"ya leave Michigan and it rains and ya get flat tires." After Pete Ehman and I pre-rode the course in a torrential downpour, I decided to switch my rear tire from the Nano to the Jones ACX. I had no resources for going tubeless, so I bought one of those superlight Kenda 29er tubes which proved to be a huge mistake. I should have just thrown my 5 bucks into the trash can next to the Kenda trailer. I started in the back of the semi-pro XC field, and after the first couple of miles up the ski hill, I had gotten clear of the entire field by about 15 seconds. That's when I heard the dreaded hissing sound of the rear tire going flat. I immediately pulled off to the side and I actually had a pretty fast tube switch. As I got going again, I just kept moving through the field of over 50 again. I had worked my way back into the top 10, when I had another mechanical. This time it was the chain. Good thing I carried a powerlink and I managed to fix it rather quickly. Only a few riders passed me, and I ended up 13th over all. The last lap was a real bear. The 4th time down the ski hill just pounded my arms. OK, got all of the bad luck out of the way, time for the short track race! I had the perfect bike for the course with a rigid fork and tubeless kryseriums with CX tires. The bike had to weigh under 20 pounds. The course was true to its name as it was quite short with one little gravel climb. I got off the line pretty well, and as soon as I hit an open lane, I launched an attack and had gotton clear of the entire field up the gravel climb. I continued to open up the gap to almost 30 seconds after the first of 4 laps.Then KABOOM! The rear tire blew off the rim as I was coming around one the corners near the start/finish area and my STXC race was over. I was pretty bummed out about the whole weekend, but all in all it was a good experience to see the continents fastest pros and race on a world class XC course. I think my fitness was good enough to at least win one of the two races, but I guess it takes a little more than fitness towin bike races. A big THANKS goes out to Pete Ehman who drove most of the way and put up with the Simonster's shenanigans for the weekend.