Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Joe on his way to a 2nd place at the Stony creek XC:
Photo by the Biz: http://www.cycletherapyracing.com

Joberon Race Notes Cont.

So Erin and I rolled out of beautiful Windham NY with bandages on my knee, ice on my thumb and a few medals hanging from the rear view. A successful outing for sure and great start to our trip. Next up was US MTB Nats at Mt. Snow in Vermont. But first, we were off to Boston. My sis Mary and her hubby Garett live there. It ended up being a great pit stop. Our hosts set us up nicely in their sweet downtown condo. We had a great time touring Boston with Mary(www.marylynnburke.com) and Garett. Both by foot and by bike. We hit up a few different eateries sampling some great pizza, brew and, of course, the clam chowda. We also made a late night appearance at the aquarium to visit the fat lazy seals. We started our trip up to Mt. Snow around lunchtime on Tuesday. We arrived with enough time to sneak in a pre ride of the race course. Like a smack to the face, I was reminded quickly just how tough this course is. There were a couple of mods to the course this time making many of the climbs much steeper. The downhill's were...the downhill's. Good o'l white knuckle stuff. We took it as easy as possible on our pre ride then set off for some dinner and R&R at a local motel. Wednesday came and we had more pre riding, eating and poolside chillin' on the menu. I busted out two, probably to hard, laps of the course. I felt pretty good. Riding solid and feeling strong I felt much more confident than the day prior. Then, just as planned, we had some lunch and hit the pool. Thursday came and I could feel the nerves starting to develop. Early Friday morning it was game on. Thursday I went out and hit the course again. After one fairly brisk lap I decided that was enough. I spent the rest of the day and my nervous energy tinkering with my bike. That evening we moved all our things into a sweet mountain/course-side condo. That's when the rest of the crew showed up. Our teammate John along with Mike and Michelle Simonson(Trek Midwest) arrived after a long haul from Michigan. Our good friend Kelli Emmett(Giant) even made a appearance for our pasta feed dinner. It was fun and helped keep my mind relaxed. Friday morning came quick and I had slept fair. I prepared my break quietly trying not to awake the crew. Eventually we were all up drinking coffee, chatting and watching some TV. Then the time came to suit up and warm up. So listen to what happened next. Mr. Semi Pro mountain biker dude walks outside with bike in tow to the car. I top off the tires, put on the helmet and throw down a few sweet looking yoga style stretches for good measure. Here we go. I hop on the machine, lose my balance and tip over into the bushes. No one saw this ridiculous moment in my cycling career. I quickly stood up, brushed off the top soil and pine needles and headed out to race. Mt. Snow. Nationals. Yeah, I'm so cool;) Not! There were around 70 guys at the start. I was standing somewhere in the middle when the start whistle was blown to begin our 4laps of fun. It seemed the leaders were halfway up the first climb by the time I hit the base. The climb starts fairly mild, for Mt. Snow, with a not so steep gravel road. The new section has riders turning to go up a slick with morning dew grassy wall. I was already thinking "granny gear". I just wasn't able to put the power down. The legs and back weren't on my side this day as I tried and tried to work my way forward. The looks on my friends faces kind of said it all as I rolled through the feed zone to start lap 2. I was riding and surviving. I've had these days here in there over the past couple seasons and just accepted it. I never gave up. I certainly didn't stop pedaling or trying to chase. It wasn't my day but there were many others in the same boat. I saw one dude puking. It is a grueling and relentless course. It just keep hitting you no matter if you're going up or down. I ended up finishing 38th and a mountain of minutes off the lead pace. Next up was the short track on Sunday. Saturday morning was spent supporting and cheering on Erin and John in their Expert races. The afternoon brought out the pro's and we had a blast hiking to the crazy spots on the course to spectate. That evening we all went out for some Mexican grub and cervesas to celebrate a job well done. Sundays short track warm up went pretty smooth. The balance was there and I kept the bike upright. I packed in to the on deck circle with about 40 others when they started the call ups. Eventually they released the masses and elbows were flying as riders tried to find a good spot on the start grid. Mine, unfortunately, was towards the back. Bang! We were off and I was immediately gasping. By the time I reached the first corner the leaders were on the other side of the course heading the opposite direction. Work to be done. For the first 3 laps I felt like I was holding my breath. Gasping once or twice as I sped through the start/finish. Eventually I had worked my way into the top 20. I was suffering. I was afraid to look at the clock. But I did. 9 minutes! Damn! Only 9 minutes had passed. I took a breather and went back to work. I was actually working my way up towards the leaders. Next thing I knew I was in the top 10. The last lap had me in a battle for the 7th spot which I missed going into the finish giving me 8th on the day. I was pleased and could only wonder how things would have went had I started up front. After a hour or so I started to feel recovered. From there Erin and I loaded up and began the long drive back home. We made it safely and avoided the bushes.

Thanks for Reading.


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