First off I have to say how proud I am of my wife. This past weekend we were in Winter Park racing the classic, King of the Rockies. It was her last XC MTB race of the season, which despite early fears, was quite successful with her upgrade to battle the Sport women. Knowing her form was great and her series place locked up, I told her to go for the win from the gun. Sure enough she jumped out hard ahead of the girl who beat her last week and held her off for 26 miles to take the W! Not only that but she dropped 15 minutes off her time from last year despite racing the long course which is at least 10 minutes slower. What I wouldn't give for a 25+ minute improvement in a year at an XC race! I'm really proud of her win, her overall improvement and also her 2nd place for the series. Looks like she earned herself an upgrade to Expert for 2009 :)
My KotR went well, finishing 5th and posting my best ever time for the course by 5+ minutes. I got left for dead on the 3.5 miles road start (again) but at least the 34x18 worked better and I was less than a minute down onto the climb. Note to self, 2:1 gearing would be fine next year. Once we hit the climb, Matt Hayes and I rode strong through most of our starting field even with their "headstart". He dropped me on the downhill but I kept him in sight through most of the rest of the course. That makes me happy because Matt is a strong SSer and a regular atop the podium in the SS class. The final climb up Lower Cherokee popped me a bit and I limped into the finish. Still I'm really happy with how I raced and XC pace was feeling much better than last week on the mountain circuit.
I should have found a way to race one more Winter Park XC race this season as 4 races instead of 5 (in a best of 5 scoring) left me in 6th for the series (two 3rd places, two 5th places). With one more even half assed race I would have taken 2nd place easily for the Expert 25-29 men. I guess that's not too bad for not taking XC seriously and racing rigid SS but I was a little bummed when I realized it. I'm still really hopeful I can win an Expert race on the single before I move up to Pro and proceed to get my ass handed to me every race for the rest of my life. I'd be lying if I said that isn't a goal for next season.
This weekend is the Vapor Trail 125 and I'm looking forward to it quite a bit. It's another race like the Kokopelli Trail that I'm still a bit shocked that I get to do. When Leadville handed me my ass in 2005, Scott and I marveled at Dave Weins taking 12+ hours to do the VT. That kind of effort was almost unfathomable. Yet tomorrow I'm headed to Salida to hang out with tons of great friends and have an overnight ride though beautiful country. Things like that sure make me realize how my life has changed in the past three years and I'm really greatful for that.
Fall itself really feels close now. Marni declared it here but I'm not ready to give up on indian summer just yet. There is still time to eek out a few more rides and adventures before the snow flies for good. T-minus 35 hours to the VT start!