This year has by no means been a cake walk. In fact, prior to last weekend’s win at the Missouri State Championships, my life was full of chaos and misfortune at almost every big race I attended. Two mass start unavoidable XC crashes, illness, and a death in the family all lead to sub par results early in the year. That’s life unfortunately!
This is why I am more then ecstatic to say that my unlucky spell has finally come to an end. Two wins, both at big races, and both back to back weekends. No better feeling then putting all the work into the year, working through the hard times, and then finally coming through with the results I thought I always had in me.
Syllamos Revenge happened yesterday. It’s the most technical, flat prone, and has the most singletrack out of all the National Ultra-Endurance races(NUE). That’s why I love it! Takes a true bike handler on top of solid equipment, and a great fitness base to take the win.
To make things even more technical this year it rained two days prior to the race turning the slick rock into to super slick rock kinda like riding on an ice rink. On terrain like that finesse combined with great line choice, good equipment, and a solid/even pedal stroke can mean riding or walking certain sections. I heard of racers even trying to walk some of these sections and slipping while walking due to the slickness. I chose to ride 98% of it with the help of Kenda’s Kozmik Lite II SCT tires, Felt’s Edict Nine LTD, Stan’s No Tubes Race Gold wheels and SR Suntour rear/front suspension. A good combo of suspension, bike choice, and tire choice really can make or break sections like this.
The race unfolded pretty fast due to the combined technical and slick terrain. I knew due to this, I could afford to push the pace early on and hopefully take advantage of my course knowledge and technical skills on the course. It was the plan from the start and it worked great. About 40 minutes in, I took a really tough line I re-conned this past week pre-riding. It’s a super steep rock drop requiring lots of confidence, and no room for mistakes. It’s also the only way to ride the section without putting a foot down. That section gave me a good break of 10-15 seconds on the closely chasing group. Cary Smith was riding super strong and closed the gap back to me, but left a decent gap on the two riders behind him.
Before reading on, check out this cool video I did the Wednesday prior to the race:
Had a great race this past weekend grabbing the win at the Missouri State Championships XC race. My legs are coming around better and better as the year goes on. The XC race this past weekend was no joke. It was held on some super fun trails at Greensfelder State Park. Short, punchy 1-4 minute climbs around the course split up with some technical, rocky terrain throughout the 7.5 mile course which we repeated 3 times.
I gunned it from the get go getting the hole shot and setting a high tempo. The technical singletrack came early on, and I was determined to hit it first. The legs burned, but I said h_ll no, and pushed harder to get to the singletrack in first. Goal #1 set and a nice one! Luckily the technical singletrack after that played to my advantage. I continued my hard pace feeling pretty good and slowly put a second here and second there on my competition. Not an easy task, but my legs and fitness are coming around. This race was a true example of that.
This coming weekend I am defending my title at Syllamos Revenge. Last year I had a great race here and set a new course record just under 6 hours. I am hoping for similar form this year. I arrived here in Arkansas to pre-ride the technical, and very rocky terrain two days ago. I love these trails: fast, flowy, technical, and very little of the despised fire roads. Gotta love that part the most! Lots of pure singletrack at it’s best.