After 16 hours of driving, coming from the Wisconsin Pro XCT, we made
it to the Mountain Bike National Championships in Bear Creek Resort in
eastern Pennsylvania on Tuesay. I got out of the car and went to
pre-ride. The course was pretty technical with constant rock gardens.
I did not really feel completely comfortable my first couple laps, but
as I started dialing in my lines I got more comfortable and excited.
On Wednesday I sat in my hotel and pretty much just rested, ate and
drank, and had my legs up. On Thursday, we went out for our pre-race
day warm up and everything was feeling great. After that I went back
to the hotel and put my legs up again. I was pretty nervous wondering
how I was going to do, if I was going to have any mechanicals, and
worrying about crashing on this technical course. A lot of my nerves
went away when Garrett texted me, “You’ve got a call up”. This calmed
my nerves some because now I didn’t have to worry about getting in
front at the start.
On Friday, it was XC race day. It was the biggest race of the year and
that morning the nerves went away and the excitement started kicking
in. We did our warm up and my legs were feeling good. I had a good
start off the line. The heat was pretty bad on the first two laps but
luckily there was a feed at the top of the mountain, which really
helped to cool me off. On the third lap I started feeling really good
and was slowly catching people. I think I was in about 7th or 8th
place, and then I punctured my tire. My tire went down to about 15 psi
and, when I tried to use my CO2, it didn’t really work and only added
about 5 psi. I rode the rest of the downhill hitting my rim
constantly, but made it to the finish in 12th place.
In the short track I got another call up and had a good start. After
about two laps I was in 4th by myself and rode a couple laps a little
behind the leaders and about 15 seconds ahead of the next group. On my
5th lap I came into a rock garden a little weird and ended up on the a
line that I didn’t want. I tried to ride this line, but ended up going
over the bars and hurt my elbow and didn’t finish the short track.
Overall, I had a great time at Nationals and am very excited for
Nationals next year.