With marathon nationals and a few other relatively short races for my ultra-endurance tastes coming up this summer, I’ve been training at some XC events hoping to race into faster shape. Two weeks ago, Bryan Dillon and I raced at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. It was a stacked pro field duking it out for 21 miles of hilly singletrack. The pace was hot and it was a brutal intro back to XC style racing for me. Bryan came in top 20 and I managed 45th. I watched some of the other competitions, such as SUP’ing, fly fishing, and dog jumping, and left Vail wondering why I picked such a pain-inflicting sport. Despite some angry early-season lungs and legs, everything else went smoothly for me. Rock N Roll sports has really helped get my bike functioning well and getting the parts I need to make me race-ready this season.

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Last weekend, Troy Hiatt and I raced at FiBark XC in Salida. Another uncomfortably fast start, and I found myself around 5th place after the first of three laps. The heat was tough to handle, but I could see the top few racers up the trail and it kept me motivated. I was pushing it on the descents trying to gain some time back. Near the bottom of the second lap, I lost my front wheel on a high speed corner. I got tossed as if I were sliding into home plate, but brushed off the dirt and hopped back on the bike with more determination than before. I imagine I was quite the site with bloody elbows and knees pinning it on that last lap. I passed 3rd place on a techy steep pitch topping out the final climb, and despite my downhill jitters, almost caught 2nd place on the final descent back to town. Troy had a great race and came in 5th! We both cursed the vicious heat that day, but I coped by staying hydrated with Acli-mate and keeping my noggin safe and cool under the Rudy Project Sterling helmet. That thing is sweeet!

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Thanks to Griggs Ortho and all of our sponsors for making these and all of my races this summer possible!