It has been an awesome couple of months. I was so excited to announce the new at the start of the year, working with SRAM for nearly my entire career and now being able to have them as my title sponsor is a real honor. I’ve always loved their stuff and will never forget those pictures of JohnnyT running the first Gripshift back in the day. TLD has always held a close place in my heart too having started in BMX and waited anxiously for the UPS truck to come by with my new visors and sticker packs I’d order from Dan’s Racing Magazine(pre internet). Finally, Scott is the first new MTB I ever bought when I decided I was going to go all in with this MTB thing, to have a chance to ride for them now is amazing. All and all the support and appreciation I received with this new change has been a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to get the season underway.
That said I am nearly done with my base training phase of the season. It consists of seven weeks of long steady rides with each week building on the previous. I have a week and a half left in this phase of what is probably my most challenging and fulfilling training of the year. Spending all day on the bike is what we all love to do so that part has been awesome. I have found some new trails, ridden new roads and have a ride halfway to Vegas planned for my finale. I have also been keeping busy outside of training. A few weeks ago I had my second annual MTB Camp hosted by the Cycling House. I love doing camps and getting to hang out and ride with different people from all over the country. It’s nice to be able to do some social riding away from the stress of the races and get to meet new people and make new friendships. It’s also great to show people my favorite Tucson trails and have everything taken care of by the amazing Cycling House crew, we couldn’t have asked for a better week.
After the camp I was off to Berkley for the 5th Annual NICA Awards Banquet. It was my first time attending this particular event but I have been to quite a few other NICA functions and they always do a great job It’s hard to describe the movement that is happening with high school mountain bIke racing to someone that isn’t involved. We started the day with a hundred person group ride and finished the evening with a banquet of nearly two hundred supporters, award recipients, sponsors and athletes. The maturity level of kids involved with the NICA program is phenomenal, many of their stories inspirational and on top of all that they are just great people. The passion and tireless work of the people that setup the leagues and make them what they are is infectious and I believe with these people at the helm the best is yet to come. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, thank you NICA.
That was a quick trip and no sooner had I landed in Oakland then I was heading back to the sunshine and warmth of Tucson to keep logging in the miles. I had a great week of training last week and again I was off for another event, this time Marty’s Rep Night in Morristown, NJ.. Rep Night is essentially a big customer appreciation party/expo held at a swanky convention center just outside of NYC. Growing up nearby it’s always great to go back and see old friends and make new ones. We don’t spend much time racing on the east coast these days so it’s awesome to get to chat with people from different areas about all things cycling and find out what type of racing/riding there doing and what’s happening in those regions. It was also great to catch up with Marty who has always been a big supporter of mountain bike racing from putting on events to sponsoring some of the top regional teams in the area. I had a blast and again I’m headed back to Tucson for another big week of training.
In addition to rolling around in the forecast 80 degree temperatures all week Finsty and I are working on a little film project that is gonna be awesome. After our film project we are off to team camp in Boulder City, just outside of Vegas. We have been riding the new bikes now for about a month and a half but it will be awesome to test new product and get our setups completely dialed in with the new team. The bikes are amazing but it’s not often you get the chance to get hard data from testing with the company and team there. I am also gonna need to pick their brains for my Fantasy Super Cross team because I am the lantern rouge in our team competition. So with a big week of training on tap I’m hoping to ride at least halfway to camp with an overnight in Phoenix on the way there. Also hoping for favorable winds because a headwind or trail wind can make a big difference when you’re riding in the desert with only saguaros for shelter.
If all this isn’t enough for one update Finsty and I will be headed to Brazil the first week of March to kick off our season at the SHC Copa Internacionel stage race. I love racing in Central and South America; some of my best seasons have been kicked off in Puerto Rico, Continental Champs or other destinations south of the border.
I wonder if my visa is gonna get here in time…..