So this year has exceeded my expectations by a lot. Going into the season I didn't know where I was at and had no idea if I was going to meet the expectations of a PRO. I think that I lived up to the challenge.
Part of the challenge most cyclist struggle with is consistency, the season is long and can really dig you in a hole if you aren't careful. I started the season strong (minus Iola where I broke my chain) and ended strong, consistantly staying in the top ten. Last year (and still do) I would look up to guys like Darrin, Mike, Brian, Tristan and Chris and wonder how every race, all year long, they could get on the podium, well this year I was one of those guys and it feels pretty good.
Since I didn't write about Bear Paw I will just give a quick shot at the race if I can remember what happened. I had a great start, hit the climb hard and got into the single track somewhere around the top 5. Held there for the first lap and came around into the second lap in 3rd place, but my handle bars were a little loose and would move every hard hit that I took. I hit the climb again, maybe a little to hard, but still stayed in position. Once we hit the second section of 1 track Darrin and Mike got ahead of me and slowly pulled away while I was riding with my loose bars. Somewhere around here Nathan passed me too. I had a tool with me but didn't know if stopping to fix it or if riding it out would be faster - I did the latter. I held my ground and came in 6th place.
Yesterday was Sheboygan - The muddiest race I have ever been in. I like to race in the mud, but this was just crazy. Water that was over the hubs and everything else was thick mud, some sections I swear were a foot deep, roots exposed everywhere, and climbs there were unclimbable. It was a skills race, I think that my skills were pretty decent but the down hills were sketchy and I tried to take it kind of easy on them but my brakes were gone after a lap into the 3 lap race. I battled with Mike Philips again who is a mad man on the downhills. We were back and forth for quite awhile, I actually got away and thought there was no way that he would be coming back, but guess what? He was back and was killing it, he dropped me while I was laying on the ground and that was it. I rode through solo in 7th place.