After taking a month off from pretty much the whole human race, I am now officially back (strange since I was never officially gone...).
My absence kicked off with pneumonia, and I will kick off this return to blogging with the story of my 3rd time back on the bike since I fell down under the weather.
After not having ridden for what seemed like an eternity of coughing, antibiotics and sleeping in, I was forced into action by the Park City, Utah (Deer Valley) leg of the NORBA national tour.
Brooke and I had planned a trip that included camping on Gooseberry mesa and partaking in what may be the best riding ever!
We packed our bags and our bikes and set out for UT!
When we arrived at Gooseberry we found a nice spot to camp and made a fire, roasted hot-dogs and laid our bags down under the stars to sleep.
The next day (day #1 back on the bike) we cris-crossed all over the mesa, riding: Hidden Canyon, the South Rim, the White Trail, the Yellow Trail (in both directions) the North rim and the Practice loop.
After several hours in the 100+ degree heat we were running out of time and we were wilting so we packed up the car and headed up to Park city to stay with our friend Megan and her dog Annie.
We got in later that expected because A: we underestimated the time it would take to finish the drive from Gooseberry and B: we forgot about the time change. Ooops, sorry Megan!
The next morning (day #2) we drove the 15 min. to Deer Valley and pre-rode the course, stopping in at the Fisher tent afterwards to say our hello's to the team.
After that it was back to Megan's for some grub. We had a great time grilling up salmon and making pasta and salad, watched a movie, had a bit of ice cream and went to bed.
Day #3 back on the bike was race day and after examining my performance on days 1 and 2 I was determined to at least finish all 4 laps!
The race started with about 60 riders and I went as fast as I could, mingling somewhere near the mid-back of the group.
Lap one was my best lap... I faded a lot on lap 2 and had to stop and take a break. Only one or two riders passed me while I was resting.
Lap 3 I was starting to get light headed and I was having trouble holding my lines... I was thinking about quitting... a bee flew into my jersey and started biting me multiple times...
When I entered the feed zone at the beginning of lap 4 I took a nice long break, and started feeling better. I decided that I wasn't going to quit with 1 lap to go.
Oh yeah, I had gotten a flat on lap 1 that had mostly sealed with Stan's but there was still a slow leak and it had gone flat 2 times. I had just been re-filling it with C02.
While on the last climb of the last lap of the race it REALLY went flat... the C02 and Stan's were just spittin' out and midway through the last descent I emptied a can of Seal-Flate into the tire, hoping it would gum up enough to last me the 2 min I needed to finish.
No dice though, and 2 riders passed me while I was running my bike to the finish line for 46th place.
Anyway, 4 dizzy laps, 34 miles, 3 flat tires, multiple rest breaks and bee stings later, I felt like I had accomplished something just finishing!
Since I triple flatted in AZ for NORBA #1 and had no drops I pretty much had to race in UT this week. Unfortunately for me I only got 34 points for my miserable 46th place finish so that will definately put a dent in my overall standings.
Oh well, it's better than a zero I guess, and I got to have a fun trip with my wife and ride Gooseberry Mesa.
The next day was Brookes race, she did awesome and got 3rd place in a big, competitive field.
Alex, also feeling a little under the weather, hung onto 6th place in his race. Dave Roth got a 6th place in Super D and Cheryl Roth got on the podium with a 5th place finish despite a tough battle against local high-altitude junkies!
The day after that was my Short Track race. My cousin Ann was visiting a friend in SLC and came out to the race even though I warned her that if the XC was any indication I would be getting pulled pretty damn quickly!
I warmed up and went to the line, waited, and got a nice call up in 3rd place.
The race started... I went fast (felt fast, actually slow)... I got passed by everyone... I passed a few people back...
I was saved by the bell on lap 3 when Frosty pulled me. I have never been so relieved to be done with a race in my life!
After that it was just a fun time cheering on Willow and Heather in the Pro race, more grilling with my cousin Anne, Megan, her friend Wade and a cornucopia of dogs, and then a long drive home!