Well it has been a wild 30 days bookmarked by two National Championship’s that had me contesting 6 different races. If I was not on the road traveling to and from the events, I was at home trying to maximize my rest while squeezing out every last drop of energy I could in my training, in hopes of timing my peak perfectly.
The first National Championship was held in Bend, Oregon and was comprised of the road racing disciplines. While nerves dominated the hours leading up to each race, they were replaced with fast twitching muscle fibers at the sound of the start gun. After 55-km of racing, the Road Race was decided in the final 500-meters where I was able to execute a perfectly timed sprint, leaping free and clear of the field to become the 2010 Road National Champion. I followed up the Road Race the following day with a solo attack of the field in the Criterium Race, with 3-km of racing to go. I buried myself for the first kilometer of my attack, opening a 15-second gap. My competitors could not manage to reel me in, as I crossed the line with hands held high capturing my second National title.
The third and final race I contested at Road Nationals was the time trial. While I had visions of sweeping the weekend, my legs were beginning to pay a bit for my earlier efforts. Also, my competition included several of the world’s best in the time trial discipline. As I sped off from the start line, I settled in the adventure into the pain cave, almost relishing in the building burn in my legs as the kilometers whizzed by. Twenty-four kilometers later, I passed underneath the finish line banner at 40+ mph, legs on fire and eyes crossed in complete exhaustion. The top spot of the podium had slipped from my grasp on the long uphill, but I had clawed my way on the podium in a solid 3rd place. With three races in the books and three podiums to remember them by, it was back on the road to Bozeman to prepare for Track National Championships.
Track National Championships were held in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the Seven-Eleven Velodrome. Track racing is something near and dear to me. However, my expectations for this year were a bit mixed considering I had focused so much of my training on performing on the road. In order to reacquaint myself with the nuances of racing on the velodrome, I traveled to Colorado Springs a few days early. The few extra days proved to be critical in preparing my body and mind for the different demands of track racing and the ultimate outcome of racing.
The first event to be contested was the 4-km Individual Pursuit. This event demands precise pacing and an ability to push through constantly intensifying pain that culminates in complete exhaustion in the approximately 5 short minutes the race lasts. I had the goal of completing the race in just under 5 minutes, but when I woke in the morning to 15 mph wind gusts, I knew that was very unlikely. I was pleasantly surprised then to stop the clock in 5:04 on race day, setting a personal best in extremely windy conditions. This was merely seconds off my goal of sub 5 minutes, thus netting the bronze podium spot.
I contested two events the following and final day of Track Nationals, both of which are personal favorites. The Kilometer is said to be the most painful race on a bike. Lasting just over 1-minute, it is a 110% sprint from the word go and generally ends with the rider crossing the finish line incapable of applying force to the pedals let alone formulating a single thought. With heavy legs from racing the day before, I lit the afterburners and was quickly at record breaking speeds. Alas my tired legs could go only so hard for so long. As I limped my way around the track in the final 150-meters, I crossed the line a few tenths of second slower then the US record for my disability. Adding to my medal count for the year my time was good for the bronze medal. My final 2010 National Championship race was the crowd favorite, the Team Sprint. The Team Sprint consists of three riders on a team racing together in order to complete 3 laps on the track as fast as they can. My team was most certainly the team to beat and we did not disappoint, logging the fastest time of the day by over 5 seconds. In fitting fashion I concluded my National Championship racing on the top podium step with two of my teammates, as we slid on the National Champion Jerseys signifying we were the best in the business.
In 2010, I have contested 6 different National Championship races, representing a cross-section of cycling disciplines, as wide as the Montana winter is long. In doing so I have had the honor to climb the podium steps all six times, 3 of those trips to be crowned a National Champion, without a doubt this is my best season to date. All of this would not be possible without the loving support, encouragement and motivation you the Element 14 family have provided me. Sara, Amelia and I are extremely grateful.
Next stop on the calendar is the Para-cycling Road World Championship in Quebec, Canada mid-August where I plan to represent you all by showing the world there are no LIMBitations.