This year the 2016 Cyclocross Nationals were held in Asheville, NC on the Biltmore Estate. As reviews from the earlier races came in on how the course was, I became excited, the word was it would be technical. This was going to suit my strengths and I needed all the help I could get. Just the weekend before I was to race nationals, I tested my legs at the UCI race in Kingsport, Tn. The results were very disappointing to say the least. There was no power to be found and I believe I had still not recovered from my last training block. So for the week leading up to my race on Friday, I took it very easy, only doing a few short openers the day before my race.
My pre-ride reviled that the course was indeed technical. I was very excited and was actually having fun just riding the course. I could overhear other racers talking about course, most were saying they either loved it or they couldn’t ride it. This is how I think a national’s course should be. It should be one of the harder courses you do all year. Why? Because it’s nationals!
I woke up the morning of my race to find that it had rained a good bit during the night. This made me even happier as it made a hard course, even more challenging. My quick pre-ride of the course reviled that ground was slick and muddy, but not to the point where you were trashing your bike every lap.
I knew it would be important to be near the front of the race to avoid pile-ups and someone damaging my bike. I take pride in having good starts and was able to go into the corner first and settle in. Cooper from Furman University quickly past me and I knew he was able to maintain the pace he was going. I would have blown up if I tried to chase him down as several others did. As we came the first technical section I was sitting at around 6th place. This section was a very slick off camber turn around a barn. The trick at the time was to start low and work your way up high. This served me well as most stayed low and ended up having to dismount, while I moved up high and was able to ride away in 2nd place.
However I was not without my mistakes and would later make two mistakes that would put me into 4th place. In times like this you have to stay calm and keep smooth and not try to force things, in doing this I was able to catch and pass the rider in third. The second place rider was well ahead and first was long gone, but I kept pushing forward chipping seconds off the rider in second place, but I had ran out of time and had the settle for third.
I was very happy the come away with the third spot considering my poor performance just the weekend before. I was also very happy with how my Kona Super Jake rode in the extreme conditions and the performance of the prototype Nox Composites tubulars I was using and lastly all the TruckCo products that kept my bike together and stopping were a no fuss must. I can’t thank Kona, Nox Composites and TruckerCo enough for letting me represent them this year and I’m looking forward to doing it all over again in 2016!