|5Nines guys patrolling the front|
Chequamegon Fat Tire has been a fickle beast for me in the past. I try to come in each year with legs primed and it seems the physical part comes through but lady luck and tactics have not.
It turns out this year would be no different. Despite a shortened course the lead group of men hit the firetower hillclimb about 12 strong. Jeremiah Bishop had launched his first and only attack of the race a couple miles earlier and was riding off the front over the climb. I made sure to get into the hill climb section in front and hit the gas. I wasn’t sure I would be able to catch Jeremiah but I thought it would be a golden opportunity to bridge up and maybe work together. Each tier of Firetower I could see the gap shrinking and hear the chasers fade away. About half way up I was confident I could catch Jeremiah and the two of us would have a nice gap. Over the top I made contact and we bombed the downhill full gas.
|Sitting in mid race|
|The lead pack getting whittled down|
Sure enough the three of us were caught and swarmed right before the last 2 mile section of trail. I was able to salvage a very hard earned 6th place finish but of course I was thinking about a little more. Brian and Jeremiah had a little more left in the tank and rode in for 1st and 2nd.
|Coming to the line with Mike Olheiser|
The very next weekend I was back at it only this time on skinny knobby tires. Each year it gets a little easier to make the transition from MTB to cross.
The new Cannondale SuperX’s were in and built up just in time for race day and they were looking sweet! I had the new bikes out next to the car and had trouble getting my warm up in because of the amount of attention they were getting from people stopping by. I had to agree with most in that this year we truly have the ultimate setup!
Not only do the new SuperX’s look sweet but Cannondale really nailed the geometry. They feel stable at speed and still take the tight corners with ease. I’m riding a 48cm frame and don’t have any issues with toe overlap.
Saturday was the UCI C1 event and I had a top 15 as my goal for the day. I was a bit bummed to arrive and find that I had drawn the last number (#47) for the start grid. I was going to have some work to do.
Thankfully I got a great start and was sitting close to 20th after lap one. From there I was on a mission to smash it….riding 100% effort for as long as I could. By lap 4 I was sniffing that 15th spot but was totally gassed. I had to go to maintenance mode for a few laps to recover and save energy for the final push. With 2 to go there was a group of 3 riders in 14th-16th. One of us was not getting points. Then to my surprise Andrew Dillman signaled to the pit that he was thirsty and pitted for a drink(?) with 2 laps remaining! I sensed my opportunity and attacked. We never saw him again.
Craig Ethridge and I locked horns and worked our way past a struggling Brian Matter on the last lap. Craig held me off in the sprint but we rolled in 13th and 14th. Welcome to Ranked Rider Land! Those UCI points are going to come in mighty handy the rest of this year for preferred starting position.