This fall I've been all over the country following the UCI Juniors series in the US, which included the Pan-American Championships in Cincy. The first races were in between Colorado High School MTB races, which made travelling and racing in general super busy. In Providence and Boulder, I became more familiar with the ridiculous fast starts and high pace of some of the fastest juniors in the world, which most definitely helped my fitness for MTB state champs in the end of October. When that time came around, I was physically prepared and scored a 2nd place in Varsity boys. I was also 2nd at MTB nationals this summer, so I'm hungry for a W sometime in the future.
The next races were Cincy, Louisville, and LA. I improved a lot over the weeks in between and managed to finish 11th and 14th for the two days in Cincy. The Pan-American course was as close to a European course as you could get with some serious off camber, mud, and steep run ups. Unfortunately, I was sick for the Louisville trip, but learned a lot from the previous weekend.
A few weeks later, it was time to shift to the heat in LA and finally score some UCI points. Since only 11 guys raced both days, I knew this was my shot to mix it up with the leaders and podium. On Day 1, I found myself in 4th early on and chased hard the whole race, only to get within 3 seconds of 3rd on the last lap until I washed out in a corner of pine needles, which were abundant in literally every corner. On Day 2, I was 3rd off the start and made it a priority to stay with 2nd as long as possible. I succeeded in this, going out onto the last lap with the 2nd and 3rd place riders. I tried to make a move to go into 2nd but got the "door shut" on me. At this point, I didn't have much of a kick left, and the two slowly rode away; however, I was less than a minute from first in the end. The bumps throughout the course sucked all the energy out of your upper body and hands. Overall, this event was a huge confidence-booster, and I scored some valuable UCI points to solidify my call up at nationals in January in Asheville, NC.
My equipment this season has been flawless, especially the SRAM CX1 system, kappius tubular rims with challenge tires, capo cycling and giro cycling apparel, and of course, oakley sunglasses. Now that the conditions are getting worse with winter on the horizon, I'm super excited to race in some mud, snow, ice, and whatever other conditions you can do a cross race in :).
Cheers and happy trails!