Last but not least was our second year of backyard Marathon National Championships. Myself and Carl had the #1 and #2 plates on our bikes from last year’s runaway 1-2. And we actually had sufficient time to prepare for their defense.
The course was way better this year, taking in some of Bend’s finest trails and climbing up to 7000′ along the Cascade Crest. It was at this point, actually, that I liked my chances of a title defense.
My clever line choices on the biggest climb and descent had opened a gap on perennial challenger Todd Wells and I was alone at the front. I missed Carl, but was glad to not have the prospect of a sprint finish with him.
Fast-forward a couple hours and my impressively bonked, flimsy carcass was unable to sprint with Carl, except this time it was for 2nd place. Todd had ridden away after I exhausted the last of my bag of tricks (riding up the Octupus Log on Funner) and was no longer able to stay in front of him and ride at 200 watts, hoping he didn’t notice my (painfully obvious) grenaded state.
It’s almost easier to lose a title defense when you’re so incredibly blown that there’s no possible recourse. Hats off, Todd.
And damn fine work at the London Games, I’m proud of you and Sam Schultz for finally ending our “Americans riding like poo” streak at the Olympics. 10th and 15th are right in there.
And while we’re at it, sweet that Georgia Gould got a bronze medal. That’ll keep the stoke high for all those XC pinners out there coming up through the ranks. Pedaling bikes hard is a good time.
Speaking of good times and hard pedaling, I’m on a plane to Nice, France as I wind up this summer narrative. About to wind up the mountain bike season at Trans Provence. Much like that float plane trip into the wilds of BC, I’ve been looking forward to this event since I signed up last fall.
It’s going to be pretty amazing to ride across the mountains of Haute-Provence, camping and racing on the downhills, for an entire week. Hope I have enough energy left for it…
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