Thursday, September 26, 2013

CrossVegas ---> Beijing, China

That's right, my most recent adventure had me traveling from the plains of the Midwest to the desert oasis of Las Vegas, NV for my the first 'cross race of the year with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team. I was there ONE whole day before boarding a plane on Thursday morning bound for the other side of the world. I lost a day, arriving in Beijing, China on Friday afternoon for the country's first UCI cyclo-cross race. Here is a brief recap, and some fun stories from along the way!

CrossVegas under the lights

My time in Vegas was a whirlwind. Even though I was only there for a short time, I accomplished a lot, taking advantage of the many hours the day has to offer and not sleeping - the typical lifestyle there. It was great to meet my teammates on Wednesday while we dialed our bikes in and took some photos. We did this in the earlier part of the day to allow for a bit of downtime before racing that evening. 

Riding down "the strip" to the hotel with AC

The venue is a soccer complex, one of the only open spaces in the area with enough grass to host a bike meet on. When we arrived at the start of the evening things were starting to buzz. There were a few races that happened earlier in the day that finished up as things were starting "heat up" (figuratively). Thankfully for us, the actual temperature was cooling down as we neared the races: Wheelers&Dealers, UCI Elite Women, followed my the UCI Elite Men. 

The team setup was dialed

After spinning the legs, I did a couple laps on the course at race speed to fire up the legs and figure out the lines to take in the race. While I completed these laps, I saw the sea of people that had made their way out to watch the race, it was exciting to see! During the call-ups, I realized that I was about to start my first race 'cross race since U23 Worlds in Louisville, and with that realization I knew suffering would ensue. 

The race: I had a solid start, maintaining position while waiting for things to settle down a bit. In the second lap I was charging hard to work up to the front group, which was within reach. At this point I was redlining, so I backed off to get into a rhythm. This paid off, because I was able catch a handful of guys that were dropped by the lead chase group of 8+ riders. The group I was racing with ended up five strong (myself included) before finishing up. In the final lap, the group was still together when Yannick Eckmann attacked with a half lap to go. I followed. He held me off, taking 12th, with your truly in 13th. 

Coming into the race, I felt good with how my training had been in preparation for the season. My result was a great indicator that I'm on the right track this season. This is give me motivation to keep working hard toward my goals for this year. 

Once the race concluded, I was fortunate enough to see a whole slew of people that I knew, as well as having the opportunity to meet a bunch of new folks. Having so many people that are friends who support me at the race, really made the experience that much more memorable. 

Fast forward to the next day: 
Wait, where are we now, you ask... I had hoped you wouldn't, because we're now on a plane, a plane en route to China. After a lengthy rest of an hour, I was up and off to the airport to begin phase 2 of my trip. I wasn't alone in my venture, there two super cool people from CX Magazine (Andrew Yee & Molly Hurford), along with four other US riders.

Now that I've sparked your interest, I'll stop and save the rest of this my trips stories for another time.
Thanks for reading!

If there's been anyone who checked for updates over the summer, I do apologize for my posting hiatus.  

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