When I look at putting a race schedule together, usually in the first couple months of the year, I have to take a lot of things into consideration. Racing mostly 100 miles or longer recovery is a huge part of putting a schedule together and making sure there’s plenty of down time somewhere in the middle of the season is very important. I had a huge block of racing starting with the BV 720, then the Royal Gorge 12 Hour and ending with my last race the Salida 720, three 12 hour races in 5 weeks. When I wrote everything down on paper this block of racing was quite intimidating, at 43 years old I have to be really careful with recovery so that I can be 100 percent come race day. If I could make it through this gauntlet of racing, while able to put hard efforts in at each race, it would really give me some great fitness for the rest of the season.
The first of the two 12 hour races I felt great! I had good energy coming into each race, I was very consistent all the way though the races, and still able to push hard at the end of each. Coming into the Salida 720 race I felt beat up, I had tweaked my knee a little bit in the previous race and I had a stupid crash in-between races hyperextending my wrist bad enough that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to race at all. I figured that I should just tape my wrist up and do the race and if it became to painful I could always just stop. Of course the Salida course is the most technical of the three races and probably one of the most technical xc courses you’ll find anywhere, so coming into it with a bum wrist was not ideal. The weather for race day was looking great, a bit of moisture a couple days before the race made a huge difference in course conditions and the forecast temps were in the low 70’s with passing clouds, it was looking like a perfect day.
For the first lap of most races I usually like to go out hard with a fast team guy and I definitely got that this year with Nick Gould, who went out hard (and put down the fastest lap of the day)! We rallied together for most of the lap, I would let him go on a couple climbs where he was going a bit faster than I wanted to go and I would eventually catch him on the decents.
I had Taylor Sheldon to worry about so I kept the pace high all day, What I didn’t know is that he had a crash on the first lap that set him back a bit but had stayed strong for 5 laps before dropping out. Still thinking Taylor was chasing me I was definitely pushing it but I was not feeling my best and was fading with my wrist not feeling great.
I came in to start my 8th lap and asked Nick if he knew how far back Taylor was and he told me he had dropped out and the next guy was way back, I was pretty relieved to hear that because I was pretty smashed and didn’t really want to do a 9th lap and could stop after 8.
It’s always great to win but really feeling good and being able to push hard to the end of a race is the best case scenario. I definitely didn’t have it at the end of this race, I pushed my body to its breaking point and barely made it through, which I should be happy with but I guess I’m always striving for more and never satisfied with almost. just because you don’t think you can do something is no reason to not try, do things you think you can’t do, usually you’ll surprise yourself and when you fail get up and try again, that’s part of succeeding.