U.S. Open

Posted: June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

The second race i hit on my east coast trip was the U.S. open of mountain biking at Mt.Diablo in Vernon, NJ. This race was big there were over 120 registered pro men including all of the big name American racers, along with the fastest Canadians and some of the top guys in the world came in from Europe including the 2010 world cup champion Gee Atherton so in my mind this was the perfect opportunity to throw down a great result amidst a big time field. We arrived at the venue Wednesday evening and went for a track walk my first impression of the course was good there were four main rock gardens down the course and none of them were tame by any means the whole course was covered in engine block sized boulders that were arranged in just a way that you could bounce through them pretty consistently but when you didn’t hit it right it generally didn’t end well. The bottom of the course was really high speed and had a fairly big 35 foot step up jump into a smaller step down then you would enter the bottom woods section and come out onto a high speed right hand fire road corner which led into the finish line sprint. In the next two days the main focus was just getting up to speed for Saturdays qualifying and by the end of the day on Friday i was feeling really confident i had been timing riders on my course walks so i knew exactly how fast every line was and i had my whole run figured out from top to bottom without question.It was kind of funny but at the biggest race i had ever done i was oddly relaxed and as i got ready Saturday morning i was feeling good i knew how important my qualifying run was but for some reason i had no nerves whatsoever. When i got to the top for my run i was sitting there with over 120 of the fastest pro men in north America all fighting for 50 spots on Sunday and two riders away from me dropping in the race clock stopped working it wasn’t until that point that the nerves kicked in, as i sat up there for 5 minutes waiting for the clock to restart the butterflies started to flutter in my stomach. Finally it was my turn to drop in and in the very first corner i messed up pushing my front wheel and setting myself up wrong for the next corner from this point on i was in catch up mode and was just out of control in my run trying to go as fast as possible everywhere but because of how hard i was trying i was hitting everything terrible and when i crossed the finish line i was in 40th position with 50 riders left to go and i had to sit there at the bottom and wait to see if by some chance i made the cut. It was the slowest hour of my life but in the end only 8 more riders would best my time and i ended up qualifying 48th 0.4 seconds away from not making the cut it was close but i did it i qualified at my first ever u.s. open and i was stoked! I went back to the condo and prepared for Sundays race. Sunday morning came and i was feeling great, i knew that with how terrible my run was in qualifying i could definitely throw down a really fast time if i put together a clean race run. I felt like i was riding really well and i was loving the course so i tried my best to put as little pressure on my self as possible for the race run in the afternoon. I was the third pro rider to drop in and in the gate i was calm, cool, and relaxed ready to throw down a good run then i heard the fifth beep and i dropped into the course. Spectators lined the track top to bottom and it was so loud the whole way down all i could hear was cow bells and horns everywhere it was so awesome i felt like i was in a movie the whole time and strange enough the crowd actually helped me calm down i was on a great run and everything was going good then in one of the last rock gardens my front wheel slid down a root and i got pulled off trail and into a tree i regathered myself as quickly as possible and hopped back onto the trail and started sprinting from a dead stop as i continued on my run i put that incident out of my mind and rode really well the rest of the run all the way to the finish line. When i crossed the line i was in second place with 47 riders left to go so i didn’t know really what to expect but as the riders came down my time seemed to hold pretty well after all was said and done i finished out in 27th place on the weekend and i was about 8 seconds outside of the top 10.I was pretty happy with that result but still disappointed in myself knowing what could have been if i would have held it together however I am proud of the strides i have been making in my racing and i have been feeling really confident in my riding abilities lately. I know that as soon as i figure out the mental aspect of racing a little better i will be exactly where i want to be come race day and I’m excited for the remainder of the season! I also want to give a huge thanks to Canfield brothers bikes and Trucker Deluxe clothing for supporting me this season.

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