CU Research Park and Castle Rock

Saturday's race was in Boulder at the CU Research Park, a venue at which we really don't like racing. But since the race was local and held callup points for Nationals for Carl, we decided to do it anyway. The CU students did a really good job setting up the course in a tight little area. After racing both of us, thought "Huh, not so bad!". Sunday's race took us to Castle Rock, south of Denver. It was at a park shaped like a shallow bowl and featured lots of climbing, big fields, and a very muddy puddle. Nick's Report:

Nick wasn't able to race on Sat. due to lack of a category for his age group, but he spent the day riding on the available terrain and having fun. He was also the super fan, riding all over the course cheering, we never knew where he'd be! Sunday he lined up eager to race. He was in the lead group of 4 until the first hill and lost contact. He kept charging and rode the puddle like a pro even with several kids tangled up in it! He maintained his 4th place for the entire race and was very pleased.

Kristal's Report:

Saturday was a strong field for the women, including our local hero and incredibly fast mom, Nicole Duke, along with a few other top notch riders. The start was critical to get the best line going into the singletrack. I had a great start and was riding in 4th position. Right in front of me was Rebecca Gross, who I have been trying to close the gap on all season and I could tell I wasn't too far off her wheel. Eventually I managed to bridge up to her and was right with her going into the last lap. Unfortunately I had a bobble in a corner and went down, shoot. I lost her wheel and despite trying to get back up to her I couldn't close the gap. So 4th it was for the day and I was very pleased.

Sunday came around and I could tell early in the day that my legs were a bit dead. I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on warming up properly to help them come around. The start had a stiff climb and at the top I was pretty much in the back of the field. I knew I had work to do so I charged hard on the first down hill and started moving up. I had some battles going on between racers but was eventually able to move up into 4th position. I went back and forth with a girl in 3rd but didn't have the legs to hold her wheel on the hills. Considering how I felt I was good with where I finished.

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday I'm reminded to be thankful for many things. One being that I have the ability to compete and spend time on my bike with my family and friends. It's truly a blessing in my life. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.


Carl's Report:

After initial reservations about the venue for Saturday's race, the short drive and national points won out. The fields were really small all morning, so I was able to warm up on the course. It featured a lot of loose turns, but also a lot of rocks that forced us to keep the tire pressure higher than would have been optimal. Unfortunately, this led to my crashing hard on a warm up lap on a downhill, off camber turn where I was trying to nail the line. It was one of those crashes where you go down so fast and hard that afterward you're left looking around trying to figure out where the heck your bike is! I shook it off and rode the trainer after that (where I'd be safe!). At callups, we only had a meager 5 guys in the 30+ field. So, I got a front row callup and contested the hole shot before settling into 2nd place. I was able to hold the leader's line and was right on his wheel when I slid out on a turn, allowing him a gap. Still, I was feeling good in 2nd place, but unfortunately, slid out again, and had to eventually settle for 3rd. I felt good about that overall, as it's rare that I finish in the money!

Sunday morning I woke up really sore, with bruises and random pulled muscles from Saturday's crash. Nonetheless, we headed to Castlerock for the race. This race featured lots of long climbs, and relatively little technical difficulties, so wasn't a great course for tired legs! I felt okay in the initial laps, but my bike was skipping gears all over the place. I hesitated to pit and switch bikes because I use my old Kona Major Jake as a pit bike and it's definitely a step down from my Blue Norcross! By the 3rd lap, I decided it was silly to keep it up, so signaled Kristal and pulled in for a bike change. She managed the change like a pro and a lap later had the Norcross ready again. It rode better than I did for the remaining laps and I rolled in just a few spots ahead of the back of the field. I'm not too disappointed overall, since Saturday was great, and I feel like Sunday gave a great workout. Feels like perfect timing for a break over Thanksgiving before we charge into the final weeks--only 5 races left including Nationals!

Thanks for reading.