Playing Politics Part

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Last March I had the privilege of attending the National Bicycle Summit for this first time. This year I had the opportunity to go once again and it was just as fulfilling in a completely different way. This year there was plenty of learning and advocating going on. I was once again inspired by the drive and dedication to bicycle advocacy that everyone at the summit had. Keep in mind most of these people are spending their hard earned money to travel to the National Bicycle Summit in hopes of convincing the hot shots on Capitol Hill just how important bikes really are to our communities and country as a whole. I came to the summit this year with that same goal but left having accomplished something totally different. I left feeling that my classmates and I had taught the attendees and Capitol Hill hot shots a thing or two.

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This school trip is part of the Lees-McRae Colleges cycling minor extracurricular activities.  The group consisted of five cyclists ranging from hard core racers to casual once a month riders. We all came together on this trip with the same goal: to empower ourselves by taking part in the political process and ultimately advocating for our own safety when riding. We did not go to tell everyone that bikes are better and you should get rid of cars because we love our cars too. We instead went there to say that we, as citizens, wish to use the bicycle as a mode of transportation and our country’s infrastructure is not allowing us the freedom to safely pursue this lifestyle. That idea seemed to be the theme of the whole week.

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The Meals were one of the highlights of the trip

The week started with some meetings and classes. These covered everything from general advocacy techniques, to what we would be doing on Capitol Hill. During this time I had plenty of opportunities to meet new people and connect with those I had met in years past. After two days of this we joined our respective delegations and took to Capitol Hill. This is by far my favorite part of the week. This is the time when you get to make a firsthand impression on your respective districts’ representatives. Plus, who doesn’t like dressing up in fancy cloths, walking around Washington D.C. and imagining they are someone important for a day. Hands down my favorite part of the day is the look on the politicians face when you tell them bikes are healthy, environmentally friendly, and way cheaper than cars. When you say this they are thinking in their head is “lower health care cost, less money on road repairs, tree hugger votes, more retail sales A.K.A more tax revenue”. The only thing stopping them is the fact that they would have to go out of the norm and do things the easy logical way.

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Meeting with Barbra Boxers staffer 

Following the day on the hill is the reception where everyone gathers to share their stories from the day. Surprisingly this is where I really felt like I did the most. I got to meet plenty of people and tell them about what we were there for. I was able to show that there are “young people” interested in making a difference, we also see the problems, and with the right support we can make a difference. My fellow classmates and I were able to spread this message and my hope is that people will realize that there is an entire generation that simply needs to be enabled.

This week is one of the highlights of my school year but with racing costs and tuition I would not be able to attend. Thankfully the great folks at Bikes Belong see the value in our participation and have enabled us to be a part of the summit two years in a row. They realize we all want the same thing but we need to work together to accomplish it. We would not be able to attend the National Bicycle Summit without their financial support just the same way they would not be able to connect with the “younger” generation the way we can. Let’s be honest: is a twenty year old really going to listen to someone their parents’ age who tells them they need to work for bicycle safety?  They are much more likely to follow the lead of their peers who are standing up for their rights.

All in all the week was amazing I got to learn, see and experience some awesome things. I came away from the week feeling that I had not really done much advocating to non-cyclists, but had done more advocating within the cycling community than anything else. I felt that my class mates and I had represented our generation. A generation that’s saying we want a part, a seat at the table. Just give us the opportunity to help you help us, and ensure a better future for us all as cyclists.

Just Training

It has been a little over a month since cyclocross nationals and I already feel like mountain bike season is in full swing. My weekdays have been filled with workouts and gym time while my weekends consist of epic trail rides. It has been a pretty rough life!

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A few weeks ago I went out to my first race of 2014. I took my Felt Compulsion to the annual Icycle night downhill race. The bike was flawless all night but my light was the exact opposite. This particular night downhill is a bring your own light type of race which I did. Unfortunately I think due to subfreezing temperatures the light failed to work. With less than an hour till race time I had to find another light that was less than sufficient. I was able to make it down for my race run but between glary ice patches and dim light I struggled to ride to my full potential. I finished 5th overall which was disappointing to me but still pretty good with all things considered.

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Aside from the Icycle race I have been doing a lot of training which has been going really well for me. Recently I managed to hit some personal records on the road bike and in the gym.  I have also been hitting a lot of new lines I have never hit before and going faster than ever on my favorite trails. The fun level on rides have also been at an all time high which makes days off somewhat of a bummer. About a week ago I got some sick new Kenda Tires which I am very pleased with so far. I am still adjusting to the Nexcavators‘ proper stiff side knobs that allow me to get sideways with with confidence and precision. The next few weeks are going to be the same as the past few with a collegiate road race thrown in there.

Also if you want to keep up with me one a daily basis feel free to find me on Facebook. You can also follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter at @codymphillips.

Get Stoked

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 Going Big on Telonix

I have finally had a chance to sit down and write about my winter break adventures. It started having the opportunity to do a couple photo shoots with my new bike sponsor Felt bicycles. I got to ride some cool trails with some rad teammates and we all got some sick shots. You can read all about that in the Felt 2014 Enduro Team Announcement. Between the photo shoots I managed to pull of a third place finish at the Southern California District Cyclocross Championship. The last week of my winter break was spent in Boulder, Colorado at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship.

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Photo Shoot Recap

Cross nationals was tons of fun and mostly a success. I say mostly only because I had some bike issues that were out of my control that affected my results. Despite the mechanicals, I rode to the best of my ability and took fourth place in the collegiate team relay. Two days later I battled through some more mechanicals in the Collegiate D1 race to finish 27th and Lees McRae took third overall. While in Boulder I got word that I will have the privilege of riding Kenda tires exclusively this season. If you have never used them be sure to click on the logo on the right and check out what they have to offer.

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CA District Champs Podium

After a very long drive I made it back to school in time to start the spring semester and get out for some trail rides on my Felt Compulsion. Which I must add is way too much fun to ride. It is so much fun that I have already found myself out riding it in subfreezing weather on snow. Luckily I had a Gravity Dropper seatpost for these rides because everyone hates it when their seat dropper fails mid-ride. Since it is completely mechanical and there is no fluid involved in its motions it works just the same in the boiling heat and freezing cold.

Next I will once again be at the iCycle race. This time I am going to race the night downhill instead of the XC which should be fun.

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Snow Ride in NC

Cross and More

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The last few weeks have been pretty busy which is why this post is a little late but here is everything that has happened since Cross Nationals. Mostly a bunch of cross racing and some new sponsors. After Nationals I wanted to do some cyclocross racing to help get myself ready for the 2014 enduro season. As far as the workout you get cross is simply a super long enduro. It is a bunch of accelerations across straights and out of corners. I started my season with a double header at the Louisville UCI weekend.

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Overall the weekend was tons of fun despite getting some lack luster results. Both days I had some decent races with a few mistakes that cost me a couple places and left me finishing in the back third of the race. Regardless of the result I learned a lot and got a very good workout. Following that I headed out to some local races and claimed a Top Ten at King College and an 11th in the Pro 1/2 race the day after. Both of these were solid results for me, but by no means were they my best, they are still something to be proud of. After that I took a weekend or two off to get some longer rides in and came back for the Collegiate Conference Championships. On a very hilly course I was able to pull off 8th place, which was again pretty solid for me. I also was the lead out rider for the team relay. I was able get an early lead and drop the hammer to get a gap and I held if for the remainder of the 6-minute lap. I was pretty pleased with this result this is almost an identical effort to an Enduro stage. I could tell that my five-minute power was looking pretty good. I recently flew back home and I have begun preparing for Cross Nationals, which will be taking place during the second weekend of January.

In the past few weeks I have also signed on with a new sponsor. This season I had a great time and some good results while riding for Team Santa Cruz/X-Fusion. I have no complaints and wish them all the best of luck in the upcoming season. For the 2014 season I have the great opportunity to ride and represent Felt Bicycles. I have known some of the guys there for a couple of years and I am extremely excited to be working with them. At the moment Felt is my only sponsor and I am looking for other companies to work with. Please feel free to email me with any suggestions of companies to talk to or sponsorship offers, (cody.m.phillips@gmail.com). In the next few weeks I will be doing plenty of riding in preparation for Cross Nationals and hopefully getting a new Felt Compulsion put together!

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#CollNats

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Collegiate Nationals Championships is always a good race. The level of competition is easily underrated by those who haven’t raced it. Those who have raced it understand how high the level of competition really is. When you take the best U-23 racers in the nation, put them on separate teams, and pit them against each other, the final result is some of the most passionate, intense, and competitive racing anywhere. This year’s nationals were held just up the hill from my school (Lees-McRae College) at Beech Mountain Resort. Being my home courses I wanted to have a good showing.

The first event of the weekend was the short track race. Unfortunately due to the way the call ups work I started in roughly 70th position. After about five minutes of hectic passes I managed to work my way up into the top 25 before I slid out on and off camber grass turn. I lost about ten positions because of this crash and then got pulled.

That afternoon was downhill qualifying. For downhill we raced the Pro course from the 2012 Gravity National Championships. I had a pretty solid qualifying run. Despite sliding out on a wet root I came down and qualified in 11th position. The next morning was the Cross Country race. I once again started with 70 or more riders ahead, but managed to move up into the mid-20s by the end of the first lap. After a few slip ups and mistakes I finished in 29th position.

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Going into the Downhill Finals I was feeling very confident but I was also feeling the pressure. In the end the pressure got the best of me and I found myself sliding out and slamming into a tree in the middle of my race run. In the process of head butting the tree I managed to break my visor. I finished up my run in 19th place.

Sunday was the 52 rider dual slalom competition. Qualifying went well and after two average runs I was the number 5 seed. After watching the first ever team relay it was time for the slalom finals. My Blur Trc was just agile enough to bounce from berm to berm while the X-Fusion Shox kept my tires firmly planted trough the flat grass turns. I made my way through the first three rounds without any issues. In the Semi-Finals I faced the number one qualifier and multi time National Champion JD Swanguen. In the first race he beat me by .04 seconds and in the second race I was just off on my line choice and he narrowly beat me again. This put me into the small final. In the first race of the small final I snapped my chain losing by the maximum time of 1.2 seconds. Luckily my teammates had a chain breaker and I had a quick link on my brake lever. I let it all hang out knowing that I had to make up 1.2 seconds but it wasn’t going to happen and I had to settle for fourth place.

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After every race was tallied up I managed to pull off a third place overall in the individual omnium which is a combination of all the events. Some of my Lees McRae Cycling teammates put in strong performances, including Gunnar Bergey in 5th, and Kerry Werner taking the overall Omnium National Championship. This put Lees McRae on the third place podium for the Team Omnium.

Overall the weekend was not quite what I was looking for but in the end I can’t complain about being on the podium twice. My bikes and gear held up great. I am more motivated and focused than ever for the return of mountain bike season. For now it is time to hop on the drop bar bike and drift some mud turns.

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Collegiate Racing Season Kickoff

Dual Slalom Run

Dual Slalom Run

The first collegiate race was of the season for me was the race at Eastern Tennessee State University (ETSU). This race was set to be the first omnium test of the year. I raced downhill, Short Track, and Four Cross on Saturday and Cross Country on Sunday.

After a few solid practice runs I was able to throw down a solid race time and take 4th place just a bit off the pace of the national champ. Up next was the Short Track in which I managed to get a good start. That good start propelled me to another 4th place finish among some very fast company.

Then it was time for the four cross race which never fails to be sketchy. I managed a solid mid-pack qualifying time but with a bad gate start I was knocked out in the first round. Ten hours later the first day of racing was done and dusted.

We returned the next day for one of my least favorite XC courses. Right out of the gate I could tell that my legs were fried from the day before. There was no way I could ride at the front so I had to adjust my goals and just get to the finish line. I rode to a mid-pack finish. This was a good reminder that I had some work to do before collegiate nationals in October.

The next weekend we made the trip down to Georgia to race at the Athens Olympic Venue. Saturday started out with a brutal short track. The short track was a roadie style course. Very quickly out of the start a lead pack developed. I was able to latch on to the back of it but I quickly began to yo-yo off the back. I ultimately got popped off the back of the pain train and rode it in for a top ten finish.

The Dual Slalom was a much different story. I threw down the fastest qualifying time and was able to cruise my way to the final. Unfortunately by the time the final arrived I was getting pretty fatigued and a few mistakes left me with a second place finish.

The next weekend we went down to South Carolina for the race at Clemson. The day started out with the downhill in which I was able to place second. A few minor mistakes bumped me off the top spot. It was then time to switch bikes and race some short track. I started in the back for the short track but made some good passes and moved up into the top ten. After some good battles I managed to pull off a 6th place finish which, considering my start, I was quite pleased with.

After a quick sandwich break it was time for slalom. This slalom course was fast, big and technical. One section was a 30 ft step down followed by a 30ft table that rocketed you in to a very tight 180 deg berm. I had a solid qualifying time seeding into third. I raced my way to the semifinal in which I faced the defending division two slalom national champ. I was able to get a solid lead on the fist half of the track and make it stick. I then found myself in the final facing my teammate who was the top qualifier. I was once again able to get a solid lead out of the gate but just before the rhythm section I grabbed a fist full of brake when I can into the berm wrong. Then left me with very little speed coming into the rhythm section. As I went through I could tell he was gaining on me. Just before the finish line we were equal. I threw my front wheel and was able to snag the win by just a few inches in a thrilling photo finish.

The next day was the 2.5 hour long cross country race which I once again started in the very back of the pack. I made a few sneaky passes and was able to get with the front group. My legs still weren’t quite ready to ride at the front but they were good enough for a 6th place finish. Although 6th isn’t stellar it is a good sign that I am starting to get on form with just a month to go before Nationals. This past Wednesday I threw my cross tires on my XC bike and went out to the weeknight cross race in Boone. I felt pretty good and was able to power my way to a third place among some fast company. This was yet another good sign.

This coming weekend we will be heading over to Asheville for another weekend of racing.

 

That’s Just How It Goes

1147766_10151512621716097_450043892_oThe last month or so has been quite the whirlwind of events. It started with the Downieville Classic. This was my first time going to Downieville and I was quite eager to see what all the hype was about. At the same time I was equally nervous since I was still nursing a nasty wrist injury. I had good reason to be nervous about the wrist since the course is known for how rough it is on riders and on bikes. I started the racing with part one of the All Mountain World Championships, the cross country. The race started with a 45 min vertical climb which then moved into rolling terrain which consisted of rocky and rough downhills. Not what you typically find on a cross country course. Luckily my TRc was up for the challenge weighing in for the weekends challenge at 26 LBS.

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I had a descent start to the XC race and moved up as the climb went on. I went over the top in 21st place but lost a few places over the rolling section of the course. Just as I started to get into a grove on the downhill I came over a rock pile and stuffed my front wheel into one of the Downieville tire-slashing rock gardens. When I tried to fix my flat the tube I had with be had a flat and I had used all of my CO2. After about 20 minutes I managed to find another tube and a pump and get rolling again. At this point I was way at the back and the goal was to simply get down in one piece. Once I finished I got to enjoy the river jump event and other festivities which were much more fun for me than the race itself, but that’s just how it goes.

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Sunday was the Downhill leg of the race which is where I was glad to be on X-Fusion Suspension since you have to run the same bike and parts for XC and DH. The Slant fork I ran walked the very fine line between performance, stiffness and weight that is necessary for such a demanding weekend. It showed when despite riding with a compromised wrist I was able to place 21st in the 40+ minute long event.

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Following Downieville my roommate from college flew out to visit L.A. for a few days before we hopped in my car a drove across the country to school. The road trip to North Carolina was tons of fun filled with plenty of memorable stops. The day after we arrived back at school we decided to do a Downhill race up at Beech Mountain Ski Resort. Mother earth decided to dump rain on the course and turn it into a slip n slide. I had a fast run for the most part but I had one major mistake. This mistake definitely cost me a spot on the podium which really annoyed me, but that’s just how it goes. I was pleased to know that I have the downhill speed to do well now and I just have to prove it. This coming weekend is the first collegiate mountain bike race of the year. The race is at the all too familiar Eastern Tennessee State University. I am hoping to use my knowledge of the courses to my advantage and hopefully pull off some good finishes.

Black and White

Pro Short Track National Championships - Cody Phillips

Pro Short Track Nationals

 

(Pro Short Track at Nationals)

Some people see life in color, others see it in black and white. For some there is good, bad and every shade in between. For others there is no in between; there is success or failure, right or wrong, black or white. For me there is no partial successes or part good part bad, you are one or the other. It is simply the way my brain looks at life. It is both a curse and blessing but it is something that I was born with.

With that being said the past two weekends were pretty bad. The first weekend was spent up in Camas, Washington at the fourth stop of the Oregon Enduro Series. The race courses were made up of two trails: one rock filled highway and the other a jump trail that came with jumps of every shape and size. I felt pretty comfortable on the rocks but the jumps scared me a little. There were four or five jumps that were bigger than anything I had ever hit before. I knew that I would have to hit them if I wanted any chance at being competitive. Throughout the weekend I worked my way up to them until my good friend Jon Buckell gave me a few words of wisdom that helped make it all click. After that I followed him and cleared every jump on the run. At this point I was stoked mostly because now I had a shot at being competitive in Sunday’s race. The plan for Saturday was to do one run on each course just as a pre-race refresher. Near the bottom of the jump track I hit one of the biggest jumps on the whole run a little weird and got bucked. I got bucked right over the bars and onto my face. I tacoed my front wheel, snapped my seat dropper post, and broke my saddle. Along with that I got a nice sprained wrist and a side dish or road rash. As bad as that sounds it could have been much worse so I am simply glad to be alive and not broken. Unfortunately this crash took me out for the race and a few days after. Next time I will be sure to stay focused until I am at the end of the trail.

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Battered and bruised I hopped on a plane and left Washington in search of some east coast racing. I arrived in Pennsylvania a few days before Nationals so I had plenty of time to pre-ride the course and figure out how to ride with a banged up wrist. I found a combination of ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory gel, and a wrist brace took the edge off the pain. By race day I felt mentally ready, but physically I still needed more time to recover.

The race started well. I managed to set my self up with some perfect openings. Unfortunately I didn’t have the legs to get through those openings. I tried to get them going but as I went up the first climb but I hit a wall. I repeatedly tried to break through that wall I smashed into it over and over but it was to no avail. After the first lap it got to the point where I couldn’t ride in any gear but my granny gear uphill or downhill. With two more races to go I thought it best to save my legs before they completely exploded into oblivion, and give my wrist another day to heal.

Cody Phillips, Super D Nationals

The painful Super D

The next two days were spent pre-riding and trying to get the Pro Super-D course dialed in. It was a challenge to hit the lines I wanted to at the speed I needed with my wrist injuries, but I gave it my all and rolled into 13th place. This was a more than disappointing finish for me.

I tried to channel my anger and frustration into my pedals in the Pro Short Track race. I started at the back of the pack, but didn’t have the snap required to move up quickly. I did manage to slowly pick my way up through the field. I was comfortably moving up a couple places each lap until another racer pulled up next to me put his hand on my shoulder and shoved me off the course. This ran me into a tree and lost me close to ten places before I was able get back on course. I slowly got going again and began passing racers again catching back up to the guy who pushed me off course. When I caught up to him he went down right in front of me on a grass turn. I had to brake hard to avoid running him over, costing me more places. The race went on for another two laps before I finished in 43rd place.

As far as results go the weekend was a failure. Despite the poor results the weekend was still a success. I had a great time hanging out with friends and managed to learn a thing or two. In the end you can’t change the way your brain analyzes your life but you can change what it gets to analyze. I guess the lesson to be learned from the past two weekends is that black, white, or any color in between you can always find a little sunshine in everything.

Moving on from the weekends of black and white I am headed to Downieville for the last race of the season before the collegiate racing season starts. With a failure of a season results wise I will be looking to go out with a bang. After the Downieville Classic I will be taking some time off from racing before I road trip back to school and start on some new adventures. As this season comes to an end I have some exciting ideas for the coming season so stay tuned…you might be surprised!

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A hint of what’s to come

It Is What It Is…

941852_218756911581684_796387957_n (1)After getting my XC bike set up dialed in I headed up to Big Bear for the XC State Championships. I arrived the night before with high aspirations but unfortunately some things were out of my control. One of those things was the stomach bug I unknowingly picked up. I started the race hard and set myself up in a good position. After a short time I began to feel as if I couldn’t hold the pace and quickly dropped off the lead group. I tried over and over to push my body to go faster and get up to that lead group but to no avail. I gave it one last hard effort before my breakfast came flying back up and ended my race day. After about five minutes doubled over I was able to ride very slowly back to the start. After Big Bear I headed home for a little R&R week.

After a relaxing week it was time to head up to Lake Arrowhead to help coach at the first ever SoCal High School League summer camp. I arrived at camp as excited as the campers. I have always enjoyed teaching others the things I have picked up while riding and racing. The campers arrived Monday and we quickly jumped into a skills session. I lead my team to the four skills stations and helped teach them some things they can work on through the week. Tuesday morning I got up early to do some intervals before camp started. Then watched as the riders participated in two time trials one uphill and one on an XC track. Wednesday was the rolling time trial followed by a fun trail ride. At this point my team of riders was having a great time getting to use their new skills to go even faster than they were before camp. Despite all the serious “training” and skills work there was also plenty of fun to be had. My team had named themselves “Dirty Mike and the Boys” and to this day nobody knows who Mike is. Things like this are the beauty of the high school league and these are the things that make it worth it. Thursday was another fun trail ride followed by an afternoon swim in the lake.

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Dirty Mike and the Boys 

Friday was sad mostly because it was the end of camp and everyone had to say goodbye to their new friends. As sad at that was I was eager to get up to China Peaks for the Enduro race. I left the camp around noon stopped at home for a quick nap then drove up to the race venue and arrived just after ten at night. Saturdays practice started out rough with a couple bad crashes but by the end of the day I figured out how to ride the sand. My WTB tires were hooking up great. Sunday morning came all too slow. After a sweet pancake breakfast I loaded up my bottles with some GU Brew to keep me hydrated in the exsesive heat which conqured some of the less prepared riders.

Stage one was prime. I rode it hard, fast and loose and kept the rubber side down for a fast run. I jumped right over to stage two and laid down another fast run with a few bobbles but no major mistakes. After a break I jumped on the ski lift and headed to stage three. I had another good run with again a few minor mistakes but nothing that cost me significant time. After three I headed up for the fourth and final stage. This stage had a rather long line in the burning hot sun but thankfully our team kits are made by Frontier Sportswear  who make one of the coolest jerseys around literally.

Stage four I felt was my slowest stage of the weekend so I decided to ride rather conservatively and stay clean. I managed to do this and pull off an 8th place overall finish. Unfortunately the race promoter had a timing system failure and did not have a back up system in place as they should have. So the over all results were based on all the riders stage two and four results instead of the four stages we raced. I felt this hurt the overall results of the riders who were consistent and clean throughout the day and benefited those who happened to have good runs one two and four. In the end there is nothing that can be done now and the results are the results.

Moving on from a rather frustrating weekend I am excited because of the fact that I managed to not crash and and have smooth fast runs on every stage. I am looking to keep this trend of improvement going as I head to Camas for the fourth stop of the Oregon Enduro Series. Thanks to my coach Adam Pulford and Carmichael Training Systems my fitness is coming into top form just in time for Cross Country and Super-D Nationals in Pennsylvania the weekend after Camas. Untill next time keep it fun!

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Always keeping it fun!

Four Weeks Five Races

The last three weeks have been pretty fun and busy. It all started with a trip to Novato for the California High School State Championships. The First of my five races. Before heading over to the race venue I stopped to build and pick up my enduro race bike and pick up our new team kits made by Frontier.

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After picking up my new Santa Cruz TRc I headed over to the venue to get a few laps on the course and test out the new bike and kits. The bike felt awesome for the first ride and the new kits were a good change from what I have used in the past. The course was steep and punchy which made for a good race some good races come Sunday. I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of my friends who are still in high school battle it out. Even though I couldn’t race this year it is always a great time at the high school races. Following the high school race I hung around NorCal for a few days to ride with some of my team mates and shoot some pictures.

After a good stay in Northern California it was time to head to Northern Oregon for the first stop of the Oregon Enduro Series and the second of my five races. I got the stay in the five star resort that is commonly known as grandmas house. The course was very similar to last years but the weather was not. The rain moved in with me on Wednesday and made the course a very scenic slip and slide. Despite the less than ideal riding conditions I had one of the best ride I have had all year. Part of it was because the TRc made going fast uphill feel as easy as my XC bike. Part was thanks to the X-Fusion Slant for that kept the front time planted in the mud and going exactly where I wanted it to. Anyone who rides bikes knows that if you get the front end where you want the rear will follow. The other part was due to the great friends and awesome trails we were all riding on. As the race came closer and closer the pressure began to build for the enduro season opener. I got several more practice runs on each stage until I knew my way through all of them.

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Come race day the trails were half dried out and half like iceing on a cup cake. My stage one went rather well I managed to make it down without any major mistakes which was a huge relief and took a lot of the pressure off to get the first stage done and over with. Stage two was rather technical so my plan was to pedal as hard as I could and keep it upright through the rough bits. I manged to do this but just barley. Going down the rough rock section I managed get sideways, get my bike sideways, and get me and my bike sideways all without hitting the deck. This lead to a very solid 19th place finish on the stage. Stage three was where everything fell apart I was running a little too much air in my tires which put me on the ground before I even realized my tires were slipping one the ice like mud. I went down twice which cost me upwards of 30 seconds on the short stage. Stage four went smooth and slow but I didn’t loose any time which was important after stage three.

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Day two started off with a fresh rear tire thanks to the great people at WTB. The new Weirwolf tire kept me upright through all of the second days stages. Stage five went alright with a few mistakes early. Then the long gruling stage six I placed a fairly average position. Stage 7 was a high speed straight shot down the valley to the finish at the venu. I rode smooth with a few minor mistakes but managed to keep going relatively fast and finish at a weekend best of 15th place. I finished 23rd on the weekend. Overall the weekend was pretty good I had a great time and fairly good finish and pinpointed my weaknesses to improve upon before round two in Bend.

Following Hood I returned home to race the US Cup Super-D and Cross Country races three and four of my five race tour. I wanted to use to Super-D and practice for Bend. I got a few runs in and my lines dialed and rode to a second place aboard my TRc. The X-Fusion Hilo seat dropper was key to my sucess with all the pedaling on the cours because it allowed me to stay low and fast on the descent but sit down and pedal in the most efficent way on the flats. I was just .6 seconds off my good friend Casey. I also managed to make my XC bike unrideable and there was not way to get the small part I needed to get it working again before Sundays race. Unfortunately I have to race my TRc with is about 7lbs heavier than my highball. Despite the extra weight I felt pretty strong on the day and finished in 7th place just over a minute from a podium spot. The X-Fusion O2 RCX was a life saver on the flats and climbs. With a flip of the switch it eliminated any pedal bob but still was active enough to soak of the lager hits so I could remain sitting and pedal through everything to mantain my momentum.

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After the mishaps at Hood RIver and the close second I arrived at bend very motivated for the fifth race of the five. I tried to stay more calm than I was at the previous round and I did for the most part. I got a little too excited in a corner on stage 1 and washed the front end out which cost me a solid chunk of time on the stage and for the overall. After that I managed to relax and stay smooth. I finished stage one in 26th place and stage two in 22nd place just a few seconds off the top ten. Stages three and four two of the more physical stages I pulled of a 12th and an 8th. Overall I am still not overly stoked with my performance but I am happy to be moving in the right direction and working out the kinks. I also made got a few shots in the race day video. Special shout out to E*thirteen for the XCX guide which kept my chain on over the breaking bumps that unrattled many other pro’s chains from their chain ringes. The bike and gear was great in every aspect and I think it will show at the next enduro I am doing at China Peaks in a little under three weeks from now. Until then its time to hop on the XC bike for the California state championships race which my Highball is primed and ready for. In Between the two races I will be an assistent coach at the first ever SoCal High School League Summer Development Camp. I am overly excited for this oppurtunity to give back to the sport and communtiy that has given me so much durning the short time I have been involved. I may have just busted out five races in four weeks but I am already pumped for the next five!