Twenty twelve began with the grand finale of a long cyclocross season. National Championships of CX were January 8th in Verona, Wisconsin. The Feedback Sports Crew definitely paid homage to the cyclocross scene this year… Sammy and I drove the Feedback Sprinter across the country; packed with 9 bikes, 15 sets of wheels, and a van-load of Feedback Sports products! The Heartland Tour was the last hurrah for the season and it was executed in good form. Our expo set up was plush and our team rode well. Congrats to all racers, especially Feedback sponsored, Jeremy Powers, who is our National Champion! And thanks to all of our sponsors for your support this CX season.
With nearly a month off the bike altogether, I was apprehensive when registering for a mountain bike race in the beginning of February. I decided to start off my mountain bike season on the snow. The inaugural Winter Teva Mountain Games were hosted in Vail, CO this past weekend. The On-Snow MTB Crit was what they called it, but it was more like a snowy short track! At the base of Vail, the snow packed course was lined with spectators who were witnessing something unique. I have never competed in anything quite like this, and I can guarantee that I will be back next year! The laps took about 4 minutes to complete and we raced for 35 minutes plus one lap. It was interesting how they had two categories: Fat Bike/Mountain Bike. The only regulating factor was tire width. If your tires were wider than 3” you competed in the Fatty race, anything narrower and you were in the MTB race. I raced my Niner Air 9 Carbon with 2.4” knobby tires. I set them up tubeless, and showed up with about 22 PSI. After riding a few laps of the course, and realizing that I couldn’t get any traction on the steep section of the climb, I let out some pressure. I don’t know exactly what I was running, but I think it was about 10 PSI in the rear. You could see my sidewalls conforming to the rim and appearing to be flat. It felt weird on the descent, but worked out well on the climb. Speaking of the descent, that was my favorite part. It wasn’t too steep, but it had some dicey corners that were blanketed with fresh powder. I managed to keep the bike upright while drifting through the corners with one leg kicked out to the inside for stability.
The start was weird. I was on the front row of the starting line and the announcer said that fat bikes were to start first, but we were all starting at the same time. I guess they wanted the fatties out front… so I reluctantly moved back to the second row, behind Jake Wells. It worked out well, as I got around Jake before the first corner and was on the front. I had a flashback for a second because it was the same exact scenario at the Summer Teva Games. And sure enough, on the first climb, several racers passed me. Mitch Hoke, Jay Henry, Jake Wells and Brady Kappius were all out front and had put a gap into me by the time we reached the top of the climb. I tried to keep it under control and not go anaerobic. Since I haven’t ridden in about a month, I didn’t know how my body was going to react. Luckily, I felt some left over fitness from cross season! I stayed consistent and rode the climb every lap, while I noticed that Brady was running the top section. Eventually, I pulled away from him, but couldn’t seem to hang with the top fatty bikers! Hoke took the win on his fatty, with Henry, and Wells behind him. It felt good to open up the legs and now it’s time to start training!
I am super excited to be racing for Niner again this year! Their support is amazing. Not just in terms of equipment, because we all know their bikes are the best, but the entire company is like a family. The other day I called up Chris Sugai, the owner, and he was cruising around Italy visiting their distributor. He is super down to earth and genuine. If you ever get the chance to chat with him, you will know exactly what I mean. I feel very fortunate to be in a position to represent a brand that is so passionate about what they do and who they support. This really is the “Big Revolution”! Thank you, Niner.
Thanks for reading,