Friday, August 13, 2010
Worlds???!!! This time last year the whole idea seemed kind of improbable. Even until May of this year, it still seemed like a long shot. But now it's real. The full time job, a full National racing calendar, and now Worlds is happening. Erik says it was the 6hrs of Skibowl Race where he noticed a turning point. After that weekend at Mt. Hood, I felt a hint of real possibility after getting 14th at the Pro XCT in Wisconsin, but the first real sign for me was the Pro XCT Finals in Colorado Springs where I finally got my first top-10 in the XC, 9th overall on the weekend, and sealed 8th overall in the series. Nationals the following weekend returned to Sol Vista, and instead of feeling intimidated by the pressure to improve on last year's performance, I felt calm and focused. I feel best at the big races. Somehow the big pressure has a fortifying effect. By the time I had moved into 7th on the last lap, I felt like I was floating. I was racing smart, and I could feel all of the lessons I've learned from Erik over the years playing out, all the motivation from being part of such a great squad of people on the S&M crew, all of the support that has helped to make it what it is. It felt great to finish so far up wearing the Orange and Blue. Erik came in behind me in 16th despite his lingering broken ribs, and the one-and-only Sean Babcock pulled off an impressive 19th. Pretty damn good for a guy in his "off season".
Since Nationals, everything has felt in a slightly new realm. I have that feeling of satisfaction but without the complacency that often comes with the notion of "I made it". Finishing 7th at Nationals, and subsequently being selected to the National Team for World Championships, has kicked me into a new gear. If anything, setting my sites higher from this point is more humbling than anything. I have nowhere NEAR "made it." I've just been kick-started into a new phase. I'll try to be better about posting the events of the next few weeks. I'm heading out to New York on the 25th for World Cup Finals in Windham, NY, and after that, up to Mt. St. Anne for Worlds. I'll be sure to put in a good one for all of us full-time jobbers and privateer bike racers.
In other news, this last weekend the Paxson family did an amazing ride in the Gorge with my family. It was a monster 100 miles and 10,000' of climbing as part of a Northwest Sarcoma Foundation fundraiser. My mom, a sarcoma survivor, did the whole thing in amazing form, and I'll never forget cresting the top of 7-mile hill with her next to me at the 85-mile mark. My dad Fred, sister Emily, and brother Michael also did the big ride. Thank you to everyone who donated to the cause.