As per Twitter I’ve logged last week as 43228. The code can be broken down as follows: 4 races in 3 countries on 2 continents in 2 disciplines over 8 days.
It started saturday August 27th in Oberwiesenthal, Germany with my first Summer Grand Prix Nordic Combined event in a couple years. A normal gundersen competition with one jump on the k-90 followed by a 10km pursuit. I finished a lackluster 30th after blowing up mid-race trying to keep up with Taylor Fletcher but the day was highlighted by older brother Bryan’s 8th place and near podium. Also we had a youngster Eric Lynch a second generation Nordic Combined talent ski in his first A level competition in which he really held his own with a solid performance.
Day 2 was Sunday another competition in the same venue but instead of a pursuit race we did the first ever Nordic Combined “Penalty” race. in this format the winner of the jumping got a 10 sec head start on the field and the other 70 of us mass started for 6 laps around the 1.75km cobble stoned hilly nightmare around downtown. The kicker is that depending on how you jumped you had to do a certain number of Penalty laps during the race as such: jump 101 or farther: 0 penalties
jump 96-101: 1 penalty
jump 91-96: 2 penalty
and so on up to 6 laps! Oh, and if you fail to have a telemark landing add one penalty or worse crash, add 3!
The penalty was a lap around the inside of an outdoor hocket rink off to the side of the course just past the cobbled section and you could choose when to do your laps 1 at a time or all at once on any lap.
I wanted to hate this race when I heard about it but honestly it was pretty interesting and the tactic of when to take the penalties added alot to the race. I had 1 penalty and I chose the 3rd lap to do it, I went from leading to 5th about 25 sec back. After a couple more guys took their penalties I was in 3rd and there I stayed danging 25-30 sec behind the leading duo and pulling away from the field slowly. Ultimately I finished on the podium my first since 2010.
It was off to Czech Republic from there to play 18 holes of golf (walking with my clubs on my back) in a little NC get together on monday followed by another competition in Liberec on Wednesday where I skied a strong race but finished in 24th. All in all it was some solid contact with the other teams and decent results in a very strong field. After the race I beat for the Prague Airport to try and make it home in time for race #4.
Thursdays travel was long but I made it home by mid-afternoon after catching the Paris-Salt Lake direct. And Friday I was back on my bike for the 2nd time since Leadville to preride the opening 10 miles of Park City’s infamous Point 2 Point race. Brutal! Those opening 10 were mostly hard single track and I hoped that later in the race it might ease up….
Saturday morning I walked outside at 5:45am after a mostly sleepless night (indigestion, baby up, etc…) to find that my windshield was iced over and it was pitch dark. I rallied with my buddy Bryson Perry to get everything ready and out the door to get to the start line. We were lucky that we could park at the US Ski Team training center by the start because most of the field had to ride out in the dark from town! And seeing as it was 36 degrees at 6:30am it was not that nice to be sitting around in spandex. We lined up at 6:55 and race director Jay Burke informed us that the race would commence after 100m of neutral around a gate. With that said it was on and though I tried to move up the strong group of frontrunners quickly had the race going full gas onto the single mile of 2-track. After hitting the single track of rusty shovel in about 30th I knew my chances of winning were about done which I quickly became pretty happy about.
PCP2P, if you haven’t heard of it, is about as pure a mountain bike race as you’d (n)ever want to do. Among it’s 78 or so miles is about 76 miles of singletrack and 14,000 ft of climbing (and gnar-kill descending). It will beat you up, make you cry, and when it turns uphill once more 3 miles from the finish line will make you murderously unhappy at the volunteers pointing you up and away from the finish line.
It requires the utmost fitness and focus and ton of food and drink. Without getting overly detailed into my own personal religious experience I’ll tell you this: I consumed a camelback of water, 4 bottle of sports drink, 4 bottles of water, 2 cokes, 3 probars, a sandwich, a HoneyStinger Waffle, multiple handfuls of Stinger chews, 20+salt pills and a 7-11 Hotdog with ketchup. All of which and especially the hot dog I aquired from my good friend Jeremy Teela, who I anxiously await feeding in next years PCP2P. I rode for 8 hours and 17 minutes rarely stopping except to eat/drink and stave off cramps. And I felt GOOD most of the time! Good being a relative term, but since I did not chase down the likes of Alex Grant and Tinker Juarez I settled into my own pace thereby eliminating a lot of pain. In short I thought people were crazy when they called the Leadville 100 a “road race,” but now I’m definetly gonna say “Leadville is a (really hard) total road race!”
Needless to say I took 3 days completely off and just now am considering getting off the couch to try and start putting the pieces back together for next winter!