Starting Row: 4th
Call Up: 30th
My best result of the season! This result also completes my final goal of the season of being in the top 20, albeit barely. The race is made all the better because I have been sick for the last two weeks and have only had a few rides leading up to this race. Additionally, during the second lap, I had a bit of a mental breakdown where I really wanted to quit. In order to push myself, I started breaking the course up into pieces in order to manage where my effort would be spent and was able to push on. I can only credit Matt Fitzgerald’s new book “How Bad Do You Want It” for these kinds of tools. Mental toughness is a weakness for me and this book has helped me steady myself during difficult moments.
Lastly, this was my first chance to really test the Crank Brother’s Candy pedals that I purchased a few weeks ago. Previously, I had been riding on Shimano XTs and struggled to clip in at several muddy races earlier in the season. The verdict: the Candy pedals are amazing. Today’s races was a complete mud batch and I NEVER had issues clipping in. These things clear mud like I never thought possible and I will not be switching again any time soon. My only complaint is that the pedals disengage a little too easily, but I’ve learned to work around this. Additionally, I read that if you flip the cleats around that you get an extra five degrees of float, which will help me disengage the pedals alter; this might be worth investigating in the future.
- Overall handling was good
- Made a strong comeback during the second lap
- Rain pants during the preview lap were a great idea
- New pedals have far superior mud clearance
- Fell apart during the beginning of the second lap
- Illness kept me from riding and I felt it in my form
- Poor clip in and sprint at the start
UPDATE (12/24/2015): I went to the doctor yesterday and it turns out that I have had pneumonia for the last three weeks. This would explain my lack of energy and the mental collapse I had during the second lap of the race. It really makes me wonder where I would have come in if I was totally healthy. Anyway, back to taking in some nice off season recovery!