NORBA National Series #5, Brian Head
Day two at Brian Head opened up with awesome weather, not a chance of rain and mild temps. Despite the temps below 70 degrees F, the altitude made the sun feel like it was frying you even if you were only out in it for a while.
The one big loop made logistics difficult: Two feed/tech zone that were a ways apart. The feeders for the first zone had to leave before the race started and after I finished up on the start line, I had to quickly close up the trailer and head to the second zone. The second zone was a few miles up a tight single lane dirt road that had been recently washed out. I was the last of the pro mechanics to get there and when I walked up with all my supplies the other mechanics were talking about how one of our riders (Sara) had crashed badly and had to be hauled out on a four-wheeler. Not good news. I fed our two pros and was surprised to see Melanie Meyers crushing it with a top 15 placing through the second feed zone. I almost missed her feed because I did not have any bottles out for her, as I didn't expect her that early. Awesome ride for her, she has been struggling since her MCL tear at Sea Otter and it was great to see her ride well.
After the feeds, I got back in the truck and headed down to the start/finish to see what the word was with Sara and what the finishing placings were. I gave TJ Grove a ride down to the start/finish area as he had to stay a little longer in the feed to get all of his riders through. TJ is her working for the U-23 national team guys. TJ is one of the most experienced mechanics out there and a super nice guy. We talked about Worlds in NZ as TJ is going to be one of the USA team mechanics. The American team will be very fortunate to have TJ turning the wrench for them.
Back at the trailer, I found that Sara got banged up pretty badly; she had to go for x-rays. This is really unfortunate as she was heading for a top-ten placing. She is amazing, she lives in Boston (a city with zero degrees of elevation), yet her best placings are at the highest altitude venues. She proves that it can be done, even if today was not her day.
These are a couple of things that have been on my mind lately:
1. Nitrile gloves
I got some of these earlier this year for brake bleeds, as we are on Avids, which use DOT fluid that stings the skin. They offer better protection for my hands. I now use them all the time for washing bikes, lubing chains, repacking bearings, etc. They are really durable and still give me good dexterity, all while keeping my hands from getting dirty and dried out. I highly recommend them for dirty bike work, as a step up from latex gloves. Check the fit though, as they as not a stretchy as latex gloves.
I went around the pits at Brian Head and shot pics of a bunch of different mechanic's toolboxes. Surprising as we all assemble the essential tools separately, yet the kits look much alike. Well, except for Mark Mattson's (Kona) but he has always been a little different. :
Day four and the STXC
A fast a brutal course with lots of asphalt and then some very slow up and down dirt sections. Our battle-weary crew went to the task in a tough race. Luna had four girls in the front group, but Sue Haywood (Trek/VW) stole the show in the end, congrats to her! The men's race was a little crazy at the start as they offered two $50 primes for the first two laps. This made it even more insane from the beginning.
The races over, we packed quickly and headed for home. A forest/grass fire on the highway home created a 100-mile detour that got me home even later than planned. Little rest, for on Monday morning we started the Tour of Utah and it was time to get back in the team car.
Tour of Utah: A new race on the calendar, close to home for me and I will be pulling team director duties in the car for a local composite team. The team is sponsored by a local radio station, 101.9 The End, and contains the best local Utah riders (http://tourofutah.com/teams.html)
I will have more from the road tomorrow. Thanks.