May 12, 2007
The past month has been quite kind to me as I surfed some early season form. I started it off with a perfect NORBA, then a big Sea Otter win, followed by my best European World Cup, and then somehow, and I don't know how, I found a way to win the last couple of NORBA races.
It all started off at NORBA #1 in Fountain Hills, AZ and it was just about as smooth an operation as I could hope for. I was in and out for two days of perfect weather, two wins, and an attempt to bring back the early 90s with team-only Orange Maxxis tires. A classic moment from the weekend was teammate Toulouse getting told by 90s legend Tomac that he was "soft" for not doing Super D. I hope the kids these days still know who Tomac is.
Next up was the epic week known to some as the Sea Donkey in Monterey California. Orange wasn't cool enough so we decided to bring back "Day-Glo" Pink at Sea Otter. Thanks to some great sponsors we had pink grips, pink headsets, pink cables, pink saddles, pink computers, pink glasses, and pink decals. I think I won the contest because my bombshell wife and in-laws are all named Pink as well.
Actually, it wasn't really a contest, it is a team initiative this year called Project Pink, founded to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer. Among other things, myself along with some of our sponsors, are making contributions every time I am on the podium. The pink parts seemed to work quite well anyway, and I managed to snag the TT and a pretty exciting sprint finish against big gunners Sauser and Peraud in the XC.
So things were going smoothly and it was time to do battle with my nemesis, the European World Cup. Thanks to my all-star mechanic Gary Wolff who flew over early with my bike, I was able to do an in-and-out operation with carry-on luggage only. I was a little out the back on the start grid due to my sub-par '06 campaign, but I set up my bike for climbing hills fast, as it was a crazy steep pavement climb off the start. I only managed to make it to 40th off the start, but was pleased because the legs had some power and I snuck up to 12th by the finish. I survived with my best race on the continent but I did catch a bit of the plague by the time I got home; it has continued to hound me with vicious night-time cough attacks until the last couple of days.
The plague I caught in Europe probably had something to do with my form tailing off but I had to try to make things happen as I had a couple of NORBA's to deal with back in California. I am not sure how I managed to pull off a couple of XC victories because in both races I just suffered like a one-legged wallaby. Especially this last weekend in Fontana, I was dropped on almost every climb. I kept my head down and clawed my way back over and over again. Like the weekend before I questioned whether I had enough gas to take a chance at victory, but somehow I ended up crossing the finish line first both times. I am not sure how I managed it, but regardless, I will take the wins and feel extremely lucky about it.
I am definitely pleased to have a couple of weekends off now; I need to regroup and get some good training in. I am going to have to pick it up a notch if I want a chance when I head back over to Germany at month's end for World Cup #2. If I do come around it should be much easier this time starting from spot number twelve.
Over and out,