The last couple of weekends the racing continued with the meat of the season and a couple of NORBA stops in Schweitzer Mt, Idaho and Snowmass, Colorado. Both should have been dry and dusty mountain races, but this year we weren't so lucky.
Sitting in the Team Maxxis condo in Idaho on Saturday morning, Toulouse and I watched the skies darken and the thermometer drop from 80 to 70, then 60 to 50F...then the skies started to open; a little bit of rain and then the hail started. Sheets and buckets of it poured down on the road and piled up on the roofs; enough to have some hail ball fights in the tech site. Luckily the course was fairly dry and sandy so most of it held together. Mr Craig fired it up once again from the start as I tried to hold on for the first of three laps. Liam came flying by after one lap followed by Trebon and Green (who both skipped the Angel Fire World Cup); felt like I got into a good rhythm on the last lap but only good enough to slip by Adam for fourth.
Short Track was a straight up hot dog loop which left it up to the riders to make it interesting. I stayed at the front whittling things down and tried to conserve for the final assault. It came down to three racers; JHK, Liam, and myself, going into the last lap. What should have been a really exciting finish got wrecked when down the back straight everyone made a bid for the win. It wasn't that exciting because we hit lapped traffic that hadn't been pulled and that put a big damper on things. I got forced into the fence and onto the binders and had to settle for third; JHK made it through for the win. I was pretty p***ed about the whole thing, but I will only be really p***ed if I lose the series by a slim margin.
Headed back to Albequerque for the week before driving up to Snowmass; felt pretty tired so I just sat around most of the time waiting for my legs to come around. By the time I arrived in Snowmass and checked out the course on Friday the legs finally were feeling good again; and I was going to need them as the Snowmass course has some of the most heinous climbing, all starting at 8600ft. The day before I left I also received a special package from Sugoi; a very subtle but cool new custom kit I dubbed "Louis Kbomb". Last time I got a special kit I doubled up at NORBA finals in Maxxis Camo...so onto the racing.
As we rolled out in the XC for the first of three laps Sid threw in a suicide attack as the rest of the group tried to settle in for the long haul. He didn't last long, and Adam once again took up the pace, followed by Kashi Leuchs who was back to contest another NORBA after his win in Utah. Kashi ended up having to stop in the pits for a flat; Adam ended up having to stop for contacts - that's right, a contact lens switch - and that left Liam driving the front of the race followed by Trebon and myself. I paced myself onto Liam's wheel on the last climb and as he started to fade a little I saw Kashi storming back from his flat; I figured I better give 'er everything I had, and made it over the top of the climb home free with 40 seconds or so. I used my dualie to stretch it out on the descent and squeaked into the finish just in time. It was just in time because the thundershowers and hail followed shortly and I would've been in the bushes on my slick tires. Luck was on my side as I watched the waterfalls and roof start leaking at post-race anti-doping.
STXC was later in the afternoon on Sunday, which allowed for the conditions to dry out just enough. I was determined not to have a repeat of the Idaho Short Track traffic jam. Wedgy started off the action with some inspired acclerations which quickly slimmed things down to four or five; Wells being one of them who followed up with a series of attacks himself. I had a near ball-sacking crash when part of the rockpile overturned and I unclipped violently; I managed to recover quickly and counter-attacked when Wells started coming back. My gap was five seconds, eight seconds, ten seconds, (or 25 seconds according to "Frenchie") and with two to go I knew I had it as long as I kept my lines clean. Toulouse came around on day two and I could see him making his way through the groups and actually gaining ground on me. Toulouse moved up to ninth and I held on for the nice win to double up and take both series leads.
It is a nice way to finish off as I head into a little break; my first trip up to Victoria since April; Mr Schum's wedding up in Courtenay; maybe a little wedding location scouting for Keri and I, and then back up, way up, to Brian Head for another NORBA.