July? I think I blinked and missed the last three months.
It's been a crazy couple of months and I have been in the "go" mode, always looking forward with little time to sit down and reflect. Cannondale Factory Racing has had some big events, Gear Rush has been cranking along, and Sammi and I bought a house together. I had always been curious about the process buying a home, and after experiencing it; I can confirm that it is a crazy hassle and a time suck, but totally worth it. It's been nice to move on from the 900 square feet we were in at Sammi's old house. And that's with no garage - let's just say there were always bikes, skis, etc. in various rooms of the house at any one time.
It's times like these that I remember how much I love to ride. On those weeks when you feel like you are running all day every day, it's those times you can sneak away and pedal for a few minutes that really set you straight. At least for me that's how it works. Likewise with the races - it's a lot of hard work and suffering but during the race you are totally encompassed by the circumstances around you and 100 percent focused on the race itself. Everyone has his or her own way to unwind, mine is my bike.
As for the racing itself, I have been lucky enough to sample all kinds of mountain bike events over the past few months: from the big spring endurance races like the Whiskey 50 and Gunnison Growler to the highest level of cross country at the Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham World Cups. Not surprisingly my results reflect better performances at the endurance races as those better suit my strengths as a rider, but the short course cross country format sure is fun. I enjoyed the technical courses and tight racing, even well back in the field. I just love racing my bike, regardless of length, terrain, altitude, etc, and am thankful for every opportunity to line up.
I was stoked to take the win at The Original Growler in Gunnison, Colorado, and make the podium with fourth at the Whiskey 50 and fifth at the Teva Games cross country in Vail, Colorado. Keep your eyes on all three of those events; they impressed me with their organization, attendance, and community support.
My goals were a lot different going in to the World Cups as the trip was just as much about supporting the team as racing myself. All in all the races were big successes, capped off in Windham with Keegan Swenson's second place in the junior cross country and Marco Aurelio Fontana's third place in the elite race! As for my personal goal, I accomplished it in Windham by finishing on the lead lap despite some early mechanicals and a crash.
From Windham, the CFR US contingent traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho. for the US National Championships. I was fortunate enough to pick up a nasty sore throat/head cold on the flight home from New York so I had to lower my expectations. I was pretty bummed at first because the Sun Valley course suits me well, but I got over it and lined up anyway. I was glad I did because I was able to gut it out for an eighth place finish to match my placing from last year. It wasn't pretty and I felt like garbage but mind over matter can work to a certain extent it seems. Racing the cross country sick took a lot out of me but I was still able to muster an eighth place in the Super D. I rode my Scalpel 29 with a dropper post and it was perfect.
Next up I'll be hitting a new unique race called The Crusher in the Tushar put on by Utah local Burke Swindlehurst. It's a mix of dirt and paved roads and involves some serious climbing and a debate about the best bike for the race. We'll see how the Flash 29 treats me! More on that next month.
Thanks for reading.
Alex Grant, 31, is one of America's top endurance mountain bike racers. Sponsored by Cannondale Factory Racing in 2012, Grant juggles racing as a pro with managing an outdoor gear consignment business called Gear Rush, which he co-owns with fellow Utah cyclist and racer Bart Gillepsie. This season, look out for Grant on the podiums at major endurance and stage races. For variety, you may also see him on on the start line of some super Ds, cross countries and short tracks.
In 2011, Grant finished third at the Leadville 100 and eighth at the US cross country national championships while also logging top 10s at the super D and marathon nationals. He finished fifth in the Downieville Classic All Mountain Overall and seventh at La Ruta de los Conquistadores. For the third year in a row, he won the Park City Point 2 Point.
In 2010, Grant made headlines with his second place finish at La Ruta de los Conquistadores, the Breck Epic and the Trans-Sylvania Epic.
When not on his mountain bike, Grant enjoys backcountry skiing, snowboarding and hiking.
Grant is from Richmond, Vermont, and he presently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Follow his 2012 season in this blog on Cyclingnews.
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