Two weeks ago I crammed four months worth of bikes and equipment into the back of my Subaru Legacy and my little brother, Boden, and I headed north for Sun Valley, ID. We drove that first day for about 10 hours and spent the night camped on the side of the road just south of Salt Lake City.
The next day we finished the drive and checked into our rented townhouse in Hailey, ID (VRBO #329947 in case you want a nice place in Hailey). The next couple of days were a blur. Bo raced on Friday and finished 16th out of 50 or so 13-14 year-olds despite making faces at me every time he passed. Then I raced the Pro cross country on Saturday and finished 11th. This was by far my best finish as a Pro at National Championships but I was bummed that I just missed the top-10.
Sunday morning Bo and I both raced the Super D and in true Macky form, my dropper seatpost stopped working an hour before the race. Fortunately, I had a spare but the half hour it took to swap posts cut into my warm-up so at 9:01:30 (my official start time) I had gotten less than 10 minutes of warm-up. As the number-one ranked Super D rider in the US (according to USA Cycling) I got to start second, 30 seconds behind Adam Craig, last year's Super D National Champion. This was great because I didn't have to pass other riders or deal with dust like I did last year.
I chose to ride my Orbea Occam (my cross country race bike) because of the initial 4-minute climb but changed to WTB Wolverine tires and a dropper post and it handled the course spectacularly. My run went pretty well but I made some mistakes that lost me time and I came through the finish 13 seconds slower than Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant). The next 45 minutes were torture as I waited for the rest of the Pro men to finish but only Carl Decker (Giant) beat my time and I finished 3rd overall.
That afternoon after a couple bottles of Hammer Recoverite, some food and a nap in the grass, I raced the Pro Short Track. I finished 13th, a couple spots short of the top-10 I'd hoped for, but I did gap the flyover every lap so it wasn't a complete waste.
Bo and I then headed to Missoula for the stop on the USA Cycling Pro XCT calendar. On the way we visited a friend of mine in Sunbeam, ID (population 12 in the summer, 0 in the winter) and drove through the Sawtooth mountains of northern Idaho. I have to say, that is one of the most beautiful drives I've ever done.
In Missoula we were hosted by Zoe and Ali, two U of Montana students, and spent the week riding the course and staying up late playing board games. On Wednesday we raced the local Beer League race on the same course as the Pro XCT and even though I'd never ridden the course I hit the A-line drop all three laps to finish second behind Colin Cares. What a great course: short, steep climbs, curvy, fast descents, a good drop and all of it crammed together so the spectators could spectate multiple spots simultaneously.
Then I tweaked my knee, the day before the Pro XCT no less. I still don't know exactly what happened but I think I sat on it weirdly and the underside of my patella got inflamed. Of course I thought I could still race, but after one lap I had to stop because it was too painful. I was bummed but stayed at the venue and cheered the rest of the racers and got to watch Jack Haig, my Australian housemate for the week, finish on the podium.
Now, after spending Sunday recovering by tubing the Clark Fork River, eating a Big Dipper Super Nova (read: lots of ice cream) and playing multiple games of Settlers of Catan, I'm on my way to Wyoming for a family reunion. Next up is the Big Mountain Enduro in Steamboat Springs, followed by the Colorado Freeride Festival, Downieville, Breck Epic and in late September, Single Speed World Championships in South Africa. Life, is good!