Last weekend was Jackson Hole race. I love this race for many reasons. 1. It's out of town and means a road trip. 2 It's in a beautiful place, worth going to even if you aren't riding. 3. The course it technical and suits my riding style.
This year we were fortunte enough to be able to use Jesse's van and take a whole crew to the race. Chris,KC, Brad, Dave, Tim, Scott, and me. We drove up to Jackson Friday night and stayed at Hostel X right at Teton Village. It's cheap, but not cheap and there various reasons for this. It's the most afforadable solution that close to the mountain. We actually had more room in the van I think, but we were each able to find a spot to crash and got some sleep.
Race morning everyone got ready to go and we headed up for a warm up lap. The temps were decent and it was nice to be riding. My division had a decent group of 12 despite the fact that this race, due to proximity to the racer base, is kinda far away. Both Jan and Reed were here so I knew it was going to be challenging race regardless.
The start was another short road to single track at a grade that I can tolerate for spriting, so that's what I did, just like at Snowbird. I went off the front in hopes that I could control the pace on the single track, at least for a little while. I kept the pace as high as I could, while still trying to recover from my sprint. Reed was right behind me and got by in the first passing zone, which was expected. A few more riders got by on the steep climb before heading back into the forest. The key for me is to not panic, but ride within myself and try to keep everyone in sight.
The first lap went well and eventually there we were again, Jay, Reed and me all in a row. Stan was however not far behind in 4th and so there was no room to let off the gas. On the second lap we got together crossing the mountain to the lift and I knew I needed to get by and put a gap on the two leaders or they would likely out climb me on the final grueling rock hill. I went around and up the steep climb behind the lift and tried to maintain an aggressive pace. It seemed to work and I got a little time. I wanted to get to the downhill and not make mistakes so I could gain perhaps a little more. By the time I hit the rocky hill I didn't want to look back but just kept telling myself to attack the hill. I had Erika Powers just in front of me, but didn't have the legs to slip by her on the flat run in to the climb. I stayed right behind her and we both climbed a steady pace in our granny gear and cleaned the climb, riding by those who were walking their bikes up. From here I was pretty confident I'd make it in without trouble. It was a challenging race and I was a little amazed I actually as able to make a pass on Jay and Reed and the hold it. It was a great win.
Evanston is a longer course, and I'm sure the field will be bigger, it will be interesting to see if we can all stay together there as well. Either way it looks like we'll finish the overall in the order we seemed to be racing most of the year; Jay, Reed, Keith. It's been a great season of racing and fun to have such nice guys for competition.
After the race our crew road the course again after some lunch at the Merry Piglets. That hurt! But we were able to do it and got a tour of all the places KC crashed during the race. The next day we road Black Canyon, which was incredible. The Chris/KC/Tim/Brad decided to get lost on the Phillips trail and we finally got home around 10. A long weekend but a great trip with friends. I can't wait til next year.