June 1st Bump&Grind
On May 30th my Dad, Brent Hall and I headed to Birmingham, Alabama for one of the biggest
mountain bike races in the Southeast, Bump & Grind. This race is held in a beautiful state park, I think the name Mountain Lake State Park? The race consists of just a mear 2 laps. Two 17 mile laps, that's a 34 mile race with around half of it climbing. There wasn't a big turn out for the Expert 18 and under race just 3 riders. Everybody must have heard Brent and I were coming.......just kidding. Lucky for us Seth Kemp chose to race Expert 19-29. Anyway Brent and I battled it out for 34 miles trading the lead many times. Brent climbs better than me and I descend better than Brent. In the end it came down to a sprint finish and I was lucky enough to squeak out a victory over my teamy. Fun times on one of my favorite race courses in the country. It felt good to win a race after so long, I know racing with the older guys will payoff in the long run, but there is nothing better for your confidence than a win. Thanks to Ryan Woodall for letting us crash with him and Regan.
June 29th -July 4th USAC Mtb Camp
On June 28th Brent Hall and I headed out for North Carolina. This would start our month long journey that would not have us sleeping in our own beds until July 28th. Mountain bike camp is a week long of learning new techniques, skills and lots of riding, around 30 hours for the week.
I always enjoy this week, I've met some really good riders/friends here and we have a blast all week long. The coaches for the week are Andy Johnston and '07' National Dual Slalom Champ Chris Herndon. By the last race on Friday the 4th Brent and I were beat and ready for a little rest and relaxation before heading to New York and Vermont.
July 5th - July 7th
Brent and Jamie's Summer Exploits headed to Maggie Valley, N.C. for a little R&R. We stayed at my GranniDi's cabin while we waited on my Dad to arrive Monday with the trailer and all the bikes for N.Y. and Vermont. We visited the motorcycle museum Wheels thru Time a must for any motorcycle enthusiast if your in the area. We road to the Chattalahochi Ski resort on our bikes, this included some grades of 14%, brutal on the ascent and 50 mph desents fun stuff.
We made a mini downhill course near the cabin and we played mini golf when the sun went down. It must be noted that Brent and I have developed and intense rivalry in mini golf. We are forever looking for a place to play. Okay we didn't do a lot of resting but we did a lot of relaxing.
July 8th - July 20th
At around 7:30 am on Tuesday Brent and Jamie's Summer Exploits headed for Vermont. For this leg of the journey we were joined by my Grandma, known to everyone as GranniDi, Dad and
Mikey V. We got to the house in Vermont at around 2 am Wednesday. After sleeping in we went shopping for groceries and other necessities for the next 10 or so days. Thursday we slept in again, ate a good breakfast and headed out for a little recon on the Nationals race course. After a couple of hours riding we headed home to chill and eat some of Mikey V's great cooking. Not only does Mike take great pictures, he cooks some great food. Friday didn't start out so good, I woke up sick throwing up, this lasted until around 1030 when we headed to Windham, N.Y. for the East Coast National.
The East Coast National was held at Windham Ski resort, it is the first race the resort has held and I must say they did an outstanding job. I planned to race Downhill, Dual Slalom, Super D and Short Track. I needed to do well in order to qualify for Nationals in DH and DS. I felt a little better after we got to the resort and registered for the races. Dad and I headed up to the top of the mountain for a downhill run. Things went well so we jumped back on the lift and headed up for another run. I met up with my friend Ethan Quells after our 2nd run and he and I headed up for a run on the Expert course. That course was crazy technical, I'm glad I didn't have to race that course I'm still a Sport rider in gravity events. Beginner and Sport rider race on a different course than the Pros and Experts. After everybody finished riding there respective courses we headed to the Farm House, an old farm house that had been divided in to apartments. We had 2 rented for the weekend, Coach Drew and Martin Cox found the place and it worked out well.
Saturday morning all the guys racing XC had an early wake up they raced at 8am. Dad and I raced at 10:30, we did a couple of practice runs before the race. I felt a little better today still not good though, thank goodness I was doing shorter races this weekend.
In Downhill you get one run down the mountain so you better make it count, and I did. I had the fastest time of all the Sport riders, therefore winning my first downhill race. Next up was Dual Slalom a head to head race against another competitor. There are 2 courses, red and blue, each rider does a race on each course, the one with the fastest combined time wins and moves to the next round. I qualified as the fastest rider. I had a first round bye so I rested the first run then rode the second run just to keep in the groove for my first head to head race in the second round. Things were pretty uneventful until the last round when I missed a gate in the first run, that gave my opponent a 1.4 second lead going into the last run. I had to beat him by 1.5 seconds in order to win the overall, a tall order in a race that last all of 30 seconds. The final run went perfectly and I managed to eek out a victory by the slimmest of margins. A great day two events two gold medals.
Sunday started out terribly we got to the course late. I forgot my shoes had broken and I needed to put cleats on the new ones, so my warm up for the Short Track race consisted of the ride to the start line. Needless to say five minutes isn't enough time to warm up for a JrX National Short Track race and it showed, that and the fact that I couldn't eat more than about a cup of food at a sitting. I felt terrible and finished well back. Hopefully things would be better in Super D in the afternoon. Things started out great I was in 2nd or 3rd place and then psssssst I flatted my front tire. At least I didn't crash, not to bad of a weekend 4 races, 2 wins. Back to Vermont for Nationals. Congrats go to my good friend and BCC teammate Regan Woodall for his win in the Expert 19-24 XC race. To my travel compadre, welcome to the speed of Jr National riders.
July 14th - July 20th USAC Mtb Nationals, Mount Snow, VT
Back in Vermont we slept in again, Coach Drew and Martin joined us in the house for the rst of the week. We also had a guest for Sunday night Tad Elliott. Tad is a member of the US National U23 team. So, late Monday afternoon we all headed out for a very slow lap at Mount Snow. Tad headed to his place of residence for the week Monday night, he is a super nice guy and I hope to get to ride with him again. Thursday the U23 race opened the racing for Nationals and wouldn't you know my new friend Tad Elliott won the National title.
My racing got under way on Friday morning with the Jr Expert 17-18 XC race. I don't want to make excusses for a poor race but I still wasn't able to eat a good sized meal. I felt week and
sluggish. I was out of the race early but, not being one to quit I kept peddling until they told me I was done. I was the last rider still riding finishing 23rd a lap down, not what I had planned.
Later in the afternoon I had Dual Slalom qualifing and then finals. Things went much better in DS, I qualified as the 2nd seed. That meant I would race the #9 seed in round one. I won all my races until it was me and the #1 seed in the finals. In the first race of the final I made a little mistake in the first turn and that was enough to let my opponent win by .17 of a second. In the second race I road an excellent race hitting all my lines and won by .04 seconds, not enough to make-up the time gap. Oh well what can you do 2nd place at National in only my second DS race.
Saturday I only had one race concentrate on Sport 15-18 Downhill. I got to the course early enough to make a few practice runs I was ready to go. During my race run I felt pretty good. I think I made a little mistake in a technical section nothing to bad but apperently enough. I finished .76 of a second behind first place. Dang I misse dtwo titles by less than a second combined.
Sunday would bring and end to Nationals with the Jr Expert Short Track race. But, first we had to race Super D. I like SD it's a combination of XC and DH it give the gravity guys and the endurance guys a chance to mix it up. I had an okay race but, not great and finished 11th.
That left only STXC. I really like short track it's like racing a crit on the dirt and I like crit racing. Unfortunately, I wasn't a factor in the race. I don't think anybody else raced all 5 disiplines at National it was fun but, very tiring. I would like to thank all my sponsors for their support: Bent's Cycling and Fitness my first sponsor, Hayes Bicycle Group my first national sponsor, EndurenceFactor.com and Coach Drew Edsall, and last but not least Giant Bicycles.
All in all it was a good Nationals, I would have liked to have finished better in the endurance races. I'll just have to buckle down and train harder.
The racing ain't over yet Fontana Dam Jam is next. Story on that to come.