September comes around and the off season begins. By the end of a long and tiring summer filled with racing, I am ready for some downtime and a break from racing. But by the time December rolls around, I am fired up to get back into a training routine and start racing. This year I headed south to Tucson to ensure I was able to get consistent time in the saddle and train in a warmer climate compared to Colorado in order prepare for the first California races. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Tucson over the years but have always stayed on the east side of town. This year I have been living with the Well’s on the west side. It’s been nice exploring new roads and trails. Each side has it’s perks and I’m still undecided which one I prefer. Todd’s house is much closer to the most amazing Mexican restaurant ever, Seis, as well as the Mexican Bakery (.55 cent donuts!) so that may give the west side the win.

Crested Saguaro! It is believed to be a rare genetic mutation that causes this to happen. Brian Matter has found almost 30. I've seen 2.

Crested Saguaro! It is believed to be a rare genetic mutation that causes this to happen. Brian Matter has found almost 30. I've seen 2.

                                                                          Desert singletrack! 

                                                                          Desert singletrack! 

                            Everything is out to get you! Cactus, rocks, snakes. You name it!

                            Everything is out to get you! Cactus, rocks, snakes. You name it!

                                         The man, the myth, the legend.. Mr. Cooper Wells!

                                         The man, the myth, the legend.. Mr. Cooper Wells!

                                             Desert sunsets are some of the best I've seen!

                                             Desert sunsets are some of the best I've seen!

anuary treated me really well! I got plenty of solid base rides in, and the first block of intervals was looking encouraging. When I looked back at a field test from 2013 in Tucson, I was doing my 3 x 20 minute efforts this year at a higher power than my max 20 minute max effort then. It’s pretty neat to see how you progress over time. Unfortunately, just after finishing this block of intervals I caught a cold which would hang with me for the next 5 weeks. It took me down pretty hard at first but after a few days I was able to ease back into riding my bike. I was feeling better just in time for our team camp. I had an awesome time catching up with everyone and am looking forwarded to sharing some of the work we did there in the next couple weeks. Once I returned to Tucson, I was excited to get back to some steady training and the final prep for the first races. I wasn’t feeling like myself on the bike and just couldn’t kick the lingering cough so I headed to the doctor. Turns out I had picked up Bronchitis and was put on medication to help knock it out. I finished the 10 day cycle the Wednesday before Bonelli and after being on the fence about racing or not, I decided to head to California.

           A Le Buzz cookie.. the perfect reward for a hard, but successful day of intervals!

           A Le Buzz cookie.. the perfect reward for a hard, but successful day of intervals!

             The PG trail in Laguna Beach is not very fun on the hard tail. Lot's of gnarly stuff!

             The PG trail in Laguna Beach is not very fun on the hard tail. Lot's of gnarly stuff!

                                  A stormy sunset from the patio of our house at team camp

                                  A stormy sunset from the patio of our house at team camp

Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much out of myself after a lackluster February of training but decided to give it a go anyways. I felt I was on the rebound going into the race. I figured a race effort would be good for me. I was happily surprised with how I rode the first 2/3rds of the race, sitting in the top 20, but then I flatted with about 3/4ths of a lap to go. Going into the season, a top 10 was the goal out here so I'm hoping to find myself up there this weekend in Fontana. The way I look at it, I am getting all my bad luck out of the way early this season! Each day I am feeling more like myself on the bike, which is encouraging going into the next couple of races. After Fontana I am heading to Colombia for the Pan Am Championships, a good opportunity to score some UCI points. 

Back on the start line! Check out my hand painted lid from the guys at TLD. They did an amazing job with it!

Back on the start line! Check out my hand painted lid from the guys at TLD. They did an amazing job with it!

It is so awesome to have such high quality racing in the States now. Scott Tedro has done an amazing job creating a premier race series and it showed this weekend. If you didn’t catch the replay from Bonelli, head to uscup.net and check it out. This weekends race in Fontana will also be tape delayed and played a couple hours after. That means you can get in a few hours yourself, then catch the race while laying on the couch! 

Mid week intervals in Cucamonga Canyon. My bike takes me to some unique and beautiful spots!

Mid week intervals in Cucamonga Canyon. My bike takes me to some unique and beautiful spots!