My most recent races on the calendar were in Midway, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado. Since they were relatively close to home, it was a good opportunity to skip the hassle of flying and road trip to the races. I’m a big fan of road tripping and mapped out a good route to Utah that allowed me to see some new Colorado backroads and check out Dinosaur National Monument.
After a quick overnight stop in Dinosaur National Monument, it was off to Utah. It’s been awhile since I have been anywhere in Utah besides Moab. As I rolled into Heber City, I was surprised how beautiful the area was. The surrounding peaks were incredible. The course also did not disappoint. It had a mix of both natural and man-made technical features plenty of fun single-track and climbs that were a challenge, but not total buzz kills. I thought it was a pretty awesome course. The race there went well for me; I finished 2nd to Keegan. I haven’t had the best early season, so it was good to see some indications that my form was coming around.
I left Utah that night and picked up Sofia in Grand Junction. She had just finished racing Tour of California and flew in to hang out for the week. We camped for a few nights on BLM land around the Colorado National Monument. I had also never visited the Colorado National Monument. It’s a pretty spectacular place.
After our camping trip, we headed back into Grand Junction to settle in for the weekend of racing. I have never raced the Grand Junction Off-road (or ridden in GJ!) so I was excited to racing a new course. The course was a true mountain bikers course as it had plenty of technical single track that you needed to ride fast, smooth and efficiently.
Race day went well for me. At the Whiskey 50, I think I went a little too far in the red off the line. For GJ, my plan was to start conservatively but still hard enough to be able to go into the long descent, Butterknife, in good positon. Howard took off early and quickly got over a minute on the group. Despite the start not feeling terribly hard, the group whittled down quick to about 6 or 7 guys. I went into the singletrack descent behind Kabush and we were able to bring Howie back by the bottom. It was a short-lived glimpse of him, as he attacked less than 5 minutes later and checked out for good. Kabush and I chased hard the remainder of the course, knowing that the race isn’t over until you cross the line. I ended up 3rd on the day which I was happy with.
Howie, Sofia and I caravanned to the Black Canyon through some quiet Colorado farm roads and ate dinner perched on the edge of the canyon. That night we camped on some BLM land just outside the park and fell asleep to the sound of rain on the roofs of our cars. It was a great way to end the day, and a great way to conclude a road trip to the races.