Well that’s a wrap on another full season of mountain bike madness. Iceman went off without a hitch. It’s funny that I placed 17th… exactly the same placing as last year. I thought my prep this year was a whole lot better not having to deal with a broken neck, but I believe the 2012 Iceman was the most competitive yet. The start went off fast as usual. I stayed right on the front and tried as hard as I could not to get bumped backwards. You have to be super aggressive on the start before it bottlenecks into the woods. Sure enough, the left side surged and I was instantly buried 50 deep. I can never seem to nail these chaotic mass starts, but at least I survived.
Once into the woods, I went to work getting around people and working my way up through the chaos of flinging sand and swervey lines. Before we hit Tornado alley, I was in the top 7. The pace seemed to surge just after and that’s where I blew up and tailed off the back. It was the opportunity I wanted and I was so close to sticking in there with the front group. Just a little more power and I would have made it. I know I can do better.
I settled into the 2nd group and tried to stay near the front as much as possible. I tried to get off the front a couple times, but the pack was right on me. Not much happened till we made the surge for the shoot. Tristan Schouten and Colin Cares got around me, along with a few others. It was all I had in the shoot to finish 17th. Not too bad. No crashes, no mechanicals, and no wrong turns. Not all that satisfying, but given the competition, it was what I had on the day.
It was a hard year overall. Lots of big road trips and a total of eight 100 mile MTB races which netted me 10th in the NUE series. I was the first to finish 4 races and I actually lead the series for a couple months. I’m surprised I had the motivation to make a push for Iceman. Training for a season of 100 milers, then trying to flip the switch and go fast is a huge challenge. It takes some time for the body to get used to going all out. It was a successful season though. I won a road bike race, a mountain bike race, and a cross style gravel grinder. Good all around performance I thought. A lot of those races contained National caliber athletes and I was able to ride with the leaders and compete for podium spots at almost all of them.
Can I do better? Hell yes I can! As much as I love the 100 milers, I’m not exactly built for 100 mile long races with 12,000ft of climbing. So in light of that, I will be focusing less on the NUE series, and more on the gravel grinders and triple crown races. I might even try a few more road races since that style sort of fits right in. I think my true calling is more of a steady power rider, and it’s time to start focusing on a specific style that suits me and catering my race schedule to fit. I’ll still do Mohican and Lumberjack, but other than that, I think I’m done with the NUE’s. I work full time along with this circus of racing, and it’s too hard to try and focus on 2 or 3 styles of racing and expect to compete with the full time pro’s… especially when you’re not cut out for one of those styles ala NUE. Some of the courses are getting a little too on the hazardous side for my comfort level as well… call it what you want. I also thought that the 100 milers sort of wore on me as the season progressed. Each race I just felt slower, so I think cutting way back on them will definitely help develop more of that speed and power I need to hang with those front groups of pro’s at the big triple crown races.