Stage 7 Summer Camp
The start of stage seven felt like the last day of summer camp. After a week of riding with new and old friends, we didn’t want the fun to end — but the reality was that our bodies didn’t really want the fun to last any more than it had to. As we lined up at the start, Dax asked “what are we doing?” and I replied, “lets get it done quick”. To parade the day would have been a let down — the competition this week was great and there would be plenty of time to reminisce with beers in our hands later in the day.
I led into the single track, setting an up-tempo but not crazy pace. Once we were out onto the double track and fire road leading into the enduro stage for the day there was a general regrouping — with many of the players that we’d seen on the trail all week. Into the enduro, Dax followed Jon and Drew and I started dangling a bit off the back by 20 meters. I’d ridden this trail before, and I knew that it was better to have a clean sight line than a wheel to follow. That discretion paid off when Dax flatted about half way down. Knowing that his technical riding was holding strong all week, I kept the pace up and climbed out of Po Valley at a pace that I’d hoped would keep him out of sight. It turns out that he did manage to get just barely in sight of me about 4 miles from the finish, only to be hit with another flat. So I got he honor of claiming the last stage in the yellow jersey.
I had an ulterior motive for keeping the pace high — I’d promised to be home by 1PM to see Nita off to her new job at Stanford University. Mountain biking is a team sport — and my week was heavily supported by Justin at FreezeThaw, John at Hubcap Cycles, all the boys at Stan’s, my training partner Sophie, and most importantly, the woman who puts up with my antics and pushes me to ride faster. Despite the stress of packing up for a year’s appointment in California this week, Nita kept her support and energy high and pushed me all week to keep riding. Without her support I never would have been able to keep the pedals turning — so today’s win was definitely a team effort. I’m just hoping I can get her to come back in 51 weeks for the next one!