Sunday, July 20, 2014

The 2014 C*R*U*S*H, and it was

Start line pleasantries.
It was all going so well, until it wasn't. Having just moved to Utah, Josh figured the one of a kind dirt + road race The Crusher in the Tushar was the perfect mid-summer test piece to fly the Evol colors. What makes the Crusher unique is the ability to choice your own weapon. Riders can use road bikes, cyclocross bikes or mountain bikes, but as racer organizer and former pro roadie Burke Swindlehurst says, "you can choose your own bike, but at some point, your guaranteed to be wrong." This speaks to the variety of the terrain covered the the challenging course conditions: 15 miles of road climbing to start followed with 10 miles of packed dirt to the first summit, are followed by a screaming 6-8 miles descent down nearly 5,000 feet of loose, chunky and dusty gravel roads. Then your only halfway! More pavement, then sand! if its been too dry and more gravel climbing and descending before you finally make it to the Eagle Point ski area, with a painfully steep, straight and paved ascent to finish things off at over 10,000 feet.

With a solid showing of cyclocrossers from across the country, along with some top tier road and mountain bikers, the race started well for Josh as the pack made its way quite socially to the first climb at mile 11. Then the fireworks kicked off and a lead group of 6 emerged with Levi Leipheimer (last year's winner), Tyler Wren (multiple year winner) and Jamie Driscoll pushing the pace. Josh dug in and found the wheels of Colorado crosser's Jake Wells and Greg Krause for the first few hairpin turns and then settled into a nice rhythm just off the back of the lead group, taking on the traditional dangling off the back of the front duties. 

By the first summit, some 27 miles (of 70) and 5,000 feet later, he was feeling strong and ready to make up some time on the descent and potentially latch on to the lead group of ~10 before the long slog of pavement hit. "I was really feeling great, climbing well in my limits and ready for what was to come. I'd just finished a bottle and grabbed an extra at the second aid station, downed my favorite nut-free sunflower Breeze Bar and was flying down the gravel at 35+ mph. Then pop, bam, boom, my day was over. I guess I gambled on choosing tubulars today, and sometimes when you go all in, you loose." 
The descent that ended his day early.
At 35mph when a tubular blows out, it can be quite a nasty thing. One the one hand, Josh was able to successfully slow down and steer the bike without crashing, a lucky feet given the 2-4 inch deep gravel road, on the other unfortunately, the speed and time it took to stop resulted in 3 cracks and dents in his carbon rim, effectively ending the day just as things were getting interesting.  

"I was really disappointed, no question about that, as this was my first big time race here in Utah and things were going so well. But I managed to ride really well (at least for the first 2 hours) and did't get hurt, and while carbon is pricey, its cheaper than a broken bone!" Fortunately, another rider, a local Bryson Perry who runs the Intermountain Cup Mountain Bike Series, also flatted just a few yards down the road from Josh and after commiserating together, road back up the course to the aid station and hitched a ride back to the finish area.  Grateful for a new friend and one with 4 wheels, Josh is currently licking his wounds and gearing up for a handful of cross-country mountain bike races to finish off the summer and get the engine ready for 'cross. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Swim. BIKE. Run. Rinse. EVOL. Repeat.

Vail Time Trial Start @ GoPro Games
We emphasized the “Bike” portion of multisport in this title because it’s clearly the best part of triathlon (but shhhh....we didn’t say that) It’s been a busy and big year for Aubrey. There has been a lot of travel, a lot of triathlons and a lot of progress. Crossing off earning her professional triathlon license in early April took a chunk of pressure off the season and left plenty of time for quality training. Since that Miami event, her pink and black EVOL kit have been logging some serious miles as biking, biking and more biking continue to be a primary focus in getting prepared to compete in this next chapter.

This summer there has been a few scattered cycling races, with Aubrey’s first being the Stazio crit here in Boulder early this spring. Initially thinking that this would be easier since there was no swim before, and no run afterwards.....was a serious mistake! “It was a short and serious race, with a short and serious racing is seriously painful!” Aubrey’s coach, Grant Holicky told her to get out and stay in the front, and she listened. After finishing the race, Aubrey spent the rest of the day researching her latest and greatest racing. 

In early June after a 3rd place finish at the Dallas Triathlon, Aubrey was back in CO to race the local Boulder Sunrise event where she finished 1st female.  From the reservoir Aubrey ventured directly to compete in the next days GoPro Mountain Games Time Trial event in Vail, Colorado. A race up Vail pass seemed like the perfect way to dive into the world of time trialing. Literally shrieking with excitement on the start ramp caused a bit of a scene, as anyone who knows Aubrey knows her laugh is anything but quiet or subtle. A stellar performance it was not, but a solid effort on a tired body paired with the majestic views of the descent were enough to warrant some serious satisfaction.  

So what’s next for Aubrey? “Well, I’ve really been wanting to ride Mt Evans ever since I moved out to Colorado two years ago so I finally went ahead and registered for the Hill Climb event on July 26th. I love the mountains and don’t get out on them enough during tri season. It’ll be a nicely timed long hard effort on the bike with Nationals being two weeks later in Milwaukee. Life is good.”
1st Place at the Boulder Peak Triathlon Elite Division

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Back in Action

After nearly a full month off the bike to take care of just a few minor life events (wedding, honeymoon, buying a house and a move to Salt Lake City, UT), Josh is finally getting back into the flow and onto the trails. Following a triumphant sprint finish along the dirt roads outside of Boulder to take the 2nd annual Butter GOLD 100 mile ride, Josh packed his bags for a four week tour de force along the East Coast, culminating with his marriage and honeymoon, enjoying five, all to short days in the Caribbean. 

With his house packed, he and his new wife, Lauren, moved their life into a new home in Salt Lake City, UT, where he'll be based for the next four years as she completed a residency program at the "U" as they say there. And within minutes of unpacking nearly all of the moving boxes from the moving truck, he jumped on the bike and got a nice lay of the land and one of the local climbs. "SLC offers a lot of what Boulder does, with just a tad more of an urban experience and definitely less of a 'bubble' feel. Its been fun to explore a new area and the access to the Wasatch mountains is truly incredible. Outside of the quiet flat farm roads around Boulder, I'd say the riding is nearly as good and the mountain biking from the house and just up the road in Park City is outstanding." Needless to say he's making a mighty fine adjustment and has been enjoying the trails and climbs out of SLC, but is also looking forward to a few return visits to Colorado this summer and in the fall for the 'cross season.
After a few weeks of getting some miles in, Josh jumped into his first official XC race of season at the Intermountain Cup's Deer Valley race. "The fields were a bit smaller than what we see in Colorado, but the level of the riders that are here, is pretty solid. Definitely plenty of fast guys to make things fun and competitive. Its been great to experience a new race scene, with people, teams, sponsors and of events and courses. The trails at Deer Valley are fantastic, super tight singletrack and mach speed."
Pleased with a 10th place, and 3rd in the local mid-week race series in Park City, he's now in the days of preparation of the big one of two for his mountain season, the now infamous Crusher in the Tushar race in Beaver, UT. The Crusher has quickly developed a reputation as one of the hardest one day races in the US and attracts a top field of some of the best road, mountain and cyclocross racers in the country. With a ~50/50 mix of road, gravel and dirt climbs and descents totaling 70 miles and 10,000 ft of climbing, its will be a solid test of fitness, both mental and physical. "Having done the Growler a few times now and a few other endurance dirt races, I've got the sufferthing pretty dialed, so am ready for a new challenge and the Crusher looks like a perfect event."