With the possible exception of a few cyclocross races, the 2008 racing season is over. Time to take a look back.
The season began poorly with my big crash at Sea Otter, in which my new Specialized Tarmac SL received a fatal down-tube injury. I crashed again in my next race, but fortunately, the replacement frame survived. That pretty much quenched my thirst for mass-start races. The only exception I made was for the State Road Race Championships – an epic battle with the elements from which I emerged as a very wet state champion, thanks in large part to my teammates’ help.
After the RR championships, I focused on my main goal for the season- the Masters National Time Trial Championships. Thankfully, that went well. I ended up taking bronze and setting a personal best. My teammate, Scott Latell, came up from his home (and a very busy work schedule) in North Carolina to keep me company and serve as my soigneur deluxe. It was great hanging out with Scott and not having to worry about anything but turning the pedals. Plus, there’s no better post-time-trial drinking buddy than Scott.
After Nats, I came back out for a few Superweek crits. Those went reasonably well. Most notably, I didn’t hurt myself or break anything.
The next highlight of the season was the Door County Century, which I did with my wife, Kelley. It was her first 100-mile ride, and she did awesome – that is, she did awesome after I diagnosed a rubbing brakepad 15 miles into the ride. The rub was my fault, but she was so relieved not to be dying that she forgave me almost immediately. In fact, she even had the energy and nerve to punk me in a sign sprint.
The final big event of 2008 was the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival – a 40-mile mountain bike race in northern Wisconsin. With a field limit of 1,700, it’s the biggest mass-start mountain bike race in the world. I hadn’t done a MTB race in four years, and I hadn’t done Chequamegon in about 12 years. Despite a poor start and a flat tire with five miles to go, I managed to finish in 236th place, achieving my goal of finishing within 30 minutes of the winner. Plus, I had such a good time that I’m thinking about devoting the second half of next year’s season to endurance mountain bike racing.
So praise God – it’s been another good year. There’s still some great riding to be had, but it’s never too early to look back and think ahead.