Saturday, October 10, 2015

Twenty Fifteen

Here I sit watching the sideways rain hit the windows on a mid-October day.  There is something satisfying about this time of year.  I like to think of it as the closing of summer and a time to reflect with a sense of fulfillment over the experiences had.  I'd say 2015 has been my best effort in finding a life balance between working, racing, and living happily.

Trail building on Chuckanut with Whitney.
Just after Whitney and I purchased our first home in February, I was off to Wisconsin for my first American Birkebeiner.  My good friend and former neighbor, Todd, had taken me under his wing and pushed my cross country skiing to new levels.  With the support of Todd and Madshus and knowing that I was fortunate to have a wave 1 start, I spent 6 months training for the Birkie.  The race itself was unlike anything I have experienced due to the number of skiers, beautiful course, and friendly Midwestern personalities.  I had an amazing race finishing 164th, earning an elite wave start (top 200) for 2016.  I can't wait!

After a busy winter of skiing and house projects, I was onto a pleasantly spread-out mountain bike season.  Highlights include winning the NW Epic Series and racing most of the CDC Enduro series.

Suntop 50 miler with my dad alongside.  Photo: Nadja Rua.

 I also earned another crown at the Captitol Forest Classic, the most fun race weekend of the year.  Pinkbike article here.

KOM and QOM of Capitol Forest.  Photo:  Eric Ashley.

Evergreen MTB Alliance has done amazing work on Tiger Mountain.  It's not what it was when I rode there as a kid!  I had a great race, placing third.  Pinkbike article here.

Dropping into the new Predator trail on Tiger.  Photo: Eric Ashley.

Third place at Tiger.  Photo: Adrian Hopkins.

My grand finale event of the year was one that I was super excited for-the Trans Cascadia, a 4 day blind enduro stage race in Oakridge, Oregon.  Long story short, it was amazing.  The MODUS crew put together something truly unique and memorable.  You can read about each day of the race on Pinkbike:

Trans Cascadia - Pre
Trans Cascadia - Day 1
Trans Cascadia - Day 2
Trans Cascadia - Day 3
Trans Cascadia - Day 4
Trans Cascadia - Photo Epic

I had the race of my life and slowly worked my way up the rankings each day.  After a brilliant final day of racing, I snuck onto the podium.  The battle for that third spot was furious with Nick Hardin and myself taking 1st or 2nd on most of the final day's 6 stages.
Beautiful Oregon Cascades.
Photo: Paris Gore.
Photo: Paris Gore.
Photo: Paris Gore.

Time to find some ski fitness!

Hiking the Enchantments last weekend.  Photo: Loren Hanson.