My annual pilgrimage South to Tucson, Arizona has been routine for the past 6 years. Every year I head down South for a season of work as the camp director at The Cycling House. After a summer of travel, racing and adventures the Southern migration was a warm welcome; literally. The cool temperatures in Montana quickly remind me that it is indeed time to head south.
We hosted 3 weeks of mountain bikes camp this fall, two weeks in Crested Butte, Colorado and one week in Missoula, Montana. The trails were a much needed change after pounding the pavement all summer racing triathlons. I had few weeks of true fall in Montana and was able to get out on some epic adventures before I pointed Crusher South. One of the highlights was an all day hike in the Swan range with my high school buddies. We headed out with full intention of slaying an elk although only one of us had a gun but I think we would all agree we were there to catch up with each other and get epic in the mountains before real winter conditions set in. The adventure was the perfect fix and I think we all received some level of discomfort as we scaled a nearly vertical chute full of snow and ice to the knife edge ridge below Holland Peak. To final icing on the cake was watching two wolves traverse a ridge after we startled them in the hanging valley below Holland Peak.
I started my annual pilgrimage in Crusher and made what has become a normal stop in Moab, Utah for the trail 1/2 marathon USATF national championships. I was able to get in some good training leading up to this race although I did have a scare with my back after it seized up while mountain biking in Durango, Colorado. My back was near 100% for the race and I was ready to give it my all as I toed the starting line. I had a good position leading into the first big uphill and a group of runners quickly established a bit of a gap. Their pace was a little to hot for me and I eased into a pace that seemed manageable. I finally crested the top of the climb after nearly 3 miles of uphill and was hanging around top 10 when a few runners passed me. They blew by me and I fell like I was running in quicksand, well I was running in sand but the pace they were holding seemed very hot! I stayed positive and focused on my race. I hit the first big downhill and was cruising on the technical section when all of a sudden I caught 4 runners and passed them on a hairy technical section. Moab had received a good amount of rain and the last section of the race followed an old riverbed. At times the water was waist deep and I embraced the conditions and passed a few more guys and advanced to 5th place. I exited the water and pushed my pace up a steep climb towards the road. The road was slight downhill and I could see 4th place off in the distance. I buried myself on this downhill, digging deep and embracing the lactic acid that had built up in my legs. I nearly caught 4th place but the final technical water section left me with no place to make my move. I settled for 5th place and was satisfied after giving it all that I had! I hung at the awards briefly after the race and drove the remainder of the way down to Tucson to start the move in process at The Cycling House.
The move in process to a new house is always an interesting process, the 6 days I spent moving were a bit of a time warp. I was ready for a break and the USATF trail 50k national championships was just the fix I needed. I knew I was a little ambitious racing back to back weekends, but the lack of long runs and quick turnaround was not going to hold me back. Fortunately I had found a cheap ticket to Las Vegas so that Crusher could get some rest after our cross country voyage. I flew in the evening before the race and camped at the race venue. I had been to the venue several years ago while working the outdoor demo at Interbike with Hammer Nutrition. The trails were dry, technical and had some very good varying terrain. My lack of running mileage would be the limiting factor so a let a group of 15 get a lead on me in the early miles of the race. I settled into a manageable pace and knew that if I was going to finish well in this race I would need to be smart with nutrition. I carried a handheld water bottle with Hammer Fizz in it and 5 Hammer Gels, I was also happy to know that Hammer Nutrition would be out on course as a nutritional sponsor. I chugged along and caught a few guys as they began to fade and I continued to maintain my pace. I was happy to refill with Hammer Heed as the temperatures crept up and my body craved more electrolytes. I ended up finishing 10th place, satisfied with the result I had completed my 2013 season. I flew back down to Tucson to begin the season with our 2nd annual El Tour De Tucson training camp. The camp was a huge success and the 2014 season at The Cycling has begun, up next we have our 2nd annual Moots bicycle company training camp.
I have quickly embraced the Sonoran desert and my sunset runs quickly reminded me exactly why I love this place. Up next will be the Rock & Roll Phoenix marathon in January. Below are my results from the season. A huge thanks to all of my sponsors; Hammer Nutrition (Title Sponsor), The Cycling House, Zoot Sports, Nashville Hip & Fracture, GoWesty, Mountain Khakis, Kali Protectives.
2013 Season Results
- Coldwater Rumble 50k; 1st place
- Grizzly Triathlon; 4th place
- Lifetime Fitness Leadman; 12th place (got lost!)
- Wildflower Triathlon; 23rd professional
- White Mountains Half Ironman; 1st place
- New England Tri-Fest; 1st place
- Newtown Triathlon; 2nd place
- US Mountain Running Championships; 24th place
- Ironman Lake Placid; 61st place (sick)
- Cigna 5k; 16:29
- Xterra Stoaked; 1st place
- Timberman 70.3; 11th place
- Rev3 Maine; 34th place
- Whitefish Legacy 20k; 1st place
- Mount Sentinel Hill Climb; 5th place
- USATF Trail 1/2 Marathon National Championships; 5th place
- USATF Trail 50k National Championships; 10th place