Waiting game pays off

Kingsport CX Cup UCI C2

5th place. 

As usual, I want to lead off the blog by saying how happy I am with 5th place. Its not lost on me that at the beginning of the year, I was fighting for top 10’s, and now I am able to ride solidly at or near the front of UCI races. The support of all you guys and my sponsors has been the driving force in realizing the change I’ve had. So thank you. On to your regularly scheduled blog.

Since NCGP, there has been a lot of change, namely moving. That stress was greatly reduced by my awesome friends, who have always made me feel at home, and I put it to good use. Thanks guys.

Lack of races allowed me with my coach, Blair Berbert to focus in the training to be specifically ready for the course at Nationals. Going to be teasingly vague, but there was running, lots of technique work and a decent amount of pain. December 26th marked the end of my last block of training, and have been nervously tapering ever since. ("In the context of sports, tapering refers to the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition") Many athletes can relate to the challenge of tapering. It gives you a sense of taking it too easy. We are wired to train as hard as we can, so when it changes to resting as hard as we can, its a foreign feeling. All the hard work is done. Training too hard into Nationals would be detrimental. But its hard to not think “Did I do enough?” “What about that one interval I didn’t dig 100% for?” “What about that one time I stayed up too late?”

Having races like today silences those questions quickly enough. 

Kingsport. The start finish line is under two bridges, and the course snakes out and back of a small peninsula. Lots of off camber, lots of pavement pedaling, and short laps define the course. There were some big hitters here, making their final prep for the Nationals in a week. Jeremy Powers, Jeremy Durrin, Kerry Werner, Jamie Driscoll, Travis Livermon, Anthony Clark… the list goes on. 

The start was fast, and immediately the field strung out single file. Everyone fighting for the wheel in front of them in the long pavement sections. The short laps are making it tough for me to do a play by play, but the first 3 laps were spent moving from ~10th, up to the top 5. I took risks in the hard pedaling sections to jump groups and put myself in the position to be there when stuff split. Jeremy Powers hit the gas in the second third of the race, and Jeremy Durrin and Kerry Werner were able to go with him. Travis Livermon and I were just a few seconds off. Then Powers attacked his group, leaving Durrin and Werner to chase him, and Travis and I chasing them. Halfway through the race, Tristian Cowie made contact with Livermon and me (a mistake on my part as they were both on the same team). I knew I would have my work cut out for me. It was tough to run the risk of using a lot of energy to bring back Durrin/Werner and give the Mock Orange teammates a free ride up there. 

We played cat and mouse and that allowed the Durrin/Werner to get away. After I had a small crash in a corner, Livermon was able to attack and get a gap in the last lap and a half that I was just unable to close. But, I was fortunately able to hold off Cowie, finishing 5th on the day. Already, that makes this trip a success! Now, I head down to Asheville after one more night in Kingsport (thanks to Saw Armor) to get time on the course and settle in to the last week before the big dance. 

This is a culmination of a ton of work by so many people. What started as a dream last February has been realized and will reach is conclusion for the season in a week. Regardless of what happens next Sunday, this season was a resounding success. I am so grateful to everyone who has gotten a supporter shirt, donated to the “feed the cyclist” campaign, sent messages, and given the good vibes. Thank you. Each and every one of you. You are all on my heart leading into Nats. 

I want to finish with a big shout out to Carrie and Barry for letting me set up with them me and helping me in the pits today. I had the confidence to really push it, knowing that Barry would be ready with a bike. It really made a huge difference. Thanks guys.

Until next time, thanks for reading. 

 

Ben Frederick2 Comments