70 degrees in December?!?!

NCGP Day 1

8th place

Slowly, slowly I am getting my setup dialed for these races. Thanks to Saw Armor, I was able to throw a roof box on my little Honda, which allowed me to bring not only Myles, but Noa as well. We make a great team with Myles crushing the mechanic work on the amazing Ritchey Swisscross, and Noa helping cook dinner in the hotel and taking beautiful pictures featured in the blog. 

I need to give a huge shout out to Shimano and Pearl Izumi for stepping in to see me through the rest of the season. I was gifted some Shimano XC-90’s in the electric blue and they are so nice! Light, stiff, great looking. And Pearl helped me get my cold weather (that decided to not show up at all this weekend) gear dialed. So humbled. 

We woke up to seriously dense fog this morning. It took until noon to burn off, but the moisture in the air made for a tough game of picking the right tires. The course dried off at different rates Even in a 20 minute pre-ride, the lines and corners changed. Where you would have to tip toe through, would all of a sudden have massive traction, but the corner after wasn’t in the sun so would be super slippery. After some discussion with Myles, we decided it would be smarter to have more grip, more confidence in the turns so I rode an MXP in the rear, and a PDX in the front at 30 psi and 31 psi respectively (according to our pump)

The field was stacked! This race used to be the race to sneak a good end of season result, but some real players came down. Danny Summerhill, Yannick Eckman, Anthony Clark, Brian Matter, Andrew Dillman, and a ton of other heavies. It was going to be fast. 

From the gun, I knew an aggressive start would put me in a good position to follow moves as the race progressed. I slotted into the top 10 and hit the front after half a lap during a lull. Hindsight, not the smartest idea. I went hard, tried to keep the pace up, but dug myself pretty deep. Over the next three laps, I slipped back through the top 8 guys, keeping in contact and trying to recover as best as I could.

My legs started to come around halfway through the race, and I was making a dig to re-attach with the front group of 5. I was within a few seconds, when I washed out on an off camber and lost my momentum. Back to chase mode. 

Risk. I wanted a result. I didn’t want to settle for being just off the lead group, so I made the mental choice to ride just at the limits of traction in the corners to re-attach. But coming into yet another off camber, I slid out and hit my shifter perfectly on the ground for it to break at the hood. A quick bike change with Myles had me back in chase mode with Andrew Dillman. We rode for a lap and a half together, and with one and a half to go, I attacked him and set out to finish the race as hard as I could, because practice makes perfect. 

8th isn’t ideal, but to get in the top 10 against this field with two crashes and a hard first lap is not something to cry about. Only a year ago, anything in the top 10 was a win. Tomorrow is a new day, and I know I can be up at the front racing for the win. 

Thanks so much for reading! 

Ben FrederickComment