2017 Whiskey 50 and Reflection

 Photo: Kenny Wehn

Photo: Kenny Wehn

My first blog post for this site is better late than never right? I mean, without the help of Mary I would still be trying to figure out how to make this damn thing.

The 2017 Whiskey 50 was this past weekend up in Prescott AZ. Epic Rides has really evolved in to a race series that is top notch for every athlete, from the first timer to international pro. The town of Prescott welcomed the event with open arms and let me tell you, it is pretty amazing to see the sport blooming the way it is when an event is put on like this. On Friday night the pro men and women are lucky enough to participate in the fat tire criterium that weaves through the streets of downtown. It is fun as hell but equally as painful - the race is only 20 mins +3 laps, so it equals out to roughly 27 minutes of “push as hard as possible” race pace. I was pretty dang happy to ride away from the event without a crash and a solid finish, sitting in lead group! The crit race doesn’t actually mean anything as far as the overall race and series goes, but it’s a great way to showcase the town and get the locals and spectators involved in a really exciting event! After the short race, Mary and I were treated to a great dinner from our close friends, Mike and Jessie Rice. It was nice to be able to relax with some good company and tasty food after a super hard 20+ min effort shortly before. After dinner, it was time to head home and rest up before the big show on Sunday.

 Photo: Kenny Wehn

Photo: Kenny Wehn

It’s been a few days since the race, so I have had time to let everything soak in and I think its safe to say I am content - not totally pumped but not bummed either. I have run through the race in my head a couple dozen times and I know one thing for sure - I left some good racing out on course, but I still had more to give. I can’t exactly pinpoint where/when things started to drift but I am motivated as ever to learn from it and better myself as I move forward. I had a goal in mind leading up to the race and I knew I was fully capable of doing this with where my power numbers are and where my heart rate was on training rides - I simply wasn’t able to execute that but it’s OK. During the race, I had one speed, and it got the job done for that particular day. 

 Photo: Les Stukenberg

Photo: Les Stukenberg

Mary recently got a book called Mindset, and it pretty much explains how our mindset can greatly effect multiple parts of our lives, including self confidence. She has been sharing some interesting points and new ideas that the book talks about which has gotten me thinking about my mindset in regards to racing - in the past, I would really get down on myself if I missed a personal goal or didn't accomplish something I knew I was capable of. After some self reflection, I’ve learned to keep an more open mindset and find the positives where I used to only find negatives. I am not really in to reading books, but I may find myself picking up this book once Mary is done with it because I honestly see a great opportunity in opening up my mind to new perspectives and honestly, what could it hurt? We always have room to improve, right?

2017 will be a big year for me as I work through some new concepts that I’ve never really focused on - I am opening myself up to learn a new racing format and also digging deep to increase my mental strength on and off the bike. I look back to the True Grit 100 earlier in the year - I had a great day on the bike and I know that was greatly influenced by the mindset I went in to that race with. Instead of focusing on the fear of not meeting my personal goals, I redirected my energy toward keeping a clear head and a positive attitude. At the end of the day, I had a smile on my face and accomplished what I knew I could without overthinking the race or pressuring myself to the point where I was physically  affected. I am going to try my absolute best to replicate this same mental clarity as I go in to the next few months of racing. Although the upcoming events feel so foreign to me, it’s exciting as hell to know I am bettering myself each day while racing my mountain bike.

I think back to Sunday and it’s safe to say that was the most dialed support crew I have ever had at a race. Mary, Mike, Jessie and Brien all took time out of their day to literally wait for me at different points on the course (Mike and Brien at the Skull Valley turn off and Mary and Jessie at the U-turn at the bottom of Skull Valley). I cannot thank each of them enough for that. I know that even if I was having the worst of day, or best of day, I would be just as happy to see those faces out on course. A seriously massive thank you to all of you for sitting in the sun all day.

To wrap this up, this weekend can really be explained with two words: learning experience. This was by far one of the most stacked pro fields I have ever seen - there were 98 pro men from 8 different countries and I ended up finishing in 20th after the grueling fifty miles of backcountry single track and abusive road climbs. I’m stoked on the placing but I look forward to the next race to showcase that speed I know I have and have been working my ass off for over the past months of training. A sincere “congrats” is in order to everyone that participated and a massive thank you to Epic Rides for hosting such a great event. 

 Photo: Kenny Wehn

Photo: Kenny Wehn

What was awesome from the weekend: