2008 MTB National Championships in Vermont!

Emma and I spent the next few days of our adventure in Massachusetts staying at Emma’s grandma Noni’s awesome house. Noni was an excellent tour guide, showing us all around the town of Whitman where Emma’s mom grew up and taking us out to eat for lots of delicious sea food fare. We also got meet Aunt Cathy and Juiliana and even spent a day touring the nice city of Boston and checking out all the touristy stuff. We then headed up to New Hampshire to meet my mother’s sister and long lost cousins. It was good to meet a side of the family I had only heard about growing up. Both Justin and Janelle were great people; I even got Janelle out on a mountain bike ride. She was pretty good. Emma and I packed up again on Thursday to go get our buddy Nick from the airport in Boston at 9:30 pm and then drive straight to Vermont to stay with Stacy’s mom, who definitely had it going on! And of course I had to race the national championship at 8am the next morning. Imagine what I could have done if I weren’t sick or had some sleep the day before one of these races. We arrived to Margret’s place at like 2 or 3 am and I was up at 6:45 to eat and get to the venue and check in. I got to pre-ride the start loop just in time to line up in the second row of 66 semi-pro starters. Sweet! The start was vicious and the pace scorching, I was just not capable of maintaining. I think it was to my advantage though. I came through in like 37th or so first lap and just passed cracked riders all day to finish 24th only one minute out of top 20 which was my goal! I had a great race and I was very happy with it especially considering my 3.5 hr nap the night before. Saturday was Emma’s national championship and we knew she was one of the fastest in the field. Again we were up at 6:45 am, remembering that is 3:45 am California time! This time we went to bed at around 10 pm, so Emma was well rested and ready to rock. She had a solid start and coming through for lap one was head to head with the leader! I was so excited until she handed me off a full bottle and took a new one (just for practice I guess). She didn’t drink the whole first lap. I knew that would spell disaster and sure enough part way through lap two she began to cramp horribly. She came through still in second with third right behind her. She was already in tears and I could see her legs clenching up on her and there was still a lap to go. Last lap I waited and waited impatiently to see her come through. Finally Emma rolled through screaming and crying from cramps in 4th place. She collapsed just after the line angry and in tons of pain I comforted her in front of awed on lookers. Emma is still my national champion for finishing the race and showing that kind of grit and determination! She was the strongest girl in the race she told me she would walk away on the climbs, but was having some trouble on the descents. So her tactic was to get a big gap on the climb, somehow in all the planning she didn’t drink and suffered for it bad. That’s racing I guess. On Sunday Emma and I raced the super D on another no-hard tails course. Emma had a solid run and netted another 4th place finish. I was determined to go for the win on my hard tail; I got to the short climb in 3rd place ready to hammer by 1st and 2nd place who were moving way slower. I stood up and put in one hard pedal stroke only to have my chain break! Crap! Game over. Figured I might as well have fun so I ran with my bike while getting passed by most of the field. On the downhill sections I just coasted and pumped all over the place. All said and done I had a great time and still beat some guys I caught one guy who passed me on the hill and sprinted on foot to finish just ahead of him! Yay, bike racing! Next Emma and I went up to watch Nick’s epic DH race which looked plain crazy. He had a solid run with only one mishap and finish 19th I think. Back at Margret’s we packed quickly and thanked the best hostess ever for a great time, before heading out on the most epic drive back to Delaware. First it was to Boston to drop of Nick then Emma and I rallied the rental all the back to DE and arrived at 4:30 am only to wake up a 8am clean the car return it by 12pm then drive to Baltimore to catch a plane at 5:30 and fly to Milwaukee than fly to back to California at 12am only to drive to Humboldt and arrive home at 4:30 am! Yay, bike racing!!!

-T