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My wife Anna and I headed North after work on Friday to participate in the “Return on the Jedi Bike Festival” outside of Merlin OR. There was a short track and super D on Saturday and an XC race on Sunday. I have done this race before(06) and it turns out that Tsering and I both remember racing each other that year even though we did not know each other. The short track was fun. The course was similar to the Santa Rosa dirt crit I got spanked at earlier in the week so I was hungry for some revenge. Evan Plews (Oregon State Champion ) was there and made the pace hard from the start. I dropped to third, then fifth after leading the first lap. I thought to myself “man I really suck”, but I dug deep and clawed my way back to third midway through the race with attacks every lap at the top of the climb…MAN...I really like short track. I built a gap on the other chasers and held on for my first pro podium this season. I skipped the super D to catch up on some rest and spend some time with friends. Sundays xc race was good. I stayed with the leaders at the start then settled into my rhythm sitting in 5th. The course was 27 miles with 5600 feet of climbing with a large majority of that elevation being gained on the last single track climb back up to the Jedi trail. Anyone who has done this race knows what I am talking about…it is hard. I rode too hard too early in 06 and paid a dear price on that last climb so it was in my head all day. I caught my buddy Steve on the first climb after he slowed to recover from the pace being set by the leaders. We worked together and kept the pace high. After cresting the first climb at the top of Onion Mountain we headed down the back side of the sketchy, loose and rocky decent. Then my rear tire went soft…I think I had a P.R. on my tube change..and we were back on track after loosing only a couple of minutes. We descended back down to the base of the single track climb and grinded it out with Steve allowing me to set the pace. I still do not have the intensity I need to stay with the leaders but I could definitely feel my endurance working. Multiple 8+ hr rides this winter are to thank for that. Steve and I stayed together all the way to the top of the Jedi. I told him I was not going to sprint at the finish but that didn’t mean I was going to take it easy on the decent. I pushed the pace on the rollers and opened up a gap on the final downhill section. There was about a 200 yard paved section leading to the finish and I pushed like hell to keep my gap on Steve but that dude is STRONG! He caught me as we pulled into the finish and we both sat up to finish 4th and 5th respectively. I am taking my lumps getting back to the fitness needed to hang with the big boys, but I enjoy getting thrashed…it only makes us better right? On a more positive note…my wife Anna won here beginner woman’s race by 15 minutes!!! Sounds like its time for her to cat up. All in all we had a great weekend. Awesome training for Downieville and a couple more medals for the “Wall of Fame” here in the Huber household. Thanks to Marin for supporting my efforts. The Nail Trail gets better every time I ride it! Happy trails….Geoff.