MG handing the baton off to teammate Mike Losee at the end of stage 9 of the first-annual Market-to-Market Relay -- October 11, 2008. Photo: Fran Benne
Snitily Carr's 2008 Market-to-Market team -- from left: Steph Mehsling, Kevin VanNostrand, Fran Benne, Jim Mehsling, Kristin Wortman, Mike Losee, Doug Carr, Matt GersibIt' s been a crazy last couple of weeks... I caught a cold the week after running on Snitily Carr's team in the Market to Market relay. I almost had it kicked too, but then I traveled to Kearney and the Nebraska Travel Conference for work last week. Between all the talking, stress and lack of sleep, my cold came back with a vengeance, so I've been battling that again all this past week. I'm getting better, but it's been a slow recovery with lots of coughing... not fun at all.
El Mariachi and my Dos Niner are looking quite different these days. I essentially swapped wheelsets and forks between the two bikes, so the Dos is sportin' the Reba with polished rimmed wheels and the El M is sportin' the SC32 Maverick with black rimmed wheels. I actually like the look of both bikes better now than before, so we'll call it progress. Ironically, I also like the performance of the SC32 on the El Mariachi better than I like it on the Dos (and better than the Reba on the El M), and I also like the Reba better on the Dos than I like the SC32 on the Dos... Hmmm??? I wonder what's up with that? Perhaps the slight (3mm) difference in offset plays better with the slight difference in the Dos' frame geometry, or perhaps it's just all in my mind. I'm not quite sure yet. More time on both bikes with their current setup may reveal more on that.
I've also been doing a lot of thinking about what the future is going to hold for me with my cycling, and more specifically, the racing I'm going to be focusing on moving forward. While I can't say that my 2008 season was not a success, it definitely was not a particularly satisfying season, personally. The results were defintely there... I finished every race I entered except for TransIowa, and finished every race in the top-five, so I can't complain. I got the opportunity to ride in some very cool rides like Guitar Ted's Death Ride Invitational and the first ever Good Life Gravel Adventure, which certainly were high priveleges. But on the other hand, I did not participate at all in our local xc mountain bike race scene. That was by choice, because I was burnt out on that type of racing, but that said, I also have to say that I miss racing my mountain bike on a regular basis, and did not find the "enduro" races to be as satisfying to participate in, or as plentiful in quantity (regionally) as I had hoped. But missing out on the "scene" is probably what I feel the most. I miss hanging out with my friends at the races... I miss the community. In fact, I feel significantly less connected to my local cycling community having not participated in the xc races this past season. That in itself is reason enough for me to participate more in xc races next season, even if I don't train super hard for them. That said, I don't know if I can do 'em and not train for them.
I've also heard a rumor that first production versions of the Salsa Big Mama are very close to being available. I have a feeling that the Big Mama is really going to help get my motivation back into long, hard off-road races because honestly, my body has been needing a dualie for a couple of seasons now. I've just been waiting for Salsa's FS 29er (patiently for the most part, I might add). It's going to be worth the wait too... True, the Big Mama might be a bit 'big' for a strict weight weenie xc racer, but it's gonna' be just fine by me. Anyone who rides with me knows I like to jump a bit, so I'll gladly take it a bit on the burly side. I'll just throw on some light wheels and rip it up in xc races, because I know it rides right and handles great... and my back will be feelin' good with four inches of cush to soak up the nasties.
I hope you have a safe, fun Haloween and a great weekend, and are able to get out in the beautiful weather we're supposed to have for some two-wheeled time of your own. Hope to see you out there.