Valley of the Sun was the first real race on the schedule this year. The previous weekend was the Fiesta Island TT in San Diego (Peter Allen also raced it) which did not go as well as I’d wanted. VOS is a stage race and consists of a time trial, road race and crit over three days in Phoenix. All I really cared about was the TT, and posting a good result, then going from there. Well, the VOS TT definitely provided some redemption after Fiesta Island. I felt great, caught a bunch of people, didn’t get caught by anyone, and threw up in my mouth a little bit- second to yacking all over the place, it’s the sure sign of a good time trial. Jens was running through my head the whole time. The ride was good enough for 7th overall, and provided a good set up for the rest of the weekend.

Think of me as you whish, but when I race, I want people to remember who I am, and not just because my red/orange fake arm stands out. I want to be a good wheel, be smooth in the pack, aggressive, take pulls (What would Jens do?) and be a good representative of xXx. The road race was only mediocre in my book, and a lack of aggression played the biggest part in that. Rather than making something happen, I just sat in and waited for someone else to make a move. I got caught up in the standings, and was afraid to do something, get caught and pop then get dropped and lose time. The GC hardly changed after the race, although I did lose 3 seconds because of time bonuses.

After the road race and my lack of initiative, I decided to make some changes for the crit. It’s better to try and fail, than not to try at all right? It was a 40 min crit on a figure 8 course with nice big turns, good pavement except for a few avoidable traffic reflectors, and a good crowd. I made sure to say in the front 10 the whole time, took turns on the front to keep the pace high, but didn’t waste any excess energy by sitting in the wind. With two to go I took a gamble that only lasted a little over a lap, as the pack really kicked it up. The true sprinters came around me at the end but I held on for a mid pack finish. No time lost.

After the race riders came up and said they recognized the distinctive xXx kit from last season’s races. Some people were amazed that despite my “awful situation” I was even able to ride a bike at all! Such an inspiration. Most people were complementary for other reasons which is what I’d rather hear after riding my legs into pulp. All in all it was a great kick off to the season, and hope to keep the momentum rolling.

See you at the races!