Finish: Top-20 (0:28:01)
Location: Prescott, AZ
Distance: 9.2 mi
In less than 10 words: Felt like myself for the first time this year!
GPS track on Strava: Fat Tire Crit
Fat Tire Crits (short, fast, paved races on mountain bikes) are done all wrong. What’s the point of racing them on mountain bikes? They would probably be more exciting if everyone raced road bikes (like normal crits) because they would go faster. So here’s what needs to happen to Fat Tire Crits: stair drops, stair climbs and curbs. The stair drops would burst any slicks (slick tires for mountain bikes) and force everyone to ride fat tires (as the name says they should). The stair climbs would also require real mountain bike tires and would be awesome to watch. And the curbs are like putting 6-inch logs in the course. Think about the spectating possibilities!Unfortunately, I did not design the Whiskey Off-Road Fat Tire Crit and it was the usual pavement with some turns (although it did have a solid climb and a wicked fast descent). Proving as I regularly do that I’m not a road racer, it didn’t even cross my mind to bring slicks for the Fat Tire Crit. Turns out I was in the minority. I would estimate that of the 88 Pros who raced the crit, less than 10 were on knobby tires. Between that and the fact that I was racing a 24-pound 5-inch full-suspension bike I didn’t have super high expectations.
I had a decent start though and was able to get around the first turn before the bottleneck. I immediately sprinted up the right side of the pack into second place behind my teammate Bryan Fawley. It was a great feeling to be at the front of the race but I realized that if I didn’t back off I’d be in trouble. So I backed off a bit to save energy for the last couple of laps and moved into the low 20s. With two laps to go, I kicked back into gear and was able to move back into the top 20. I caught and passed quite a few people on the hill (this was especially satisfying when they were on hardtail 29ers with slicks) and finished exhausted but happy feeling like all the training I’d been doing under my new coach, Adam (of Carmichael Training Systems), was paying off.