The 2006 season started a little late for me. After a rough winter in my head, I dreaded coming back to Colorado after winter break, and didn't start riding until almost February.
I ended up having a great winter though, the training was good, weather was awesome, and I started having a lot of fun here at school. I met a bunch of new people in Greeley, and have made some lasting friendships, and some that weren't so lasting. The weather for riding was awesome in Colorado last winter, and I spent a lot of time in the mountains EARLY in the year. The best part of riding in the mountains in the pancakes.
My season started with a bang at the CU Crit on March 18th. I ended up 2nd after pulling back a break so my one-time teammate would have a chance for the win. Things didn't work out for him, so I punched it and gapped everyone except for a CU kid affectionately known as fat-ass. The highlight of that day was definitely getting my picture with Tyler Hamilton. Thanks again Kari Mello.
If you look close you can see Dave Towle in the corner.
The rest of the collegiate season went better than expected. I never managed to win a collegiate race, but came close a time or two. My favorite races would have to be the Fruita Loops Crit hosted by Mesa State, and the Fort Lewis Circuit Race. I ended up riding in a break with 4 FLC kids at the Fruita race, taking 3rd out of the bunch, and my result at the FLC home race wasn't great, but it was the first time I felt good climbing, in my life. I felt like I was able to push the pace a little here and there, and had a lot of fun, not half as much as the ride home though.
I managed to pick up a couple wins early as a Cat. 3 at the Koppenburg Road Race, and the Boulder Roubaix. I went to The Tour of the Gila with high expectations, but instead was treated to the Mogollon climb, and then a head cold. I still felt like I did a great race, and rode my way into the top ten with a 2nd in the crit and 7th on the Gila Monster Stage.
After the Gila I upgraded and got a slap in the face with a 90 minute Coal Miner's Classic Crit in 90 degree weather won by none other than Greg Henderson. I got throttled, but actually gained a little confidence with a late race effort to bring a couple guys back in the last lap.
After that was the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango. The road race was stupid hard, as my climbing legs had long since left me by this time, and I suffered pretty bad to finish at the back of the pack. The next day though was the downtown crit, and was probably the best race of my life. I covered the front early thinking it was a good course for a break to get away, but it never stuck, and I'd wasted a lot of energy, so I soon found myself surfing the back. I tried to relax for a few laps, with a plan of moving up with 5 to go, and seeing what I could make happen in the last two laps. I made it to the front when I wanted to, actually a little early, as I was 3rd wheel with one lap to go. As we came through the start finish, the two guys, Troy Wells and Eric Ransom, did the bike throw and sat up thinking we were done. I had followed their wheels and had a little gap as we headed up the hill the last lap, I was confused, but not enough to sit up with less than a lap to go. I buried it, and barely held my gap through the lap to take my first Pro 1,2 win. It felt good, really good, and to do it in Durango, with Dave Towle on the mic, my mom in the crowd, and racing against a bunch of people I respect and admire, only made it feel better.
After that my season wound down for a while. I did my own thing, rode my mountain bike a bit, and got my single speed cross bike out as much as I could. I had planned to do a bunch of collegiate mountain bike stuff this fall, but after only a weekend, I switched it up and got onto the cross bike. My form this fall felt crappy, only a couple times did I feel like I was going well, luckily it happened toward the end of the year and nationals was a lot of fun and I had a decent collegiate race there ending up 15th.
The biggest thing that stands out to me this season was the overwhelming amount of support I felt from all kinds of people. I had more people coming to watch me race, wishing me luck, or congratulating me, than I could believe. I want everyone of you reading this to know that all of your support really does mean a lot to me.
First off, Scott Wenzel was there, right alongside me through most of the season.
Nat Ross and Dave Towle. I just met Nat this fall, through Dave actually, but really enjoyed racing with him, or having him on the sidelines doing the announcing thing. I've known who Dave was for quite some time, but really got to know him this spring after the UNC home race. He's an awesome guy, and is exactly what the sport of cycling needs to continue to grow and prosper here in the states. His energy and enthusiasm are unmatched, as well as his character.
Steve Opp. Steve gave me a job when I really needed one this summer, and has always been super flexible with my schedule to allow me to pursue what it is I want to do. He even made it out to a cross race this fall, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him at the races next fall.
Matt Koch got to be a really good friend throughout the season last spring, always had coke and cold water on hand when I rode through Estes Park this summer, and let us take over his condo for a weekend when the racing took us to Summit County. Thanks Matt (and Allez).
Evan Sandstrom - E Strong. Probably one of the most photogenic people I know, but also always willing to lend a helping hand, or yell "grip it and rip it" or "get some" from the side of any race, anywhere, anytime.
Brian Amstutz, who I met through cycling, but have continued to hang out with probably more than anyone else on here. I'm pretty sure he'll one day kill me, but I do enjoy our discussions or lack thereof on my porch stairs.
Ambrette. Some of the people on here are getting a little more credit than they deserve, but I don't think I could ever relay how much support Ambrette has given me this year, or how much I've appreciated every bit of it.
Lastly, a huge thanks to my parents that have given me more opportunities in the past 22 years than many people get in a lifetime. I know I'm no model child, and I know I've put you through a lot, but thanks for everything you've done for me.
I know I've missed more people than I've put on here, but ANYONE who has taken the time from their day to read this drivel has my thanks and gratitude. I owe you all one. 2007 looks to be very different than 2006. I won't be doing any collegiate racing for one, but I hope to take another step in the direction of my ultimate goal. I've never admitted it before, never even to myself, but I've finally realized I want to be a professional cyclist, and I'm going to be one someday. I know there is still a lot of road ahead of me, but I've set my sights on a goal, so the only person who can come between me and that goal now is myself. It took some life changes to help me realize this, but I've never felt more focused and directed as I do now. I know it's a long shot, but wish me luck and continue to give me your support if you can. Thanks for everything.
P.S. I need another job, any ideas?