|The view from our house in Bend|
|Always proud to be able to race with these guys, not a bad one in the bunch|
|On the attack ahead of Chris Fisher|
|Day one podium with Chris Fisher and teammate Shannon Skerritt|
|Tom put in a dominating performance on Saturday winning by over a minute|
On the trip home I picked up a bothersome little head cold. After four days off the bike I felt like it was on the decline so I started training again. But within a week it was back and this time as full blown bronchitis. Five more days off the bike over the Christmas holiday and I decided to head down to Kansas City for their version of the Kerstperiode races. I lined up for the Grote Prijs Shawnee with a ton of chest congestion but the hope was that the 50 minute effort would blow out the lungs. I ended up second again to Joe Schmalz, which I'm never that bummed on, but more importantly the ensuing cough session really helped loosen things up. Finishing second was a way better result than I'd thought I could get, and had I'd not made a poor tire choice on the start line that resulted in a crash and a bike change I might have been able to give Joe a challenge.
After the Grote Prijs race I was finally ready to get back to business. Being sick so close to Nationals had me thinking through that weekend and ahead to worlds. We still had one race, a last minute add to the calendar, the Wintery Mix CX. I was hoping I'd get to race Joe again, as well as Steve Tilford and Shadd Smith along with the host of other fast KC area guys. When we arrived in KC I was bummed to hear that Joe had left for road training in Texas and Steve had opted to race New Years Resolution in Chicago. Looked like it was going to be a battle between Shadd and I as well as Aaron Elwell who's been on the long road to recovery from a broken shoulder and ribs suffered in Louisville. Shadd took the holeshot and three laps later I went on the attack. Driving as hard as I could thinking ahead to Nationals. The legs felt good, not as punchy as they've been but good power coming out of the corners. I eventually put a minute into Shadd by the finish and took my 10th win of the season. It really helps boost the confidence and makes me think maybe Nationals isn't as much of a long shot as I originally thought.
Now it's off to Madison and what I hope will end in Stars and Stripes. Three years of training and sacrifice, mostly on Anne's part, have led into this final month in 2013. It's been a crazy trip and an amazing season so far. The end is near, keep pushing.