Not really knowing what sport class would be like I set some goals to complete the Stoney Creek Marathon (a 40 mile mountain bike race), finish top 10 in my sport class (sport men 30-34), race in a 6 or 12hour event, and take 20 minutes off my Iceman time (2006's time was 2hours 30minutes). My first race of the year was a bit of an eye opener, I placed 17th. That made me a little worried about the rest of the season, but after that I started improving my finishes. I did complete the Stoney Creek Marathon, placing 9th in my class. Later in the summer, on my home turf (the Ruby race) I placed 5th. That was my first podium finish in sport class. After that I grabbed two more podium spots (a 4th and another 5th) and a 6th place as well. I ended up finishing the the series in 5th place, much better than the top 10 I was hoping for.
Unfortunately I didn't end up making it out to a 6 or 12hour endurance event this year. Just too busy for a race like that, which pretty much consumes a whole weekend. But I did improve considerably at Iceman. Not the 20 minute improvement I had been hoping for, but I did knock 14 minutes off my time. That was good for 45th out of 105 racers in my class. Iceman, a 27 mile point to point mountain bike race, is one of the coolest events I have ever been to. It's the largest single day mountain biking event in the US, attracting over 2500 racers, plus lots of family and friends. It was really fun this year since we had rented a house in Traverse City that was large enough to allow us to invite our entire team over for dinner the night before the race and for an after party the night following it. Check out the video below on the race. This was produced by my friend Mike, who was the official videographer of the race. He has a lot of talent producing videos like this. Visit him at http://www.mashersmedia.com/ or click the link to his blog on the right.
After Iceman I was really bummed to see the mountain bike season come to an end. I did a few cyclocross races this fall. They're a lot of fun, but I still prefer hitting the trails with my mountain bike though. Maybe because I still really struggle with cyclocross and finish in the bottom of the pack. We'll see if I can improve those results next year. Maybe I will have more fun than.
What I did figure out this year is that I seem to prefer the longer races. Next year I am looking forward to testing myself with more endurace type events, like the Lumberjack 100 I posted about last week and hopefully a couple 6 or 12 hour events. The other thing I am looking forward to is getting my new bike built up. Shortly after Iceman I tore down my geared mountain bike and sold the frame, fork and wheelset on E-bay. Scott Quiring is building me a custom titanium 29er frame. It should be done soon and I am really stoked about building it up.
More than anything though, in 2007 I gained or strengthened some great friendships with my teammates. That's what makes this so much fun. No matter how tired I get or if I feel like quitting, there is always someone there encouraging me on and celebrating the finish at the end. I'll post up my official goals for 2008 here in the next couple days. That way everyone can help hold me to them.