AJ Snovel...remember the name.
AJ and his dad Jason came up from Davis, CA on Wednesday and stayed through Sunday night. AJ competed in all three events in preparation for his big Stage Race up on Quebec, Canada in two weeks (Tour de l'Abiditi). The Tour de l'Abitibi is a stage race for riders 17-18 years of age. He was selected to race on a team of riders that were selected from all across the country. Having just competed in the Tour de Nez, and Nevada City Classic road races (2 very challenging races) the week prior he unfortunately wouldn't have his "A" game for Nationals.
AJ currently rides for the Davis Bike Club Team, but it won't be long before a strong Domestic team picks him up. The kid has huge potential and is a super cool dude. In the short time that they stayed with us, we became good friends and we will be keeping in touch. Junior Nationals will be in Bend again for the next 2 years, so if he hasn't already made the jump to racing in Europe I'm sure we'll see them again this time next year. Not to mention that the Masters National Championships will also be held in Bend, OR during 2011, so Jason (AJ's dad) who is also a strong rider will also be competing in that...just another excuse for them to make the trip north.
With all the excitement of Junior Nationals going on, I also had my own agenda for the weekend...Pickett's Charge XC race (Oregon XC Series Finals). The course was held at the Wanoga Sno Park trail system this year up towards Mt. Bachelor. This was a good change from years past, where the race as held on trails around teh Phils' Trail system. The recently built trails up at Wanoga include lots of technical, demanding riding, and lots of rocky sections. The course consisted of a 12 mile loop, which we would do 2 laps on, for a total of 25 miles including the starter loop.
With the majority of the "big guns" (Adam Craig, Chris Sheppard, Ryan Trebon, Carl Decker and Ben Thompson) missing from this race the door would be wide open to take home top honors. Brig Brandt would still be the odds-on favorite but I was sure to not make it easy for him. I quickly lead the race from the beginning singletrack section with Bruce Cole-Baker and Brig following behind. After 5 miles Brig came around to take the lead.
We rode together for several miles before he opened up a 20 sec gap. At the end of lap 1, I clipped a rock with my pedal and it sent me over the bars. I realized that I had a huge cut on my knee as well and that something was wrong with my derailleur or chainrings because I couldn't shift into my big chainring. (After the race I found that I bent the big chainring). Matt Russell had passed me and I was now in 3rd to start the 2nd lap. I quickly pulled back Matt and then tried to close the gap on Brig but stayed within 30 sec to 1 min the rest of the lap. I rode good enough for 2nd, but a costly error cost me time on the trail and time in the hospital. Nearly 200 riders tested their skills on the Series Finale course that will certainly go down as one of the better courses for 2010.
1 Brandt Brig ReboundSPL 01:44:43.60
2 Anderson Sloane Pro Air 01:45:49.20
3 Russell Matt KENDAUSA 01:46:05.70
4 Rogers Bruce Hutch's 01:53:43.10
5 Kem Omer Jamis 01:55:45.60
6 Ceccorulli James Team Dirt 01:57:44.90
7 Cole-Baker Bruce Sunnyside 01:58:26.50
8 Schmitt Damian Sunnyside 01:59:15.80
9 Carwile Steve 02:18:10.60
DNF Myers Jonathan Team S+M
DNF Swanson Chad Team S+M
Immediately after the race I went to the Medical tent to have my knee attended to.
A bigger gash than I anticipated, stitches would be required. After getting cleaned up, bandaged and iced, and then waiting for the awards ceremony it was off to the hospital to get stitches.