Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Upcoming early-season races

The start of the 2012 season is about to begin soon with some pretty epic races.  One race I have been wanting to do for some time is finally coming to fruition this season.  I will be heading down to Guatemala for the 4-stage El Reto del Quetzal race.  I will be partnering up with another fellow Oregonian, Nelson Snyder.  The race used to only include 3 stages, but this year they have included a 4th stage (a 13K time trial).

It's going to be a good change of scenery from what we have been experiencing here in Bend, OR the last few weeks.  The local temps have hovered in the 40's and as of the last few days we have received over a foot of snow and more is expected.  From what I can see on the radar forecast for Guatemala, temps should be in the high 60's, low 70's with mostly sun and a few days of rain.  All in all it will be an experience to enjoy and log some solid race miles to help get the legs in shape for what's ahead this season.

Nelson and I have spent a few days riding together to get accustomed to each others' strengths and weaknesses.  The team-style of stage racing is very unique in the fact that you must stay within 2 minutes of each other or you will be penalized (time added to your finishing time).  I'm not sure how many other American riders will be participating in the event, haven't seen the registered rider list posted as of yet.  I do know that will post results daily. The race dates are March 8-11.

Once I get back from Guatemala, hopefully the snow will be melted away in Bend so that I will be able to prepare for the Whiskey Off-Road 50 race in April.  This is a race I have done once (3 years ago), and am looking forward to doing again.  Riding in Prescott, AZ is pretty sweet, completely different than in Bend.  The race is at higher elevation and the temps are certain to be n the 80's if not higher.  Last year Todd Sadow (Epic Rides) decided to include a Pro division category and get many sponsors to pitch in some cash to add some incentive.  That incentive is a total purse prize of $30,000 this year with the men's and women's winner taking home $5000.  Last years' winner was none other than Bend resident Chris Sheppard...who will be returning to defend his title, as will many other strong Pro's.

I will take a short break in May and begin to really focus on the season starting in June.  It's going to be a long season this year (racing into late October) so I am starting the season a  little slower than I have in the past.  I'm excited to represent ProAir HFA again as my title sponsor, and hope to stand on the podium at a few events this season.

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