Big times coming up in the next five weeks, four different races, all with some hefty drive time. Firecracker is next weekend, something like 14 hours each way in the car, which was long enough to get me to change the oil in my car (something like 10,000 miles overdue according to the Jiffy Lube guy). It was a buzzkill when I found out that Bozeman’s mountain biking power couple had pulled out, resulting in the loss of any chance of a carpool. Never the less, when I called to let a college friend know I’d be racing in her neck of the woods, I learned she had moved back to Red Lodge. Good news for me, not only do I get to catch up with an old friend, but I also gained a place to sleep for a night. Not quite sure how far from Red Lodge to Breckenridge, but I hope to get there by sometime before dark on Thursday. Once in town, looking forward to getting to catch up with Dejay, Fuzzy, Jake, and Rebecca, hoping that their tales from Italy will not leave me too jealous.
Once all the catching up has been caught up on, its gonna be time to get down to racin. All I know about Firecracker is that it’s supposed to be a hell of a good time, and a tough course. Saturday will be jam packed with Marathon Nationals, 4th of July Parade, plenty of booze, some fireworks, and hopefully plenty of shenanigans. Can’t really ask for much more to celebrate Uncle Sam’s birthday. I have no idea what to expect of myself as far as the race goes, and I’m a little worried about that whole altitude thing they have going on there in Breckenridge. The low point is somewhere around 9600 feet, and I think the last time I was at that sort of altitude was back in 03 hiking to the top of Trapper. Who knows, maybe all that climbing up in the Snake where I forced myself to breathe only through my nose might pay off. That seems doubtful though, so I guess I’ll just start to pray that spending one day getting acclimated will be enough.
I think that the Kenda Tomac crew will have a good shot at both the men’s and women’s top spot. Andy has been looking wicked strong all year, and has gotten on the podium in years past. If I remember correctly, last year Amanda was leading the women’s race, until she flatted, and tragically had neglected to bring a spare tube. Looks like Bishop has been living up at altitude to prep for a big title defense, and some of the other big cross country folks are planning to show up. Not sure of all the singlespeeders who will show up, but as usual I’ll be scared of Fuzzy. He snagged himself an overall NUE title last year with a win at Tahoe, which was also held at a high elevation. Last year he couldn't race because his tummy was hurt or something like that, so I'm willing to bet he'll be out for blood. All I’m really hoping for is to finish strong, and not get worked over by the thin air, oh yeah and it would suck to have to race through a lightning storm again.