May has been a major transition month for me for the past 4 years. The beginning of May closes another academic year into the summer break. Weather is also dressing up more like pre-summer than post-spring, here in Durango. Everything is green, as the rivers are gushingly flowing with water from the melting snow peaks in Colorado. It’s now actually reasonable for hippies to wonder around with their Jesus sandals and t-shirt, unlike in January…
It has been real busy lately – finishing the semester and my senior research that examined the effects of breathing supplemental oxygen on cycling performance and physiological responses. During all the time devoted to that research I managed to race road collegiate races almost every weekend, leading up to the great finale – the Road Collegiate Championships in Ogden, Utah, the hometown of the Jamis MTB team. This year, the Fort Lewis College team was composed of many talented youngsters, I would say the team was abundant with Watts yet a lil lacking with experience. The road race was pretty hectic from the first lap, and I was marked as the person to sit on his wheel by every team, we couldn’t really take control of the road race, and as we got to the last long climb of north Ogden, there was a lead breakaway with big enough gap we couldn’t catch. I ended up chasing all the leftovers from the breakaway, and finishing in 6th place. Yet, we closed that weekend on a very positive note – we won the Team Time Trial Championships !!, it was a tight competition, as the top five schools were all in 30 seconds gap! Even though we suffered like hell against the headwind and thought there’s no way we finished in the top 10 as we crossed the line, our flow and rotation worked like a swiss clock. Each one of us on the time trial team was so focused on getting this thing over as soon as possible because it hurt on the front, or drafting and taking cover from the wind when in the back. Total focus on the job to do at the moment. That was incredible.
May is also the sign to take a mid-season “breezer” – just a week to ten days to regenerate from all the road collegiate races, early season races and winter training. It’s been an annual training recipe for me for the past few years. It’s so easy to just “keep on going” from one race to the other and find yourself physically broken to pieces in the middle of the summer, the MTB high season. Not a good time for that. Since my dad decided to visit me too, the timing couldn’t get any better. I have planned ahead, almost day by day, how I’m going to spend my vacation with my dad together. My dad is the origin for my love in mountain biking, he’s the one who got me into riding mountain bikes, and he still does that today, at the age of 60, riding and guiding mountain bike trips in Israel and Europe. So I decided to spend a week in Durango and a week in Moab – needless to say we covered A LOT of trails, remembering good old days when I was about half as tall and he showed me the trails in Israel.
Now, I’m back in Durango, just in time for the “Durango world championships” – the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. It’s the biggest bicycle event here in Durango, and it’s huge. It’s funny how it’s not a US calendar race for mountain biking or road racing, but yet it’s such a huge bike event! People from all over the country come to “beat the train” from Durango to Silverton, 50 miles road race with two mountain passes, each at almost 11,000 feet. If that’s not enough, the next day is the downtown criterium, mountain bike race also a time trial on the third day. It really is a like a world championships weekend here in Durango! I invite you to come and try to beat the train!