David Duncan - USA Cycling Cross Country National Championships

After a full day of traveling I finally arrived at the Dulles International Airport. Upon landing the first thing that I noticed was how humid it was, it reminded me of being in Hawaii. We spent the night at a local hotel and planned on starting the drive to Snowshoe, West Virginia in the morning. The scenery on the drive was gorgeous from wide open farmland to dense and lush green forests. After arriving to the race venue I picked up my bike and brought it back to our hotel room. Being thoroughly exhausted from all the traveling I decided to relax, get a good nights sleep and build the bike in the morning. Once my bike was built I headed out to the race course to do a couple laps familiarizing myself with the course. Luckily I was able to meet up with Jeremy, my old teammate when I raced for Adams State University, during the pre-ride. Once I felt comfortable with the course I headed back to the team house. After having a good dinner and getting my bike ready for race day I headed to bed to get some sleep before my short track race on Friday. Upon waking up I looked outside and realized that not had rained over night and knew how muddy the course was going to be. Although as the day went on the weather got worse and my race was delayed from 4:44 to 6:25 due to lightning. Luckily the weather eventually subsided and the race wasn’t cancelled. So I got dresses and started my warm-up routine. As race time grew nearer I pedaled over to staging early to ensure that I would get a good starting position. This payed off because I was able to get in the first rom of people without call-ups! The race started off great; I was able to pedal my way up to the top 20 in the first few laps. Being in a field stacked with some really fast racers like Howard Grotts, Todd Wells, and Christopher Blevins, I was excited to be doing this well. However on the descent of my 5th lap I slammed my seat on a rock so that it was pointing up. This prevented me from sitting or standing in an efficient position. I immediately began losing positions. Short track may not have ended well but it showed that my legs had the horsepower to do what it takes so I was determined to have the race of my life in XC on Sunday. Saturday went by slowly being full of ore race delays due to weather. I went out and cheered on my teammates racing. When their races were over I wen out for a quick recovery spin to get my legs ready for Sunday. with my race starting around 10:30, I woke up, had a good breakfast, and started my warm-up around 9:30. After completing my warm up I went to the staging area about 15 minutes before the race started. I received a call up of 30th on the line; Since they were running us six wide this placed me in the fifth row of the start. The start went smoothly and I stayed in roughly the same position. For the first few minutes of the race I felt great and was able to steadily crawl my way up through the field. However after completing the root section bad luck struck once again as I had another mechanical with my seat. Feeling an extreme amount of frustration I pedaled to the tech zone which was luckily only about a half mile of racing away. It was agonizing to watch as people pedaled by while I was standing in the tech zone getting my bike fixed. However about 2 minutes later I was back on the bike and began to try and catch back up. On the next long hill I will able to catch and pass a group of 4 riders. After This I focused on trying to bridge the gap between me and the next set of riders as quickly as possible. My forward momentum was cut short however as I came through the rock garden; Almost immediately after entering I found myself flipping over the handlebars. Although it was not a particularly bad crash I found it hard to get back into a rhythm and soon found myself discouraged. I still pushed forward and continued to try and chase down more people. On my second lap I was able to pass another rider and began to close the gap to the next rider. Coming up to the rock garden for the second time I was determined to make it through without crashing. I was able to make it through and climbed the final hill before starting my third lap. Starting my third lap I was able to see another rider about thirty to forty seconds in front of me, I put then began to reel him in. I was finally able to make the pass in the first of two major rock gardens on the course. Knowing that this was most likely going to be my last lap due to how far behind that I had fallen I gave the rest of the lap everything that I had. I made it through the rest of the lap without any mishaps and was indeed pulled at the end of my third lap. Although I was disappointed to be pulled a small part of me was happy that the pain was over. Even though nationals didn't go as I had hoped this Year I am now more determined to come back stronger than ever next year! I would also like to congratulate my teammates who also raced: Lauren Desrosiers, Tyler Sargaent, Sean Dickie, Alexander Hill, Stella Sisneros, Josh Tajiri, and Cody Schwartz.