This year our club was hit hard by old age. Our top point-winners from last year have nearly all graduated, but our two stalwart workhorses, Josh Smithson and James Francisco have kept the stoke alive.
We were able to sit Josh down only long enough for him to type out his memories from the previous three weeks of racing, as he gears up for the last two races of the Mid West conference’s 2018 season, Indianapolis and Copper Harbor.
His words have been edited for clarity. Enjoy his storytelling!
Louisville Race Weekend
Our homefield race weekend started with a XC race at Ft. Duffield that started with a very steep road climb and was a true rumble in the jungle. Off the bat the pace was a bit much, but I eventually crossed the finish line. After the XC races were done, the rain started to pour, but the DH race went on as planned. James remarkably was a few seconds short of a Strava KOM in the pouring rain with his winning run.
The next day we woke up early and created a short track course on the spot because most of Eva Bandman was beginning to flood. I did a little better than the previous race, but I still had some trouble facing my weakness, grass courses. James raced a good race while experimenting with pickle handups.
Mizzou Race Weekend
This weekend started out with the Mizzou DH. A literally 30-second long course consisting of a turn, another turn, and a creek jump at the end. James finished 5th with a 30 second run finishing just 2 seconds behind the winner. The cross country was a rocky technical course where I held my own finishing 9th in a large collegiate field.
The next morning after hanging out with our Mizzou professor, friend James and Josh raced hard and represented the team well while enjoying Mizzou’s 5-star short track course.
Lindenwood Race Weekend
After hanging with our friends at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, James crushed the rather lengthy downhill course and came out with a 2nd-place finish. Shortly following the downhill race, James and I raced the hilly and rocky cross-country race on the Zombie trails. Thankfully I did not get lost in the forest during my pre-ride.
The next morning after a successful night of camping, we headed for the short track course located at the Lindenwood University campus. The course was 95% grass with drainage rock intersects every once in a while. After having a good start, within the first quarter mile, I got a flat on the first rock. I then dismounted and jogged 2 laps while eating Jolly-Ranchers and a s’mores handout. I still managed to not finish last.
This coming week’s stop on the MTB adventure is Marian. This weekend will basically determine whether or not we’ll be able to contend for defending our place as Club Regional Champs since Regionals is in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and we’re not sure we’ll be able to make the 14-hour trek. James has been crushing it on the downhills and I’ve been getting my body across the finish line, so we’ll do everything we can this weekend.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you out on the trails!