That's the best way to describe the upcoming racing at Cascade. Have you checked the start list?!? This field is stacked! I'm looking forward to some quality racing and I'm feeling confident with my fitness coming in. It feels like I haven't raced in ages though I got back from piggy-backed stage races only 2 weeks ago. I feel like a different rider now and I've already laid down some expectation on myself despite the stellar field in Bend this year.
And after Cascade is concluded, I get to jump on a plane to Italy for some sponsor-related activities! Joao and I will be representing Bissell and Pinarello for the Granfondo Pinarello race/ride on Sun. July 20. Pinarello is one of our biggest sponsors with the half million dollars in product they provide us with each year and so it would be awesome if we could come and win the Pinarello sponsored Granfondo riding our sweet Prince bikes. The event takes place in the Treviso/Venice area which I've heard is beautiful. I'm excited but I also know I have a job to do!
In between my intense training blocks of late, I was able to sneak in my first camping trip of the year and first ever w/ Rebecca. The area is near Estes Park and was a 5 mile hike in near the North St. Vrain river. It is a beautiful area and our site was right next to the raging river. Very cool. We were also visited by a family of mountain goats (7) in the morning who were just grazing and staring at us about 100 ft. from above.
I also went on my first ride on Trail Ridge Rd in the Rocky Mountain National Park last week. I went w/ Frank Overton and some of his Fascat athletes. We had a great time riding and observing the breath-taking views - at 12,000ft, that can be taken a couple different ways. :)
But enough of this "summer fun" stuff. It's time to smash up the competition at Cascade! Bissell is bringing a very strong team and I think we should have all kinds of options to animate the race. Plus, I'll be racing with (against) Scott Nydam and Logan Garey - the first time we've all 3 been in the same race since we were teammates back in 2005. As I often remind Scott, "This is for Nick's (Sports Garage owner) undying love!" Thanks for reading. I'll try to post race and/or Italy updates when I can.
We saw lots of Columbines in full bloom on the hike to our campsite.
A view from a bridge near our campsite.
Trail Ridge Rd at around 12,000 ft. elevation. Oh, THAT'S why they close this road in the winter. pic taken by Gregg.