Two weeks ago, Santa Cruz Bicycles hooked us up with our new race weapons. I received the perfect bike for the Annadel XC race, the new generation Tallboy 2 C. I was finally able to take all the boxes of new parts that I had waiting for this day, and build up this brand new whip! Thank you to Santa Cruz Bicycles for providing me with this amazing rig. And Enve Composites, Fox racing Shox, Shimano, and Thomson for making this bike come alive.

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I knew that I would have to redeem myself after Downieville’s underwhelming result by pinning it on the somewhat rocky trails of Annadel. So I did. The road start was sketchy as always, with a couple young guns drawing out the pack as they sprinted down Sonoma ave. I tried to stay smart, sit in as much as possible to get ready for the funnel effect as we hit the first road climb and then dirt.

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It worked, I ended up in the top 4-5 and held my position through the start/finish arch where Leipheimer, Hosey, Finnerty, Gibson and I had already created a sizeable gap between the rest of the racers. I kept telling myself to just hold their wheels and keep contact as we crested the first short technical dirt climb and began the somewhat technical descending to the north side of the park. I managed to hold on to the three leaders until the first long climb, where they slowly pulled away from me. Thinking back, I should have stuck with them a bit longer, but I tried to conserve as much as possible as I was worried about the climbs later in the race, where last year I really began to suffer. When I crested the top of the first climb I thought to myself that it felt a lot shorter than last year, happy to still feel strong and ready to power on. The rest of the race went really smoothly and I basically raced myself because I was in no-man’s land between 3rd and 5th place, though many times I saw a lingering cloud of dust from Finnerty who finished a minute ahead of me. To keep motivated I constantly told myself that I don’t see anybody behind me, but someone is there. I needed to have that feeling that I was being chased, so I created a false fear, and continued to push forward. I finally made it to the final fire road descent where I turned the suspension to descend mode and let the Tallboy do what it does best, fly over the rough stuff.

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I was so happy to cross the line with 4th place in the bag and my fastest Annadel race time in the books.

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Congrats to Michael Hosey for taking the win and Leipheimer and Finnerty coming in 2nd and 3rd. Also to Ryan Gibson who took first overall in the Expert category! Nice work out there! Oh ya, Gizmo my Fiance’s and my Pup came with me up on the podium. He’s a great mascot!

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I was surprised that I didn’t even cramp and I always cramp! Maybe I had more in the tank than I thought. I swear, new bikes make you faster!

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