Day 4 of Cross Nationals had the best racing so far. The Utah crew came away with 3 more podiums with Ali, Eric and John Burton and some other solid results.
Tanner raced hard but had some bad luck. Three riders got off the front and Tanner was in the next group of 5 or 6 for the first few laps. He was feeling good but crashed pretty hard in a slick section. He crashed yet again and lost a bunch of positions but hung on to finish 14th. After the race, we discovered one of his rear brake pads was fully engaged on the rim after the 2nd crash. So he basically rode the 2nd half of the race with his brakes on. It was muddy enough that he just thought it was some mud making noise so he didn't get a bike change. Another learning experience for us. John Burton,, who won a number of UTCX single speed races this year, had a great ride to finish 5th. It's a bummer Tanner didn't have some better luck or we could have had two Utah Juniors high up. I was proud of Tanner's effort and was a nervous wreck during the race. It's much worse watching your kid than doing your own race. I'm not sure I could take it all the time. Even with bad luck he had two top 15 finishes in National Championship races this year.
Ali put on a great show in the best race of the day. He was off the front for a few laps then with a group of 3 and then 4. The group included 2 former National Champs and a top Elite racer. In the end, Jonathan Baker and Justin Robinson got by Ali who held off Brandon Dwight for 3rd. A great race and a great effort. Bo Pitkin was equally impressive turning his 108 call up spot into a 17th place finish.
Eric had a super race as well. He was solidly in the top 5 for the first half of the race then flatted coming down a steep off-camber hill. He rode the falt for about a minute to the pits and lost a number of places. After a bike change, he chased back to 5th and held off former National Champ Ryan Leech to make the podium.
Dr. Cross, got things rolling with a 22nd in the 50 - 54 this morning followed by Art and Jon G breaking the top 20 in the 40 - 45 with Art having bad luck as well. Matt Ohran finished in the top half as did Mike Kracht after starting near the back of 150+ guys. Kelly Glen was just ahead of Mike when he flatted and had to run about half a lap.
The crowds were larger and louder today and the weather warmer. The slick ice softened up to a thin layer of mud making the course much faster. Another good day to be at the races.
We're on the road tomorrow as soon as the Elite men's race is over. I'm looking forward to getting home but not looking forward to the ride.
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