PREVIOUS COLUMNS: MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE
by John Petrylak
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I trained for every possible scenario. High cadence, low cadence, gaps on a climb, tight twisty single track, a sprint finish. I mean I did every kind of interval training you could think of. The one thing I didn't train for was a heat index of 105!
Marathon Nationals was like riding on the surface of the sun. I had a good start and felt great until the heat really got intense around mile 35. I hung in there but my body was not very interested in pedal a bicycle it was more interested in stopping a heat stroke from happening. I got in with a good group and we kept each other motivated until the end; I came home with a nice shiny bronze medal.
After it was all said and done I realized one thing....I want a Stars and Stripes jersey! So we are heading to Arkansas for the 2017 Marathon Nationals.
After all the preparation and driving to GA it occurred to me that we have some damn good mountain bike racing right here in VA! I love racing my mountain bike; weather there are 400 people on the line or 40 it doesn't matter I just want to race.
The VORS race series has been so awesome. After a 5 hour effort at Bedford, slamming single track with the Staunton crew and hitting my home trails at Walnut Creek I am pumped to get the 2nd half of the season going.
I have had some incredibly good luck this year for sure, hopefully we can keep Lady Luck on our side. Unfortunately others have seen their fair share of mechanicals and bad luck.
During the Montgomery Hall Park race Andy Rhodes and I had an epic (friendly) battle going on for an hour and a half. To me it felt like a World Cup XC race! I lead at the beginning then he slipped around me and put down some crazy attacks on the climbs; it was all I could do to keep him in sight. We raced hard from wire to wire with Richard Serton right on us in 3rd position. Unfortunately a broken chain on Andy's bike kept us from a sprint photo finish.
After it was all said and done we had a blast hanging out cooking hotdogs and catching up after the race.
Did I mention Andy rode his bike to the race and then back home. ROCK STAR!
After having just raced the past 3 weekends it was time to race the very first place I rode my bike in VA 12 years earlier. Walnut Creek is a nice mix of old school single track with a mixture of fast flowing trails and fun rocky rooty descents.
After a quick scan of the preregistration (you know you all do it too) I noticed the 2015 NUE Series champion Keck Baker was coming to Charlottesville to lay a serious beat down on us mortals.
Feeling the effects from the previous 3 weeks of racing at the start of the Chimney Chase it was impossible to hold Keck's pace up those short climbs. At first I could see a glimpse of him a turn up then it became 2 turns and eventually I was alone in second place.
So I gritted my teeth focused ahead and began to see what I could do to get some time back.
After I popped up the last steep climb on the red loop there was Keck with a C02 in hand fixing a tire that eventually was not repairable. For the rest of the first lap I raced like an escaped prisoner with a blood hound on my scent. Looking behind me for any sign of Keck and riding as hard as I could!!!
On the start of the second lap I found out I wasn't being chased by Keck but the young guys Sam Roach and Charlie Ormsby were coming after me. 3 hard laps later I got the win!
After 4 weeks of racing I was ready for a break. That didn't happen!
I began working with my coach and "winner of mountain bike everything in world" Jeremiah Bishop the week after the Chimney Chase.
No rest until November for me.
Until then I will always be chasing.
ABOUT John Petrylak
At 37 years old with 2 busy kids involved in travel soccer, karate and ballet I gotta get creative sometimes to fit in my training. If it wasn't for my wife Amanda keeping things together none of this could happen.
I grew up riding my bicycle everywhere it was my most prized possession! That turned into riding and eventually racing dirt bikes. I raced motocross off and on from the early 90's through 2009. During this time I always rode my mountain bike to cross train but I was never serious about racing it. Then I was invited to participate in a 24 hour race on a 4 man team in 2010. After the first lap I was hooked!
I sold my dirt bike, started losing weight and rode the wheels off my mountain bike. Cycling has brought so many wonderful people into our lives and has created too many wonderful family memories to count. I started racing my mountain bike late in life but I'm happy to make up lost time!