Mark and I went on a whirlwind trip to Bend, Oregon so he could compete in his first ever National Championship road race. He debated for days whether or not we should even go. He caught a virus and was not feeling very good. He would have good and bad days but was not quite up to par. The weather forecast also predicted rain the morning of the race - and with the race beginning at 8:00 am at the Mt. Bachelor Ski resort with a 15 mile descent... it sounded miserable.
To complicate things the semester at BYU started this week. Mark had to teach an orientation Tuesday morning and then teach his first day of class Friday morning - 8:00am. Bend, Oregon is about 650 miles away. Monday he felt good and it looked like the weather might cooperate so we left Tuesday around 2:00 after orientation and a last minute lunch with Christian and Robbie (who was in town). We drove half way Tuesday and arrived in Bend on Wednesday. Mark was not feeling good on Wednesday but it looked like the weather would be good for his race, with the storm arriving Thursday afternoon.
Thursday morning was clear and cool.
After almost freezing on the downhill at the beginning, Mark was able to get into a four man break.
(look for "Volo" on Mark's shoulder and the red on his shorts)
They were able to hold off the pack (about 70 riders) for the rest of the race.
At one point Brendan Sullivan (who eventually won) broke away from the lead group and Mark went with him. As soon as there was some distance between them and the group, Brendan started attacking Mark, slowing way down and then surging ahead. Mark stayed with him for a few minutes of this and then just dropped back to the rest of the lead group exhausted. Two riders from the main pack bridged up to the lead group while Mark was ahead.
Mark was pleased to finish 5th overall.
It was fun to see Mark's brother, Dave, win the 55-59 National Championship!
Thirty minutes after the race was over we packed up and headed back to the hotel,
showered and drove 11 hours home.
Next year the race is in Ogden.
all pictures taken from usa cycling