This year’s Subaru Cup Pro XCT race was extremely challenging and fast. Taking place in Wisconsin you would never think it to be hilly, but all of the short punchy climbs on the 4 mile lap would total 500’ of elevation gain. Multiply that by 6 laps and add in 67 of the fastest Pro XCT regulars and you have yourself a race. Besides all of the short climbing it seemed as if most of the course was fairly technical singletrack loaded with plenty of twists, turns, rocks, drops, roots, and a few tight squeezes. It really reminded me of Bear Creek or French creek, but without the extended climbs which is a good thing for me. The day before the race I made the trip from PA with Travis Saeler which made the 16 hour drive seem more like 8. Our lack of rest stops had us at the venue with plenty of time to get in a few laps before going back to the hotel and hitting up the Piggly Wiggly for some food. It was a long day but there was plenty of time to rest up for the following day’s race. I was up early enough with more than adequate time to pack my race bag, check my bike over, and get nervous for a few hours so we went over to the venue early to check and see how Carolyn and Sarah were doing in the women’s race. In their race Carolyn came in 18th and Sarah in 14th out of one of the larger women’s fields so far this year. At the start of our race I had a mid-pack call up in 47th, which was much better than my starting position in TX. However that did not avoid getting stuck in the traffic jam where the double track narrowed down and entered the woods 200 yards after the start. So immediately I was off of my bike and running through the weeds trying to squeeze past a few racers stuck in the slow moving gridlock. After things got moving again it was back on the bike and single file until the next wide section would open up the course for passing. From that point on it was smooth sailing and time to have fun and start making up ground. I was steadily passing other racers each lap and it felt like I could always shift into a larger gear. The laps seemed to blur together as the race went on and before I knew it I was on the final lap and pushing hard to the finish. In the end I came in 37th and was spent after crossing the finish line. It was a great race and hopefully this event will make another appearance on the Pro XCT calendar next year.