What is Short Track? It’s like cyclocross, but with mountain bikes. What is cyclocross? Short-form off-road bicycle racing. The difference here is the features are bigger/bumpier, and there are no hurdles requiring dismounts. You can do it on a cross bike, and some do successfully, but it’s probably easier on a mountain bike. The series is weekly from June to July at the local motocross track. It’s a good time and a great way to spend a Monday night.

I had previously dabbled in Short Track two years ago with a pair of races, winning one in the beginner category. I moved up in groups for the the start of last year, placed close to dead last, and hung it up; without significant mountain biking effort, I wasn’t going to get any better and at the time I had no desire to put that effort it.

Come this year, with Leadville in my sights and a new bike, I went back out for it and the results were pretty surprising with five podiums in eight events, a win for the June half, and a 2nd overall for the entire thing, which was decided when I put together an absolutely garbage final race to drop my season-long lead to a Cat 1 roadie friend.

The final race of the year also has a team relay. I was in charge of organizing our two teams and we came away with a 2nd place in that. Pretty sweet. Not so sweet was the crash I had during this, which three weeks later still has me nursing a pretty gaping hole in my hip and a golf ball sized collection of fluid. I figured I’d be safe by ending other racing two weeks before Leadville, but I thought wrong.

I can attribute the new speed to mountain biking a good bit more (600 miles already this year as opposed to 300 total in the past six), but I think mostly my insanely sweet new [as of the beginning of the season] bike; the damned thing simply sticks and goes like hell.

Of note, I didn’t win a single race. 2nd place is becoming my jam and I suppose I’m okay with it as it’s not too terrible and I’m tall enough that I usually stand above 1st anyway.

Next year I move up to Cat 1. Should be interesting, but even more interesting is how this new ability should translate to the cyclocross season that’s just around the corner. Super excited.