UPDATE: Sam Schultz | Missoula XC
This past weekend was the 4th annual of my hometown Pro XCT, the Missoula XC. And to be honest, I was dreading it. The Missoula XC has been one of my favorite races from the beginning and I am incredibly lucky to have a National Series race right in my backyard, but, after spending the second year in a row putting all of my energy into troubleshooting my back issues rather than racing, the thought of being on the sidelines again, explaining to everyone why I wasn’t racing, was killing me.
Luckily, rather than coming up with an excuse to leave town for the weekend, I decided to embrace it, and it turned out to be an awesome time. I got to host Alex and Max at my house and as soon as the racers started popping up around town I began to get excited. It was great to see everyone and the whole Missoula XC crew put on a ridiculously fun event. It is amazing how much the community gets behind the race. I am lucky to call this place home.
Even though I wasn’t racing, I got to do a big first for me—feed/tech zone duty. It’s kind of crazy that in the last 15 years of traveling the circuit, I have never handed a bottle to a rider and I found myself with more nervous energy in the feed zone than I typically have on the start line. I certainly didn’t want to screw anything up and I went over (what should have been) the obvious with Max and Alex more times than I should have (sorry guys.
Once the race started and I began handing bottles I was loving it. I mean, I would rather be out there throwing elbows and suffering like a dog, but it’s always good to experience things from a different perspective and the racing was exciting. Scott would call between laps to check in on the racing and I was so focused on getting the riders their bottles that I didn’t usually know their positions. Luckily Scott was able to relay that information to me from the live coverage. Despite Max taking a fall while in the lead, he and Alex each had solid races and I got them bottles every lap without screwing up too badly.
I’ve always had a lot of respect for team managers and mechanics, but after getting more of a first-hand idea of what it’s like, I am prompted to throw out a huge thanks to John Muller, Paul Pagano, and Rory Mason for being so awesome and as always, a MASSIVE thanks to Scott Tedro for being the most supportive guy I know. You all rock!
Up next, I will be heading to Colorado Springs for US Cup finals to see the battle for the US Cup belt! It will be great to check out the racing and catch up with Scott and the rest of the team who didn’t make it to Missoula.
I can’t wait to be back in the racing mix, but until then, I’ll check in with you guys again soon from the sidelines!