After an awesome season with Transition Bike Co, I am going to be parting ways. It was a great year with ups and downs, with some firsts and some (almost) DFL’s. At Team Robot HQ we’ve got some exciting new things in the works for 2012, but before we go there I just wanted to say thanks to Kevin, Kyle, Lars, Cam n’ Sam, Metz, Jill and Bryn and everyone else at Transition that helped make my 2011 better than your 2011.
(Start playing this music before reading any more)
2011 started off on a strong foot with a podium at the first race of the year up at Beacon Hill in Spokane. 3rd place and $150 and I broke even out of the gate. Dinner at Taco Time in Spokanistan to celebrate. Yum?
I finished finals at 4pm on May 4, and at 5pm I was rolling in style with Lars in the Sprinter on my way across the country for my first big multi-week race trip. Game on. I learned more in this one trip than I had in entire seasons prior.
First real stop was at Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire. Practiced on bone dry dirt, raced in the pouring rain… the story of downwhill.
P.S. that “mountain” was actually pretty fun, but the race course was painful. Uphill rock gardens + pedaling + no entrance speed= not awesome. Jill won this race, and (I think) every other race she entered in the U.S. for the rest of the trip. I didn’t win… anything.
The best part of the summer was getting to roll with Lars, Bryn and Jill in the van. Most of the time they just heckled me for what I ate, how I ate, how I rode, how I practiced, my bike setup, my music selection, my choice to run socks w/ sandals, etc. But in between the heckling I learned a lot about racing. It’s serious business and the guys at the top have worked their asses off to get there. It was awesome to get to watch and learn from some of the best riders in the world.
One time Bryn even smiled at me. Once.
After the U.S. Open it was off to Germany and then the World Cup in Austria. This was after my qualifying run at Leogang, where I came in 220th or something after crashing my brains out. Twice. Colin Meager took this photo and wrote this, and I quote:
“Reality sets in for Charlie Sponsel; +1:02.79 does not make the big dance”
Back to back wins at Schweitzer and then Port Angeles=sweet. First ever pro win followed nicely with a second win. Kyle Thomas came in second place and wrote some very nice things about me on his blog. I took a different route and decided to hate on everyone I beat, because I’m clearly better than them.
Where do you go to cash a big check? Is there a bigger bank available?
Mo money mo problems.
Not really though, because when you have more money, you’re a lot more patient and able to put up with those problems. The rain kind of rolls of your back when you have more money. Anyone who told you money can’t buy happiness is an idiot. Especially when you combine money with winning.
First time driving across the country
First time switching seats at 75mph while driving across the country
First time in NYC
First time in Europe
First World Cup
First pro win
First big Happy Gilmore check
Thanks for the great year Transition!
In other news, here are some sweet pictures of cats that look like Hitler: