Three reasons why Jason Moeschler will have a career-best performance in the Nevada City Classic Sunday:
And Erin Alders
OK, so Moeschler’s top-tier talent will be in play somewhere in there, but even the Nevada City native himself says he’s counting on carrying the local banner better than ever in the Men’s Pro 1-2 race. He’s entered at the pro level five times prior, with his best finish ranking 18th overall.
Considering the field in which he competes, he doesn’t exactly consider such a showing chop liver. Still, he started the last three of those races subsequent to waking red-eyed after taking a red-eye back to NorCal one day after competing in an East Coast national mountain bike competition.
Remember that refreshing rest you got the last time you folded yourself into a cramp-inducing coach seat? Go ahead and try to get some winks after cranking through tough terrain alongside some of the top talent in the country, only to slip into that non-horizontal sleep before walking up the jetway just hours later to welcome another California morn.
How do you think you’d then perform in the race considered by many to be the most difficult, demanding – albeit exciting – 1.1-mile course in the country?
Eighteenth place, suddenly, looks stellar – until now.
“I can say with confidence, I should do better this year than I’ve done before,” said Moeschler, who was without a pro mountain bike race to migrate to this weekend. “I can’t say I’ll win it, but I can say that I haven’t been this well-prepared in a long time. My training is going good, I’m fresh and I’m excited.”
Not only did Moeschler get a break from his normally hectic mountain bike schedule, he also had pretty serene surroundings in which to unwind. He and his girlfriend, Alders, joined a group from the spin class he teaches at South Yuba Club for an eight-day hiatus in Maui.
But could he and Alders, who will compete in the women’s race Sunday, just enjoy soaking up some sun while sinking their toes into warm sandy beaches?
Are you kidding?
“We flew our bikes out there and rode every day but one,” Moeschler admitted. “Hey, we skipped one day.”
Why wouldn’t the two take their bikes along, after all their rides are what brought them together – and keep them together, on daily rides – in the first place. While in Maui, the couple climbed 9,500 feet to crest the Haleakala Crater summit at 10,023 elevation.
Just another day in the life.
“We’ve known each other for three years and have got lots and lots of mutual friends,” he said. “We met either through the (Tour of Nevada City) Bike Shop or on bike rides. It was something to do with bikes.
“We spend an incredible amount of time together on the bikes. And, you know, earlier this year my training was actually not going that good. I was doing OK, still racing, but not as much as I should have been.”
He was placing well in California mountain bike series races, typically fourth, fifth or sixth – but things weren’t progressing as he would have pleased.
“Then Erin and I started riding together a lot,” he said. “She’s super serious about her training, very disciplined about it. So why not go ride with her?
“What that turned into was me getting my best ever finish in a national event. I placed ninth last month in a time trials stage at Big Bear and ended up 22nd overall.”
And now that he’s tanned, rested and ready for the only road race he reveres, who knows what will happen? Could this be the end of the Nevada City Curse – a 44-year drought without an area cyclist claiming the championship?
“It’s the most important to me because I was born and raised here,” he said. “My whole family has deep, deep roots here. My parents have lived here all their lives and my grandparents most of their lives. So for me, it’s a thing where I’ve been here forever and it’s great to have all the local people watch me race.
“I’ve been telling Erin that in years past I’ve kind of waited for someone else to start the attack. I want to be more aggressive this year. I’m not saying I’ll be able to win, but I can say I can do better this year.”
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