MIA, 2011 and 2012

MIA, originally uploaded by solo_goat.

OK, back from an extended leave of absence from blog posting and updates. Bike and non-bike work has kept me busy since after Turkey day and I am now somewhat getting caught up with life in general, but somehow I do wish I had another 2 weeks off after this.

2012 will see somethings changing for me on the road side, as I switch over to the dark side that I stepped away from years ago.

In the past, I typically used early road racing to supplement my huge mileage base that I need for endurance racing. I would train, train, train and race here and there. Road racing just gave me endurance base and the fields were not too stacked. In a typical year, I was racing 3-5 24 hour events and a handful of 100 miler'ish type of events.

Speed up to the past few years. 100 milers (6/8/12 hours too) now dominate the endurance scene and the economy has change quite dramatically making the shorter endurance events more popular and making the fields quite stacked with competition. Instead of just rolling up the first climb, I am sprinting for dear life to hold on.

Hence my game plan change last year which was to hit up more the Cleveland Tuesday night crit worlds in Westlake to help with my fitness and speed and it payed off. Enough to have me up my efforts on the road side with Carbon Racing and to concentrate mostly on criterium and long road races.

On the mountain side, my schedule will mostly remain the same as it has in years and I will be concentrating on the 100 miler type of endurance events. On the 24 hour side, I will be racing Old Pueblo again as a duo and I am contemplating a few other duo and solo events as well.

On the cross side of the world, I will be making a full out effort in 2012 as I have promised myself a full season of racing for the past few years and the 24 Hours of Moab usually threw a monkey wrench in all of it. Rough plans is to start my season off with the Nittany cross race in September if it doesn't coincide with either Shenandoah or Fools Gold. If so, see you at Cross Vegas.

For those sponsors who helped me during the 2011 season - thanks for your support.

And for those continuing on for 2012, thanks in advance.

See you on the Ernesto Pain Train 2012 Tour soon.

Ernesto out


4th at Kirtland Park

Last battle in Cleveland for the cross season would be a classic battle again with Paul, John and Steve. Course was the typical layout for the venue, with a few new twists added by incorporating a jungle gym and a different set of stairs. Classic.

Gun goes off and I somehow manage the lead position going into the first corner. Through a few more twists and turns, I was still at the front but I wanted to get out of the front as I could see things had immediately got strung out.


On the straight, up the stairs and up to the sketchy section of stairs I was making the majority of time up in practice and I run into the tape trying to see who was still on my wheel. Dah. I loose three spots and I am immediately go from leading to chasing.


Steve would take the lead. Paul and John would sit in front of me for a bit, and I chased.

4 to go and I was closing after we had gapped off most of the field. Seeing me coming, John and Paul up the pace a bit.

Going onto the sketchy steps, Paul dabs and John takes off. We are now 4 riders alone.

The gap to Paul shortens, but going up the stairs with 2 laps to go, I make a pretty serious dab and have to dismount after nearly whipping out falling backwards.

I would hold on for 4th for the day, about a minute separating the top 4 again.

Would end up 6th in the series despite having only race 6 races. Bummed out I could not have raced more, but pretty happy with how things went this year and was glad to see some good hard racing go late into the year.

For now, I'll take a bit of a break and then plan out the rest of the cross year. Will be hitting up Nationals and possibly Masters Worlds, but I also have to think about a duo 24 hour race in February.

Ernesto out


3rd at Willoughby

Past Sunday was the next to last race of the NEO CX series - here's how it went down.

Got there early to pre-ride = aweosome.

Got there early to take a spill on the first warm up lap and break my brand new Sram Red front shifter = Not awesome.

Course was a tough one, the wind was bad and the run up was going to be hellish. Other then that, a few turns and a dismount and a lot of wind.

Gun goes off. I get punched in the gut and elbowed in the face to in the fight to win the first sprint up the climb to take the Oakley sunglass prize at the top to the first one to round the corner.


John takes the shades at the top. (It was a clean battle all the way to the top - but there may have been some elbows in there somewhere)

Things spread out fast as Steve and Paul put the hammer down. I get pinched a bit as I try to make my way back up to John as I battle the wind.


I push on, and soon I am by myself about 50 feet'ish behind John when I start to see we are pulling back Steve.


Just as I near John and Steve, John speeds off and I catch Steve. Steve is immediately on my wheel as John continues to sit just in front of me. I figure Steve is not going to chase so I try to bridge the gap.


John is holding the gap as I am battling back and fourth with Steve. I sit back a bit and let a gap get in between Steve and myself, hoping that he would try to get to John - with a plan that I would a big jump on the last climb of the day.

I would close the gap back down with 2 to go and Steve would take himself out in the same corner I bashed my lever up on in warmup.


I would take home 3rd on the day - Paul took a hard fought win in the wind and John would take 2nd. Guessing maybe a max of 30-40 seconds separating the 3 of us at the end.

1 more NEO race to go, bummed I am not going to be in the overall as I missed too many races. Will be the first time in a long while where I haven't done enough Cleveland cross races to get in the overall.

Ernesto out


3 days in Cinci

Here it is - better late then never, still trying to finish up some bike work and figure out if I want to glue up some tubulars or not.

Day 1
As usual, I was running late getting over to Shawn's place. Running an hour late, we made our way south towards Cincinnati. Soon we would run into traffic several times, putting us even later the expected.

The course was soft and muddy, lots of climbing and throw in a couple sets of barriers. One lap of warmup, some hill sprints to warm up and to the start line.

First muddy corner, everybody going for the win right there, and a huge crash. One guys gets up to see a frame broken in half. I get around it, but loose time in the process.

Immediately, the burn starts coming into my lungs and it is pretty obvious I did not warm up enough. Soon, the leaders would catch up to me and I would get yanked.

Very disappointing day for both Shawn and I which was a bummer as it was mostly caused because of me running late - but I would wind up with some cash for the day, so it was not a total loss.

Day 2


Day 2 brought the Java Johnny's course, a course which I did decently on a few years back so I was looking forward to racing the mostly flat and fast course.

Gun goes off and I have a decent start, sitting mid pack.

Soon, we are going by the pit. Another rider in front of me suddenly slows and swings far right and looks right and starts waving and yelling "hi" to his buddy in the pits - totally looking away from the upcoming left corner.

I continue on with the gas, pass him and go into the corner and then wham - the idiot looking the other way hits into my rear derailleur super hard as he didn't see me. Nice. He says something to me, I pedal away not noticing he bent the rear hanger.

3 corners later, I take a corner wide and sweep in tight - just like i did every time in practice as it was the fastest and safest way to get around it. but - the same idiot that hit me before, hit me again. this time, intentionally. it sent me flying, i tried to counter steer and partially rolled the tubular. Great, 2 minutes into a race and this jack ass takes me out.

I climb back on, try to catch on after pulling the tubular on and pedal on.

20'ish minutes later, I am nearly catching the back of Shawn's group and my front tire washes out and the tubular completely rolls off. it also snaps the shifter clamp band.

Game over.

Great. So much of these races are the first 4-5 minutes and needless to say it is very frustrating to get behind an idiot. And when you finally get around them, they intentionally take you out. I don't understand that logic at all.

But - hats off to Sram Neutral support. Free upgrade from a Sram Apex front shifter to a Sram Red so I could use the bike the next day.

Day 3


The last day of racing would be a tough one, the course was all soft and muddy and had a decent little climb in it. Lot's of power would be required.

We get to the venue about 3 1/2 hours early. The organizer was running late on time, so he cut ALL pre-riding of the course. I was NEVER able to ride a full complete lap during warm up as the officials would start yelling and blowing there whistles. Was a total FAIL in all of the riders minds to not let us ride all of it - especially considering they were cutting us off from riding the last 1/2 mile'ish of the course when the next race had not even started - even with lap times running over 7-8 minutes. Unreal.

Gun would go off, and I took off from the last row. Super awesome. Not.


The first few corners I get pinched, pinched again, and then I am at the back with the majority of the guys faltering on the twisty section by the road that I had cleared every time in warmup.

I play catch up, picking off a few riders here and there. I feel like I am riding the best of the 3 days so far, but soon the leaders are catching up.

I get yanked again, but end up with some cash for the day.

All in all, good eye opener for me to get my attitude adjusted before nationals, but I wish things had turned out a bit better.

Time to glue up some tubulars.

Ernesto out

Photo credit - Julie Lewis


Two 2's and OH states mention in CX mag

This past weekend was the latest of NEO cross race series, a double weekend hosted by Brett Davis.

This was the "mandatory" Halloween costume day - show up without a costume and you get a 30 minute penalty. Needless to say, everybody came in some sort of costume. I opted for the Green Lantern.

Got there early and decided to take a spin around the course and check it out - like I have done every year for the past 5 years.


Alas, according the official who apparently knows a lot of rules, I was not allowed to pre-ride when a race was going on. Must of been friends with the guy at the Cincy 3 day cross weekend a few years back that I saw going around checking pit bikes for bar end plugs because he was getting ready to not allow the bike in the pit if he found one missing.

So I continued to warm on the parts that he couldn't see - I mean the road - and I prepared for a muddy and slick'ish cross race.

Gun went off and we all went a blazing through a short lap loop.

At the garage door stream crossing, Phatty and Steve went down.

I slowed and made it, others did not.


Gaps went out immediately. I got around Phatty and joined up with John P.

I was able to ride the barriers which was good as I didn't want to deal with possible mud issues with remounting.


I soon parted ways with John and then tried to get back time on Steve. Things were slick and muddy, but I had some pretty awesome lines and I started to grab back seconds from him.


With the laps closing, I was running out of time. With about a lap and a half to go, I bobbled and lost about 10 seconds. I lost the chase to catch Steve, but rode in steady for the next 10 minutes to hold on for second.

The course was the same only reversed this day and the sun had come out somewhat and had dried things up a bit. Brett added a bridge to save us from the mud and with things tacky it was going make some corners slippy but most of them grippy.

With a smaller field the gun went off and I somehow got the hole shot for once in my life. Immediately I was off with John and Ross.


I pulled for most of the first lap, John got around me and pulled on the second and Ross was hanging in with us riding a 29er.

Pace was hot as we went back and fourth with strong pulls, then Ross slowed a bit and dropped from our group of two.


John and I would go back and fourth, pulling and sprinting as hard as we could out of the corners and on the straights trying to drop each other. John ended whacking his head off a tree in the pine section (which I think was the same one I hit really hard last year) and got cut a bit, but it was merely a flesh wound and we continued on.

Gaps were holding, but Dan creeped up on us a bit, then we upped the pace a bit as we tried to drop each other some more. I was saving a move for the last lap as the person going into the single track on the last lap would be hard to pass at the finish.


John lead in the field heading into the triple barrier that we had been jumping the whole day. Right before it, I got in front of him and ran over the barriers and remounted - and nailed it. I had a gap, but then ended up loosing it in the left hand turn by the garage. John got around me.


Through the twisty stuff, I got right back on him. Over the garage door bridge he slowed a bit thinking that the line was closer - we sprinted and he got the win by about a wheel'ish length or so. Good hard racing, congrats to John as I took home 2nd for the 2nd day.


Ohio State cross coverage:
And, in case you missed it - the Ohio State cross race got some coverage in CX magazine which has a nice article and some great pics.

You can check it out HERE

Ernesto out


Ohio State Cyclocross Championships

This past weekend was the Ohio State Cross championships, and here's how things went down.

Saturday - Single Speed:

I signed up for both the Single Speed and Masters age group, but things were going to be tight between the races as the Masters race was right after the Single Speed race. It sounded good in theory thinking about it earlier in the week.

Field was about 20'ish or so riders, some of whom I know, most of the others I did not.

Course was flat and twisty and the rains from the previous days had left the course soft and muddy in some spots. Things were drying out a bit from the little bit of sun peeking out from the clouds, but not much.

Gun went off and I started spinning out the 39x18 I had on my old Indy Fab single speed cross bike. Soon, I found myself with Nate Z and another rider off the front of the race with one lap down.

On the second lap, I put the pressure on and got a little bit of a gap but I was pushing the heart rate limits hard so I eased it back a bit to see what was going on with the rest of the field.

Nate and the other rider come back and I let them take some pulls for the next few laps. The other rider is strong, but keeps taking consistent foot dabs and bad lines so I bide my time.

Two laps later on the back straight with no wind protection and a head wind, I let the rider take a nice long pull. Right before the 3 soft corners before the 3 tight corners before the straight, I jump around him and nail all the corners as fast as I could go. I got out of the last corner and onto the finish straight with a good 7-10 second gap.

I pushed on.

Now clear of my mini lead pack, I start riding my good lines that I was hiding in the first few laps and I slowly start building a gap.


I was feeling good and the gap grew. I stayed steady with the effort and took home the Single Speed Title for 2011.


Afterwards, thinking about the effort, my trashed and dirty bike and coughing from my asthma, I decided to bag the Masters race to save all efforts for the Elite race on Sunday. In hind site, it was a great decision.

Sunday - Elite Men:

Can to the start line on the first row, with a field of about 30'ish riders. Most notable riders were John Proppy, Steve T, Paul M and Shawn A. Not doing much of the OVCX series, I did not know the majority of the others, but the Cleveland contingent was mucho strongo and a serious amount of pain was about to go down.

Gun went, all guns were a blazing and I think I either got chopped off, cut off, or bumped by at least a half dozen or so of my closest friends going for the first corner.

Through the first corners, and over the barriers, I moved into the top 4-6 riders with the pace still a little hot.

Over the small barrier, into the sand, onto the straight. Paul comes flying by and comes straight to the front to show his presence. The pace goes up even faster.

Second lap and we are stringing things out. Gaps start to grow, and I try to concentrate on my lines, the barriers and in staying on the front. That back straight will hurt big time if I didn't stay with the front group.

3 laps in things have dwindled down and I am in all out pace group containing myself, Paul and Bike Authority teammates Steve and John.

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I immediately thinking that John and Steve are going to try to one-two us as for a few laps, one would up the pace and the other would sit back a bit and let a small go. The gaps would close as I don't think any of us wanted to miss out on the win.

Bad luck would happen for John first as he slipped out and then immediately dropped his chain. The pace was hot and immediately we got a gap.

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Now a group of 3, we all had digs at each other.

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Paul and Steve both took good strong pulls on the straights as I hung tight to their wheels on the tight sections.

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Paul took a small spill at one point, and then came right back to us - even with Steve taking some pretty clean lines and good pulls.

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The course was technical, lots of good hard turns for me and Steve to show our stuff, and with a long straight for Paul to show his hella power. It seemed like we were even and it was going to come down to the last few corners as the straight was to short for a real sprint.

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So, we started watching each other after attacking each other for the past 55 or so minutes. Going through the start/finish, I knew it would come down to the long back straight and I had to stay close to them.

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Over the barrier, into the sand and Paul and Steve lite it up and got a gap on me immediately, but I closed in on them right before the first soft left hand corner after the straight.

Paul narrowly got ahead of Steve, but Steve didn't give up and going into the tight corners before the straight, Steve tried to take to inside line.

I was directly behind them, but I thought for a second they would both crash each other out. Paul held his line and disaster struck for Steve as he rolled his front tubular off and fell down.

I got by, still going pretty hot myself. I closed the gap to Paul as he fought to stay upright. Going out of the last corner he jumped hard and had a good 10-15 gap on me coming onto the straight.

Paul would take the win, I would finish second and Steve would run in and place 3rd.

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Great day of racing and rubbing elbows, happy with my finish and overall weekend and pretty stoked to see 3 Cleveland area riders take all 3 top spots at the State Championships.


Ernesto Out

photo credits:
Julie Lewis, Lisa Martin, Blair Fraley, Kurtis Fraley


10.20.11 update


After two weeks out west, I am finally getting somewhat settled, but not really.

Bikes and gear to sort out from the trip, work has piled up and projects are coming due, and sponsorship proposals to get out. I think I need another vacation.

But, the end of the madness is coming closer to an end and I am getting pumped up for this weekend's Ohio State Cross Championships. It will be a good battle, and it may end up being a battle of Cleveland Cross racers for the state title in the 1/2/3 class.

Sponsorship proposals going out the door, hope to have most of my stuff done by this weekend. Good to see some of them confirm already for 2012 as I have already laid out some of my races for the upcoming year already and I want to thank them for their support.

With that, better run - busy day today getting the bikes tuned up and ready for the trip down south for the weekend.

Hmmm.... What gear to run Saturday?

Ernesto out


2nd at the 24 Hours of Moab


Field was about 30 or so deep, the weather the week before was rained filled and patted down the typically dusty conditions. After not sleeping much the night before the race and waking up to misty rain conditions, I made my way out to the venue.

As race time neared, the conditions bettered. The clouds cleared the dust gun and the field lined up on the start line for the Le Mans style running start. ¼ mile round trip around the sage brush and to your bike, down the road aways and onto the course.


Gun goes off, everybody starts running and I have my typical horrible run but quickly make up some ground once on my bike.


I am in the top 15-20 riders going into the first section of single track. Not many riders are near me and I pick off a few here and there along the miles and a few catch me. I log in my first lap and am somewhat surprised to find out I am sitting in 3rd after having what I thought was a decent lap.

I make a quick stop for refueling and made my way out for my second lap.

Chasing and chasing, I was staying steady but not gaining much. As I came through on my 2nd lap I overheard the announcer saying that the two solo leaders were together. It was going to be tough to pull back one rider, let alone two working as one.

I chase and chase, and finally I catch one of the riders as he bobbled on one of the rock sections on the 4th or 5th lap. He’s looking a little fatigued from the pace and I push on but the lead rider still eludes me. He would eventually finish 3rd on the day.

Temperature was cooler all during the raced hitting maybe in the mid 60’s during the day, but the night was setting in and temperature would start dropping. Little did I know it would go as low as it did.


Lights came on and the gap to the lead rider was going in the wrong direction as he was putting time into me on each lap. The remaining pack of riders were in our wake and by about 8pm’ish or so, we had lapped most of the field – only 4 rider remained on the same lap as us.


The laps ticked off, we made battery changes and put on extra clothing, but at about 2am and 30 degrees I was freezing my arse, hands and feet off. Duct tape on my shoes, neoprene on my hands, thicker hat on my head and a windstopper vest went on.


On the next lap, I find out the lead rider stopped. I later find out his light burned out and he was going hypothermic and stopped.


I continue on, now in the lead.

I push on, riding at the same effort but my back is hurting me and my wrists are in bad shape all from some earlier falls as I stuff some heater packs into my back pocket for warmth and to loosen up my tightening back muscles.


Two laps later, the rider I was chasing previously now catches me and regains the lead from me. After warming up and getting some new batteries, he rides past me at a fast pace that I cannot match.


Only a lap two later and the lights came off – which feels like a huge lift off my back. By this time I had lapped the entire field except the lead rider and had locked up 2nd.

I pushed on in chase of 1st, but the gap was staying steady. I was starting to count down the laps.


As the laps rolled on and the finish time neared, the gap to first was nearing 11am and the gap back to 3rd was nearing the lap and ½ mark. As I came in at near 11am after 23 hours, I called it a day and would finish out 2nd on the day.


Not the result I had hoped, but my nutrition was dead on and the asthma meds were awesome as I had no breathing issues at all for the first time in 4 years at Moab.

Huge thanks goes out to my support crew for getting me through the event and for my 2011 sponsors – could not have done it without you!

Ernesto out


14 hours to 24


Last post before the start of the 24 Hours of Moab.

Rain has been hitting town all week, pushing down the dust and the temperature. Last night saw some frost on the cars in the AM, so I am sure it's going to be a little chilly at night and my pit crew will have their double burners propane heater going on high.

Sand is not so bad this year, areas have been brushed away by the course helpers but the rain has padded the sand down a ton. And, unbelievably, the sport trucks that roam most of the course we ride on has helped packed it down even more.

A lot of teams and riders have rolled in today, solo men field is up to about 30'ish riders. Men's sport and expert classes are getting some decent sized fields, along with the just for fun class.

That's it, time to rest up. I'll try to get a post up on Sunday.

Ernesto out


Moab update

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Thursday here in Moab, and the weather has been a little on the cold side with some doses of rain. Tuesday saw me split town early from Fruita as the temps got cold and the rain rolled in, so I opted to stay dry and head 2 hours to Moab.

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First day in Moab saw me hitting up the roads as the skies were overcast and it looked like it was going to rain. Opting not to clean the bike for an hour, I went out and got blown around on the road.

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Hit up a couple of laps on the Moab course yesterday and as was expected, the course is pretty much the same layout as all the years past. It's pretty packed down from the recent rains, but the sand and wind is still there in sections to rob you of speed and mess with your head. Think of it as riding in powder snow in the winter with all the wind but no totally freezing weather. Put it like that, it seems like heaven compared to a cold February Ohio ride.

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Does not seem to be as many riders rolling in this year, not sure if 24 Hour Nationals had an effect on the turnout - but the solo men field is nearing around 30'ish riders, so we are looking at a decent sized field. A possibility of no Moab 24 hour race next year will add a little bonus dynamic to the event.

AM rain and high temps of only 60 degrees for Saturday will play well for me to keep down the dust which seems to inflame my asthma. Let's hope the wind dies down a bit so it does not blow me or my pit tent off course.

That's it for now - one last post tomorrow before the race, and hopefully an update on Sunday assuming I can feel my fingers.

Ernesto out


I am seeing a therapist

And her name is Fruita Colorado.

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Sorry for the minimal blog postings, but work has been nutty as of late and the Pivots needed some TLC before I headed west again to Moab - but not before stopping at one of my favorite little towns in Colorado, Fruita.

Next up on the schedule for me is 24 Hours of Moab, my last endurance race of the year. After Moab I will "taper down" and race a full cross season. Ohio State championships is two weeks after I get back, so that should be interesting.

Today saw my first day of riding here in Fruita, and I am happy to say that the trails still kick arse and that there has been some trail work here and there on some sketchy sections.

More on that later - time to grab some food and hit the sack.

Ernesto out.


2 race update

First race update: Whiskey Island, this past Sunday


First cross race of the year, and it was a tough one at that. Hella winds on the cement backside, a small sand pit, twist and turns and a few logs. It was going to hurt.

Gun went off, bumping of elbows quickly ensued and a few twist of fates and bad lines from other riders got me up towards the top 6'ish within the first few corners.

Soon we would have things stringed out with a high pace that had most of the field behind and chasing. Paul, myself, Matt and Steve were all in the lead group.

The pace was high, then somewhat slowed down which brought a vicious attack from Paul and he quickly got a gap with about 4'ish laps to go. I tried to chase, but was quickly countered. Hmm....

Matt attacked, I chased for a bit, then sat back. Steve immediately jumped and got across, but it was on the cement section and the wind was at my back. I caught back on quickly.

Back and fourth, then finally Steve attacked and I decided not to chase. Game over unless I could out tactic Matt at the end.

Matt would gap me, but I caught back up to him in the sandpits near the finish. Coming over the logs, I pinched through the barriers and the course markings and got around him. I would take 3rd but get relegated to 4th as I was "out of bounds" for going over the tape in the last corner. Hmmm...

Second race update: Westlake worlds, yesterday
Last race of the Tuesday nighters for me as I got a work thing going on next week so I thought I would go out with a little bit of a bang and try to get as many points as I could.

Every lap was sprint lap, snagged a couple right of the bat, Dave came by me on one other, then I went into stealth mode and snaked out 3 more sprints going from a long way out.

Wasn't the easiest thing to do and it left me a little sapped for the last sprint. Had decent position, but Bob lit up the lead out sprint from waaaaaaaaaaaay out having us making up ground with the line coming up fast - too fast in fact. Shawn would be 5th, I would be 6th.

So, looks like I will wrap up the season in 7th at Westlake Worlds for the year. Had a great time hitting up more races this year compared to last, and I hope to make it out to the majority of them next year.

And - congrats to Dave as it looks like he has wrapped up the overall win for the year.

Ernesto out