How does it feel to be one descent away from a possible national championship and have faulty equipment snatch that chance away from you?
Durango's Todd Wells summed it up in a release to The Durango Herald.
Wells walked his bike across the finish line as Jeremy Horgan Kobelski won his first national championship, although Wells had closely trailed his rival up the final climb on the final lap just moments earlier.
"I led through the start/finish, but he attacked on the feed zone climb right after that," Wells said. "I was chasing hard and hoping to keep (Kobelski) close enough on the climb to catch him on the descent. He was climbing better than me, but I was descending faster than him."
Halfway up that fateful climb, Wells suffered a broken crank arm and "what is proving to be a very elusive national championship jersey" escaped him again.
Saturday's race, held in Granby at the Sol Vista ski resort for the first time, started at over 8,000 feet and peaked at about 9,000.
"The breathing was tough," Wells said, adding that the conditions were warm and dry and the course was "a classic ski resort track."
Wells had a chance to redeem himself in Sunday's Short Track Cross Country race at Sol Vista Bike Park, but, still reeling from Saturday's crushing defeat, it wasn't until he pinned his number on that he regained his competitive spirit, he said.
"The course was very different to a normal short track," Wells said. "It was just straight up the side of the ski slope and then a few switchbacks on the way back down.
"Usually short tracks are fast with some drafting, but this was just nose of the saddle all the way up and two-wheel drifting on the way down."
Wells and Kobelski led the first half of the race before Adam Craig charged up to the lead group, attacking quickly when Wells was at his limit.
Wells held off Kobelski for second.
"Not a bad result, but on a day titles are handed out to the winners, not what I was hoping for," Wells said. "Oh well, next year."
Wells will spend the next month competing in two Canadian World Cups and the final two U.S. Pro Cross Country races of the season.
"It will be nice to get back to sea level for a few weeks and breathe that thick air," Wells said.