This weekend the US Cup headed to Fontana, California for round #2 of the series. I opted to stay in California the week in between which was nice and relaxing. I was staying really close to a Coffee Klatch which meant plenty of Nitro Brew to keep me going :)
I’ve raced in Fontana plenty of times over the last few years and really enjoy the “old school” feel of the course. In the early season, I find I don’t quite have the punch that the courses with the shorter climbs demand. The Fontana course has a longer sustained climb where you can get into a rhythm, followed up by a fun descent that gives you a chance to recover before heading out for another lap. This weekends field was just as stacked as Bonelli with Olympic medallists and plenty of current or former national champions toeing the line. It’s awesome having World Cup level races here in the States. I think it will help all of us North American guys by racing these more competitive fields without having to travel across the pond to Europe.
Back to the race. I lined up on the 3rd row and when the gun went off, I held my spot until we hit the open asphalt climb. There, I nailed it as hard as I could to get myself closer to the front group. I found myself sitting around 10th going into the descent on lap one. The group kind of split on the descent and that was the last time I’d see the front group. For the rest of the race I found myself hovering around 11th-15th. I ended up finishing the day in 13th which I was content with and being that the race was an HC category I got some good UCI points! I felt much better out there this weekend compared to the last, so hopefully that trend continues this weekend down in Colombia.
Once the race season starts, it’s hard to get good solid blocks of training in because you are either racing or recovering. That makes it hard to build form as the season goes on but I’ve been using the mornings before short track to get some time in and then getting solid intensity from the race. 3pm came pretty quick and it was time for some short track! I was able to line up on the front row. I had a good start and settled into 3rd position after lap one. Someone crashed right behind me giving Todd, Kohei and I a bit of a gap. The three of us capitalized on this and hit it pretty hard. I eventually got yo-yo’ed off the group thanks to a strong and snappy Yo T Wells. I went backwards after this until I found a group to settle in with. Todd’s attack sticked, I ended up 9th. Some good intensity in the legs for sure!
As soon as the race was over Stage B started: the drive from Fontana to Tucson. The highway from LA to Phoenix was pretty packed with cars but luckily we were moving a good speed. It was just super stressful! There was an accident just before an alternate route you could take back to Tucson. I opted to go that route which was much more enjoyable and way less stressful. I put the trusty Element on cruise control and rolled back into the Dirty T just after 10pm that night.
This morning I hit probably my last group ride down here in Tucson for the year. I’ll miss the Tuesday and Saturday rides down here.. they are some of the best group training you can get in my opnion. Thursday I am off to Cota, Colombia where I’ll be flying the red, white and blue at the Pan Am Champs! I visited Colombia in 2010 for Pan Ams and am really looking forward to heading back!