Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California has quickly become a classic venue for early season racing. I think this was year 7 of racing there and fortunately also the best in terms of course conditions and temperatures; we’ve had some scorchers there over the years.
Todd, Myron and I did the 6.5 hour drive (well, ride for me. Thanks for driving guys!) Friday morning. Even with a the weather saying there was a 100% chance of rain at 2 we decided to roll the dice and make a Klatch stop prior to pre riding. First things first!
As we were pre riding, you could see a wall of rain making its way towards us. Each time around you could tell it was coming closer and closer. Finally on the final lap of our pre ride it hit, and came down pretty good. We still had some time to get in so we rode in the downpour, hurricane winds and “cold” weather back to the hotel. A warm shower was the first thing on my mind after that ride.
Saturday morning involved a spin along with a stop at Klatch. Note to self: never look at my credit cards year end summary to figure out how much I’ve spent at coffee shops.
Race time finally came around and I was feeling pretty stoked that the weather was predicted spot on with the temperatures being in the upper 60’s. Off the start, Todd, Stephen and I quickly became the front group. Stephen kept the pace high and by lap 3 he gapped Todd and I. That is when the SRAM | TLD time trial began. We traded off throughout the lap and took to the front on the parts of the course where we were strongest. I think we did a good job of riding a hard and steady but manageable pace.
With 2 laps to go, the chase group was closing in on us. Todd rode deep into the red to try and set me up for second. I was feeling a little to spunky after being able to recover on his wheel a bit and hit it too soon on the last lap. Luckily, Todd was able to come around me and hold onto second. I got passed by a charging Alex Grant and ended up 4th. While I would’ve liked to have held onto 2nd, I was happy with my performance. Normally I struggle to accelerate on the last lap but I was able to put up my second fastest lap of the day, despite blowing up with 1k to go or so. Back on my Subaru-Trek days, I was never quite racing with my teammates JHK and Sam Schultz. For me, this was the first time really ever getting to use team tactics in a mountain bike race. Hopefully Todd and I can do so more often and help each other win some races.
For now, it’s back to Tucson for 2 more weeks and then I am off to Argentina for the Pan Am games. You might have noticed Todd and I went to Brazil for race a week ago. More on that soon!