I have always had fond memories of racing down in San Dimas. Usually going down there means a vacation from the wet and cold norcal winter. It is a bit of a drive but my girlfriend came along for the ride and was eager to share in the driving duties. I had just taught her how to drive my manual Honda a few days before we left so this was sure to be an adventure! Contrary to all of my experience with southern California, the weather report called for rain all weekend. WTF? Its not supposed to rain down there! But when we arrived it was sunny as could be so I was optimistic. Maybe the weathermen were on crack.
I was also feeling good about my chances of doing well. I had my super fast and light-ish Felt AR1 and my new-to-me set of Ritchey carbon tubies. My bike weighed in at a svelte 16.8 lbs. (with Bottle cages!). I was ready to go fast.
Then came the day of the tt. Its an uphill 3.8 mile suffer fest that climbs about 1300ft. The winning time is usually under 13 minutes and that basically means leaving it in the big ring… I definitely did not leave it in the big ring. Even though the rain clouds had begun to gather and the temperature was dropping I was still feeling good. I finished my warm up and made it to the start line about 20 seconds before my start time. I scurried off the line and tried to settle into a rhythm. This sort of tt is short enough that you shouldn’t really hold much back in the beginning, or so i thought. I’m not sure if I went out too hard or just had a bad day but 5 minutes into the tt I was really wishing it was over. The only thing I could do was keep telling myself to stay composed and keep pushing those pedals.
I was hoping for something under 14 minutes and sadly that did not happen. This year they changed the course a bit and I think the times were about 20 seconds slower but that was little consolation. I ended up 34th at 14:32, 80 seconds off the winner Phil Gaimon of Kenda. Oh well. On to the road race I told myself.
I woke on saturday to the sound of rain. I thought “well at least its probably warm out”. Wrong! It was cold. Just getting to the race was hazardous. Some of the puddles on the freeway must have been 6 inches deep. I was relieved to get there, at least until I got out and started riding. The course is 12 laps of a 7 mile circuit with a nasty little half mile climb 2 miles before the finish.
When the race started it became clear that the wind would also be a factor. Kenda was drilling it on the front and I was fighting just to hold the wheel in front of me. Having no teammates with me, I was content to just sit in (as much as possible anyway) as I have been told that the later part of the race is the hardest. I was doing a good job of that until I hit a manhole cover on lap 3 and double flatted. I must have been on the side of the road for over a minute before getting rolling again.
I chased for another lap and a half before deciding that I would rather go to In-N-Out. So that’s what I did and so ended my racing for the weekend. I spent the rest of the time drinking beer and trying to forget about bike racing. Looking forward to better luck, weather and form at Sea Otter. Thanks for reading!