Before I get into the race this weekend I don’t think I ever blogged about the Old Pueblo Grand Prix last weekend. The OPGP is a 75 min crit under the lights in downtown Tucson. There is over 10Gs prize money, it was the first race in the US Crits series last year but I don’t think that’ happening this year so it’s just a good money crit I can ride to from my house in ten minutes. I managed to find my way into the break by trying to follow Gord Fraser around and we ended up lapping the field. It was much nicer riding in the dark in a nine man group rather then in a giant group but with twenty minutes left we were all together and I had no idea where the rest of the guys from the break were. In the process of catching the group I managed to snag a prime and by the end of the race I had landed in fifth overall which wasn’t as good as first and 2K payday but wasn’t too bad either.
So on to Bonelli and the races this weekend. How awesome is it to have a HC cat race in Southern California in March? And how about having the Olympic bronze and World silver medalist come over from Europe along with a whole slew of other top level riders to race? And then they’re gonna hang out all week and do it all over again in Fontana next weekend. Thank you Scott Tedro for helping bring back XC MTB in the USA.
I can’t tell you how nice it is to load up the car with the whole family and be able to drive to an international level race in 6 hours, well 7 if you have to stop and feed a baby every few:) Then we had record high temperatures with nothing but sunshine in SoCal for the weekend. The course in Bonelli is unrelenting and if you aren’t staring at the guys wheel in front of you trying to hold on up the climb, you’re rocketing down a loose, rocky, dusty DH trying to get back on the wheel. I won’t go through the blow by blow b/c if you’re reading this you’ve probably already read about it on cyclingnews. What I can tell you is there were tons of lead changes, super close racing until the last lap and if I were a spectator I would say we put on a pretty good show. Oh yea and they had mobile In-and-out Burger too which always seems to be packed by the time we finish our race and I make my way over there. Next week.
It was nice to get back to STXC racing again this weekend as well. I thought it was going to be super fast like the XC with all the Euro guys there but with so much drafting that pretty much neutralized the race. They did have a prime and prize money which was awesome since we usually race for free at those. I managed to snag the prime but missed out on the prize money as I matched my XC result with a forth in the STXC as well. There was one dusty off camber down hill corner that caught a bunch of people out and I found myself sliding through it with my front wheel at 90 degree angle to the rest of my bike on the first lap but kept it together.
I can’t say enough good things about this US CUP series and thank you to Scott Tedro! We have HC races with some of the top riders in the World in attendance. I think there were 17 nations represented this weekend. The courses are great and the races are well run. We have a schedule that makes sense with most of the riders, teams and staff spending the week in SoCal between two great venues. Trucks and teams aren’t criss crossing the country each week. The weather has been amazing. The prize money is good and we have I believe $80,000 for US Cup overall series split between men and women equally so you can actually make some money going to the races which is awesome! It bodes well for the future of our sport and developing new riders, hopefully young MTBers won’t have to switch to the road just to make enough money to keep racing. I love road racing but I’ve seen so many talented MTB kids decide to go to the road because they can’t make any money on the dirt, not because they want to race on the road.
I’m hanging out in beautiful San Diego all week with Rude, Meg, Cooper and Winson. We already caught one perfect sunset at the beach last night and I’m hoping for many more this week. It’s time for a little coffee shop ride and maybe a nap.
I wonder how Madie(our diabetic cat) is doing…..