My 2015 MTB season officially kicked off this past weekend at the Bonelli Park US Cup/PROXCT 1. The racing at Bonelli is always hard since the course is relentless with its short, punchy climbs and even shorter descents. The descents aren’t very technical but are super loose, covered in dust and baby heads and always have sharp corners at the bottom. Oh yea, it’s always in the upper 80s to low 90s too with minimal shade so those steep climbs get pretty steamy.
I like to do a race or two before my first big event of the year but things didn’t work out to plan this year. I had a great build up and was able to get a big block of training in that I missed last year with my knee injury. That said I was a little short of intensity coming into the first race and I felt it from the time the gun went off.
I was able to make it into the main chase group and spent the first five of seven laps sitting at the back of the mostly five person strong group while Gange and Plaxton were about 20/30 seconds up the trail. Things started to come unraveled for me at the end of lap five and by the time we crossed the finish line I dropped to twelfth. I didn’t really blow up to the point that I didn’t think I would be able to finish but more had a substantial power drop that took my top gear away.
I was happy to get that first race over and I haven’t suffered like I did on the first two laps since World Champs last year. With twenty two nations represented it felt like a World Cup start and not only was I asphyxiated for the first twenty five minutes and unable to drink or eat but I was covered in drool. It’s tough to simulate that in training.
Sunday was the STXC and I was determined to leave it all out there. It is a totally different race to the XC but I felt much better from the start and don’t think I drooled on myself at all. I was very aggressive but when Sergio attacked on the prime lap I was gassed and could only follow. Oberman jumped across to Sergio and they were gone. I tried to bridge across but couldn’t make contact and was brought back by the group. I managed to get best of the rest and rolled across in third.
After the race we packed up Meg, Coop and Winston and headed for the beach down in Oceanside for a few days of training before the next round in Fontana next weekend. Bonelli was a C1 this time around and Fontana is a HC which means more $$ and more UCI points. The Fontana course is also quite different with more sustained climbing and descending. I’m hoping to make it out on the Wednesday morning group ride in Carlsbad to see how it stacks up against the Shoot Out in Tucson. Gotta say the beach looks pretty good down here.
I wonder if Coop is ever going to sleep through the night……