This was the best part of the trip, discovering the Acai. Good thing we didn’t find it until the day before we left or I would have gained some weight on the trip. Ummm
It’s awesome to finally get the season underway. It’s funny by the time the season ends it feels like it has been going on for ever and after a few weeks away from the races it seems like I haven’t lined up in forever.
With my new team I thought I would take a new start to the year as well. Finsty is hunting UCI points in hopes of a good start position at the World Cup and an Olympic bid. I am hunting prize money and had hoped to make some Reals down in Brasil at the HC Stage race known as Copa International. Finsty didn’t get many points and I didn’t get man Reals but we did get some awesome training and had a great trip.
Brasil seems like it would be close, it’s just across the hemisphere right? Nope. It’s a 10 hour flight from Houston just to Sao Paulo and we jumped four time zones as well. I guess it’s further east then I thought. Araxa(race town) is heading into their fall now so the temperatures weren’t bad but it did rain everyday. When it wasn’t raining it was so humid it felt like it was raining so it reminded me a lot of where I grew up in NY in the summer.
The race consisted of a TT, a 30 minute qualifier STXC and a 40 minute final STXC and a XCO XC. We raced in the TT in a biblical downpour that had a lightning strike so close the hair on my arm stood up. On my best day I’m a bad TTer so this being my first anaerobic effort in a few months had me in the pain cave. The STXC was better the next day but I still only ended up 10th, which was good enough to make the 10 person podium that I thought only had the normal 3 or 5 so I missed it. Sunday was the XC and I was going even better in that riding between 7-10 until midway through the 4th of 5 laps when a cut tire took me out of contention. At least I got a little prize money and a few points. Rodrigo got to do his first bottle hand up and wheel change all in the same race, at least we practiced the bottle hand up.)
Finsty and I had an awesome time racing, hanging out with the Brazilian SRAM crew, getting to know the race promoter and chilling with Mike and Mary. We even traveled the final few hours to the venue from Uberlandia with the women’s Serbian National team. A bunch of countries had their National teams there to secure UCI points for Olympic selection, not sure why the US didn’t send anyone since they are likely to drop from 2 spots for the men to 1.
The trip back to the US was easy but long, nearly 30 hours. Finsty tried to order a double espresso in Portuguese, he ended up with 2 cappuccinos and some cheese bread instead.
We were both on the fence about going to the first Bonelli since we only got back from Brazil on Tuesday and the first PROXCT was on Saturday in CA. I decided to go for it since I had some bad luck in Brazil and Finsty wanted to go too to make up for his start line crash in the XC that had him racing through the majority of the field. Luckily Myron drove the 6:30 hours out to San Dimas from Tucson for us.
I don’t know if 2016 is gonna be the year of the rain or what but it rained on us everyday in Brazil and we got absolutely drenched in Bonelli pre riding the course. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it rain that hard in SoCal but it was short and sweet so the course was perfect for the race on Saturday. The traction was unreal, the temperatures were in the low 60s, plenty of sunshine and minimal smog after the rain, had to be the nicest Bonelli I’ve ever been to.
Finsty and I had a much better race and after lap one of seven we were off in a group of three with Ettinger. We rode together until the middle of lap three when Ettinger opened up a gap on us but we chased for the rest of race.
We had a good gap on the chase until the end of lap six when they started to close in on us. We had to give everything to hold them off with Alex Grant eventually passing Finsty for third and me getting within 4 seconds of catching Ettinger by the finish. I had no idea he was that close as I was more racing to hold off Alex then to catch Stephen. It was a much better weekend then Brazil and I’m already looking forward to Fontana in a few weeks time.
My setup for the race:
RS-1 80 mm 105 PSI
Maxis F/R 2.2 Ikon 26 psi, 2.0 Ikon 27 psi
Photos by Finsty, Jonny Muller
I wonder how the TBC will go this weekend……