These past few weeks have been great. After the Cactus Cup I had the Tucson Bicycle Classic road stage race, TT, RR and Circuit Race. Had my best TT ever there, 11. Hardly amazing but a personal best, must have been those fast Zipp wheels I had. The rest of the race was so/so. Missed the move in the road race and the circuit finished in a sprint.
Racing on the road is such great training, when you have to stay on the wheel you can dig so deep. On the mountain bike you can never really let up so it’s hard for me to go too much over my limit. On the road you have to go over your limit to hang on and eventually it lets up and you can recover, great to work those systems.
The weekend after the TBC it was the family’s time to race, my Dad, Meg and Coop all did a running race on the north side of town. Meg did the half marathon, Pete did the 5k and Coop did the 1/2 mile. It was nice to be the support crew for a change.
The training has been going great, perfect weather, decent volume and fast group rides. I have also been trying to catch this pack rat that ate my new lemon tree. I finally caught him the day we left for Fontana, relocated him on the way out of town to a nice park. He doesn’t look big but the guy sure has an appetite and can dig like no other.
The US Cup announced last week it’s offering $10,000 to the first place man and woman in the series overall that consists of Fontana, Bonelli, Catamount and Boston. The XC and STXC are given equal weight so it’s basically an 8 race series winner take all. That made the first race of the series, Fontana a whole lot more important then it was 2 weeks ago.
The weekend started off well enough, we were a lead group of 4 midway through the XC. On the 4th lap I went to the front on the pavement climb and upped the paced, then Blevins hit it into the single track and we got a gap.
Photo: Johnny Muller
At the top of the climb I jumped around him and tried to up the pace on the downhill but ended up tearing the tire shortly after on a jagged rock. We only stocked the 1st zone but luckily another mechanic in the 2nd zone gave me a tire, tube and CO2. It took a while but I was rolling again somewhere around 10th to 15th position with 2 laps still to go. Things took a turn for the worse when I cut the new tire and tube in the same area the next time around. There was no one in the 2nd zone at that point so I just rode the rim back for the rest of the lap.
That sucked but what was really bad was just before the start finish I clipped a rock with my pedal and completely launched myself over the bars and got my leg stuck between the top tube and handle bar. It took me a while to get up and back on the bike. I thought I broke the pedal because I couldn’t clip in but it was just because my leg hurt so bad I couldn’t push it into the pedal. I eventually made it to the tech zone to get a new wheel. I would have stopped the race but I wasn’t clear on the rules to be eligible for the series overall so instead of taking myself out of contention in the 1st of 8 races, I decided just to finish. It was the slowest I’ve ever ridden a lap at Fontana but I made it to the finish line out of the points, but still in contention. for the long game.
Photo: Johnny Muller
It felt so good to get off the bike after the race but the shower was miserable scrubbing out my cuts, managed to destroy some hotel room sheets too. I knew I would be OK to race the STXC but my leg was pretty stiff.
The STXC started well enough and pretty soon we were a group of 6. With 3 laps to go I attacked and then Blevins jumped me and we immediately got a gap. Shortly after I had some more bad luck when I dropped my chain around a corner and couldn’t get it back on. By the time I got going again, I had dropped back a few groups and with only 2 laps to go I didn’t have much time to move up. Luckily when I caught Finsty’s group he put in a good pull and I was able to catch 2nd place with less then a minute to go, unfortunately I drug his teammate with me and he beat me the sprint so I had to settle for 3rd.
Fontana did not go how I had planned but I think the form is good, just need some luck or not any bad luck and I’ll be all set. Big congrats to Blevins winning both the XC and STXC, putting himself firmly in the driver’s seat for the series overall after the weekend. We’re hanging out in Big Bear for the week getting a little altitude training in before Bonelli next week. It sure isn’t Tucson up here, I’ve had my winter hat and vest on since we arrived and Coop can’t wait to go play in the snow.
I wonder how the pack rat is doing…….