This week has been a bit confusing... I got sick and didn't make it out to Bonelli last weekend which is nothing short of a hyper-bummer but I was looking forward to getting to compete in this weekend's Vision Quest race up in the Santa Monica Mtns to make up for it. 56 miles and like 11,000 ft of climbing sounded freakin awesome.
Long story short, I didn't end up getting into the event as I'd hoped and so I decided to head out to the local "Racers and Chasers" XC race just outside of Escondido only a stone's throw away from the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
Had a BLAST!! The race brought back all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings which I used to get while competing in the Prairie City series up north in Folsom. Just a bunch of super enthusiastic down to earth people who are out there racing for the right reason... because it's freakin fun!
The course was three ten mile out and backs for a total of 30 miles of racing and I swear to god that we pedaled 28.5 of those miles. It was great, like a 1:45 time trial on the dirt.I made a point of showing up early so that I had enough time to get in a decent warm up before the start because Sage Brush Safari was a brutally rude awakening for these enduro legs of mine.
I warmed up for about 1.5 hours and cruised back over to the expo area to hang out and wait for the start. Ran into a buddy near the registration tent and started chatting with him about his race, which had taken place earlier that morning. The start was up the road a ways from where we stood by the reg tent. Bad news.
I began to make my way over to the start line after being told that my race was about to leave and wouldn't you know that the pack was already coming down the road towards me? Dang it! So, I flipped a U Turn after the pack had passed and sprinted to tack myself on to the last rider out of the parking lot.
The singletrack started immediately and it was just windy and twisty enough that passing was difficult. With the lack of vegetation present around the trail, I was able to see the lead group of riders taking off and establishing a sizeable gap up the trail while I was trying to get around the rest of the field from my superb last place starting position. It was shaping up to be an interesting day on the bike.
My legs felt like hell for the first few miles, but they came around a lot more quickly than at Sage Brush and by the last half of the first lap I had moved up a few places and I was beginning to pull more and more time back on the leaders. Someone told me after the race that I came through like 10th or 12thon the first lap. I came through 4th at the end of the second lap, only seconds behind two of the riders ahead of me, and maybe 1-2 minutes down on the leader.
I kept the gas on and reeled in two of the racers ahead of me in the first mile or two of the last lap. I made sure to try to time my pass so that I didn't need to slow up or lose a lick of momentum because my legs were not pleased with me and I didn't want to have to accelerate back up to speed after coming around these riders. I picked up the pace just a little as I came around because this was the type of course where they could have tacked onto my wheel and let me drag them around for the last few miles. I don't think so.
I was unsure of whether or not I'd be able to catch the lead rider after I made it around the other two chasers, but I kept myself burried deep in the pain cave and came around him a few minutes later at the top of a small climb. From there, I kicked it up one more time and did my damndest to hold it until the finish which was about 7 miles or so distant at that point.
Well, all's well that ends well and the day ended well despite my goof up at the start. I was able to keep the pace up and pull off the win at a super fun and well run event.
The course was good, the entry fees were low, it cost me like $5 in gas to get out there, the guys who put these races on(Robert and Crew) are super cool, and the prizes were way better than what you'll find at most sanctioned events. I got a Centerlock Disc Rotor plated in real 24 karot gold for my efforts, how freakin cool is that?! My only regret is that I didn't come out for the other two Racers and Chasers events which happened earlier in the season.... I know where I'll be racing in the early months of next season for sure!
Check out the website, if you live in socal and you want to have a blast racing your mountain bike in the best sort of racing environment(fun, friendly, and laid back), you should totally check out these races.
I'll see you all at Fontana.
Oh, hey my lower back is absolutely killing me. Like, it hurts so freakin bad by the end of a mtn bike ride/race that I can barely pedal. I switched to a flatter seat(Fizik Antares) recently from one that had a serious cradle shape(old Fizik Gobi) and I'm wondering if the shape of the saddle is to blame for the trouble. Anyone have anything to say about that? I feel a little like I'm always falling off of the new seat, wondering if I'm straining something by trying to hold myself up there whereas on the Gobi the seat is doing the job of holding me in place because of it's profile. Hmmmm