Riding the rollers on Monday at work.
Pinning up numbers for the first big race of the year
I flew out of Boulder late Tuesday night after working and having dinner with my wife and father in law as they were visiting Boulder. Tuesday afternoon I did get to do a nice staff ride with Frank and my roomate Tucker. It was nice to get one last one in before heading to the race and back to Indy afterwards. I arrived to the airport with plenty of time and even more time as my late flight was delayed. New arrival into Ontario was 11:15 pm. By the time I got the host house and in bed I had a solid 10 hours to sleep, eat and get ready for stage 1.
Team director Frey all smiles the first day. He wasn't that happy at midnight picking me up from the airport. Nobody would have been.
I went into stage 1 just wanting to get some racing in and feel it out. It was a fairly technical with a short punchy climb and a downhill with a few corners. Luckily the roads were relatively wide and the spitting rain never came pouring down long. Luckily things settled down a bit after the neutral start and a break went up the road. Pretty much just went around in circles from there. I felt surprisingly good for being my first race in over a month. Our new team member Brecht felt really good as well and got a solid top 10.
Our European contingent. Matt on the left, Brecht on the right.
The second day was the time trial up at Big Bear. There were rumors swirling that this might be cancelled because of snow up there and on the pass driving up. Luck enough for us the weather turned out to be quite spectacular. My race went exactly like last year. I had practically the same power, same time and same equipment.
The drive up to Big Bear.
I rode in the front with Max on the way down. I sat in the back on the way up and felt horrible on the drive up and for about an hour afterwards. It was way more miserable then the TT.
The third day was the long Beaumont Road Race Stage. On tap was 120 miles. The plan for me was just to wait till the last lap and make the front group, but I'd decided to help my teammates early and cover moves. I got up there with Ryan and started going for the move. It took a while but I went hard in the beginning of the third lap and got a group going. It was a little big and some were sitting on and some would skip turns. Very incohesive. We still managed to get up to 5 minutes, but by the last lap everyone dicked around enough for us to get caught 7km from the finish. Brecht finished off strong again with another top 10.
Morning ride before the criterium. I was a little disappointed in Matt. He seems to have lost his Euro flair as he wasn't wearing leg warmers. Last year he wore them when it was 75, this morning it was maybe 60.
Come to sunny and warm southern California they say. I think I wore long sleeves every day but the last. At least it was mostly dry.
The fourth day and my least favorite was the criterium. After spending a lot of energy in the break the day before and the racing adding up I was a bit worried about how I would feel. Luckily it was the best I've felt in a criterium in a while. It might have been a little easier as Max got in the break early and we could just sit back and roll it. The break actually stayed away and Max finished 5th.
Sunday brought the famous Sunset Road Race. It is one of the if not the toughest circuits in the US. The race starts with two short crit laps which have points on the line each lap then KOM points with time bonuses the first time up the climb on the circuit. The race of course started fast and by the first time over the KOM the race was split into many groups. Through the feed zone it did settle down, but the field continued to whittle down as normal each lap. By halfway through there may have been 60 riders left (half). We still had three with Matt, Cortlan and myself.
They had a good live stream of the race and Maddy was watching. Glad I got out front so she could see that I was actually racing.
Hoping a group would come across and help out a bit.
A break eventually went but the pace never let up and the 4 guys didn't get much time. They were caught with 2.5 circuits remaining. Once they were caught I ended up getting off the front. I was hoping for a group to come up to me. I went down the hill and made it over the KOM alone with 1 guy chasing. Unfortunately he and I didn't have much of gap and it came back just before the feedzone. I recovered on the downhill to make it over in the group the last time and to the closing circuits. I wasn't able to do much the rest of the race. Every since I did Redlands the first time in 2005 I wanted to be able to get through and race this race. I never got back until last year and flatted out but it felt good to be there this year.
Our host house was pretty amazing and made us some great dinners. They were also out at the races cheering us on. Nothing better then steak tacos after a hard week of racing.
That night we went to hotel airport as most of us had early flights. We hung out for a while at the hotel bar that night and had a good time. Some of us also had some giant pieces of cake. Mine was carrot so it's ok it was healthy!
Now am back home in Indy waiting on the arrival of Carolyn Rose. Should only be a few weeks. I'll be racing this Friday in Winston Salem as long as we don't have an early arrival