Here is a quick run down on Redlands.
Stage 1. 12.9km Time Trial.
The race was held up at Big Bear. Luckily we spent a few days up at Boulder so we would know what to expect from the altitude as Big Bear is at nearly 7,000ft up. I had a great ride, felt great, held the power I wanted to, but had no Time Trial bike so placed where'd I'd expect, slightly better then half.
Coming down from Big Bear. Spectacular views.
Stage 2. Road Race
Stage two was a long road race, 200km's. I actually hadn't had the opportunity to ride this long all year, but luckily I have plenty of experience at racing races this long or longer. The weather was bit tricky in the morning as we started off in a heavy cool fog. Not expecting it I hadn't packed anything other then bibs and a jersey. I was slightly cold on the start line, but 10 minutes later I was happy that I wasn't having to find a place to put my arm warmers and vest as I would have removed them.
We were lucky enough to score some sweet race wheels before Redlands. We were able to get some Rokkit Wheels. I used a set of 38mm full carbon clinchers for the race. They were pretty awesome. Check them out.
I spent the first half of the race trying to get into the right move. I got in a nice one on the second of five laps, but it like many promising ones it came back. One eventually did go away for a lap, but was brought back. Everything came down to the last lap and I wasn't in the right position. I came across with the second group a minute back.
Stage 3 Criterium
Went for a spin in the morning to the coffee shop. Pretty much my least favorite activity on a bike, since more of the time seems to be sent sitting in a chamois drinking coffee then actual riding. I felt sore from the previous day, but the ride home from the coffee shop I felt much better.
I felt ok in the criterium, but not special. I was pretty pedestrian in being able to move up so just basically did nothing the whole evening. Which is ok as I wanted to save most of my energy for the next days Sunset loop.
Our secret weapon showed up on Friday afternoon. A few set's of MadFibers
Stage 4 Sunset Loop
The infamous Sunset Loop. The only time I did this race as my first year as a pro in 2005. I had crashed the previous day in the criterium so was pretty torn up. I hurt so bad in that race I never made it very far and ever since knew the pain this course could bring. I was nervous for this go around as I know it is a difficult race and has been every year.
Getting ready for the race. Nobody really said anything as everyone knew what was to come.
The legs though felt pretty good once we started rolling and as soon as we hit the climb on the loop I moved up fast passing riders being shot out the back. By the second time up the climb I was attacking and found myself off the front for a lap with a small group. I was even the one pushing pace as I was hoping the gap would open up. I was hoping we could get away and then eventually what ever was left of the race would probably catch up to us towards the end.
Well it happend sooner then I thought as a lap later a elite group of 20 caught up to us. I was hoping that would be it, but noticed there was no Optomun Team so knew it would come back which it did the next lap. Then a bunch of laps went by and the field was shrinking. I was still feeling good as others were not. Unfortunalty a bit of bad luck hit with 3 circuits to go as our team GC rider flatted and I gave him my wheel. Then I got one from neutral but was never able to make it back. I wouldn't have been compelely bummed, but neither of us made it back. Now I really can't wait to get back next year.
We followed the race up with some Five Guys, a 3hr round trip to the airport, and finally a 32ish hour drive back East to Indianapolis.