After having a crappy performance at Sea Otter last weekend, I felt the need for another race with some better results. So I woke up at 4:30 Sunday morning and was on the road up to Santa Barbara to race the Santa Ynez Triple Crown. Made good time through LA and got there with enough time to register and try to take a quick cat nap.
It was super hot and dry so I sat around in the shade as long as possible, got in a quick 15 minute warm-up and was at the start with about 5 minutes to spare. There was only about 40 feet after the start before the fire-road made a sharp right and turned into single track. At the whistle everyone kinda scattered around all weird and I ended up sitting pretty crappy somewhere in the middle around 15th or so. The first climb had quite a few switchies, and was pretty steep, and I was stuck behind some goober who thought he was a pro (he made some annoying comments at the start line, hence the goober comment). He was starting to get gapped and someone behind me barked at him with an insult and told him to bridge the gap or get the F*!k out of the way, it was hilarious!
So worked my way around that guy, and managed to pass just about everyone else, except the leaders, at the top of the climb and saw the top two guys in my category a good 50 yards ahead. I was able to catch them on the descent and settled in with their pace sitting in third. I sat in at third for the entire first lap and 3/4 of the second lap. I just sat there as these guys took turns pulling analyzing their strengths and weaknesses as this was the first time I really got to race with these guys.
We dropped Gareth on the beginning of the last climb out, and he ended up in third. On the last climb I knew I had to make a push for the win (which I should have done 5 miles ago) and there was only one little passing lane coming up, as it was a pretty tight single track. I down shifted to clicks and Willard heard me and covered my attack and the little passing area I had, and didn’t get around. We descended, briefly getting stuck behind a female rider that didn’t want to let anyone pass, and took off once we hit the flat fire-road to the finish. There was only about 30 feet to the finish line after a sharp left turn which didn’t really provide much room for a sprint finish So I thanked Willard for pulling the whole race, and let him know I wasn’t gonna sprint and crash us out at the finish and settled for second.
All in all I was pretty happy with my performance but knew that I could have pulled away from those guys, and should have made my move earlier. I also learned a lot about my competition for the next couple years by sitting in and watching, and they learned nothing about me since I never got a chance to go to the front!
Excited about racing Idylwild this weekend as it is actually a real mountain bike race with rocks and stuff, unlike Santa Ynez where I didn’t see a single rock the whole time.