A weekend of racing

I was starting to get the itch again to do some racing, and this weekend happened upon a good time.  On saturday there was the CA state endurance championships up in big bear put on by the US Cup guys, and a CX race up in LA on sunday.

But first thing was first, had to make a stop into Velo Hangar on friday for my pre-race good vibes

Laurel the Velo Barista’ awesome Latte!

I am by no means an ‘endurance’ athlete, but what better way to get in some good training by ‘racing’ 58 miles at altitude.  I got up to the mountains around 9 on saturday, and with a chill in the air wasn’t feeling all that ready to race.  I rode around for a little bit with my down jacket on, like everyone else was doing, trying to get a little warm up in.  Headed to the start and was stoked to see that I would be racing against two time olympian Tinker Juarez.  Well theres one podium spot taken!

The start was pretty mellow up the road until we hit the dirt which is when everyone stared to go.  I hung-on as long as I could with Tinker, Joel Titus of So-Cal endurance, and another Bear Valley pro, but for some reason my legs were not letting me do anything.  I just about completely stalled out and started spinning the easiest gear I could, this is something I thought would happen around mile 50 for me not 5!  Luckily Ben Jones came motoring by and I sat on his wheel for a while and kinda got everything under control.

Caught a few more guys on the first lap, and decided I did some good work, and was going to just cruise the second lap and try to not cramp up and bonk.  Just near the top of the hardest climb on the course, at mile 50, I looked back and saw someone was gaining on me.  Crap, I dont really feel like trying right now, maybe they will slow down, but I didn’t want to take a chance.  So I lit a fire under my ass and got to motoring up the rest of the hills towards the singletrack downhill finish.  Which I knew if I could make it there I would retain my positioning.  I finally realized that it was my buddy (and kick ass world champ) Leslie Patterson that was gaining on me.  So I started yelling at her to try and catch me, just like race pace laps!  I couldn’t have been any happier to see anyone else.

Photo Credit: Ti Peng

I finished fourth in the Pro/Open category, way behind the top three guys, but had a blast riding the trails and talking shop with Ben, Leslie and Tammy.  Also good to know that I still have some work to do until next year.

Onto sundays CX race!  After seeing a fresh motorcycle accident on my way up to LA (still dont know if the rider was dead or alive) I was just so happy and thankful to be there.  I wanted to hug everyone I knew when I got there, and really lost a lot of motivation to race, but nonetheless gotta get work done.

I had planned on racing both Mens A SS, and Elite A’s.  I pre-road the course on my SS bike a few times and was about 15 minutes to race start when my chainring litterally broke in half, bent, sheered three chainring bolts off and bent the spider on my cranks.  It was the craziest failure I have ever witnessed, I was literally soft pedaling back to my bag to get some water, not even pedaling hard.

Chainring FAIL!

Luckily Gordon and some awesome Celo Pacific guys talked me into taping the shifters on my Bailey CX bike, so I was unable to shift and continue on with the race.  I doubled checked with Dorothy on this and she said it is fine with her races, but definitely not UCI races.  I found myself at the back of the line for the start, and was in just about dead last as we went into the first turn.  Damn Im in for a long race if I want to do anything.

I made a few quick passes at the run-ups and first few straight aways and about halfway through the first lap I had gone from about 20th to 15th.  As the pack started to string-out in single file fashion I just started picking off riders through the twisty sections and run ups, and let whoever was in front of me do most of the work when we got to the straightaways.

By about the end of the second lap I had snuck into the top ten, and was pretty stoked.  At this point I knew I had to make a decision though, either get on the podium on this race, or back off and try to save yourself for the elite A race.  A believer on not waiting and getting my hopes up for false results I decided to go for it.  I started putting in a lot of hard efforts, catching people in the turns then passing them on the straights, all while getting heckled, beer and water thrown in my face at max effort, Ahh YES! Cyclocross baby!

By the end of the third lap I had moved into the top five.  At the end of the fourth lap top three, and we started to put a gap on the rest of the field.  With one lap to go the first two riders exchanged places a few times while I sat in.  I thought that I may have a bigger gear than them and be able to out sprint them out of the last turn to the finish.  Unfortunately we maintained our order and all finished within a second of each other, good times!

I proceeded to punch the winner in the stomach in the next picture

  I did one lap of the elite A race then pulled the plug, my weekend of training races was done, quit while you are still healthy and not injured.  A huge thanks to Ellen for letting me race my bike all weekend, the Velo Hangar for awesome support, and of course my coach and riding buddy(and boss) Trevor!

One thought on “A weekend of racing

  1. Elliot,
    This is Chris, I met you at Gordon's shop. I would love to meet up with you and shoot some XC MTB images of you for the mag, your site and Gordon's website. Let me know if you might be down for that!
    Chris

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