Monday, May 19, 2008

Brad Brown In Santa Ynez

This is Bradford (aka Bad Brad) Brown's first attempt at an abbreviated race report. What a beautiful day it was in Santa Ynez. No flies, just heat. Lots of heat.

My race preparation started Saturday night and ended at 12:30 a.m. Sunday Morning. I'll just let your imaginations go wild on that one. Anyway, I got at least 3.5 hours of sleep before throwing the trusty old Santa Cruz Blur onto the bike rack and heading to Santa Ynez by 6:45 a.m..... I made the obligatory coffee stop and still arrived in time to register and race.

After registering, I warmed up for 10 minutes, or less, and headed to the Start Line to hang out and talk with my fellow group 237 ers (aka Beginner Men XC age 45 - 49). Our race started at 8:36 am and it ended for me about 1 hour and 7 minutes later, give or take a few tenths of a second.

The start was just fine and didn't prove to be troublesome, but the first and longest winding hill just about killed me. I was maybe in third place as our group approached the first hill and I was spinning with a comfortable cadence. At 1/3 of the way up the hill, I began to overheat badly. My head felt like on oven in the "self clean" cycle and throbbed from the blood coursing through my brain with each heart beat. My chest swelled and my legs jellowed (sorry for that Jelly). I thought for sure I was done and would never make the crest of the first hill. I was cursing myself for the activities just a few hours earlier.

So I slowed down a few clicks and I was instantly passed by what seemed to be most of my 237 group pals. Ouch!!!! As each rider passed me, it became abundantly clear I might actually finish last. But I wasn't done so I kept climbing. As I crested that first hill I slowly began feeling better and by the last half of the race I was feeling pretty good.

Slowly but surely I kept overtaking my 237 pals. One by one I knocked them down on the climbs. I even climbed some hills in my middle chain ring and I still don't know where I got that energy.

Fast forward to the finish. By the time I approached the finish area I had no idea where I would place. I was just pretty sure it wouldn't be LAST. I pushed myself hard on the long flat stretch to the finish as I had passed a 237 fellow a mile or so back who was stuck behind a slower rider. The other 237er looked a lot stronger than me and I just assumed he bonked. However, I knew that when I passed him I'd get his juices flowing and that's exactly what happened. As I rounded the hairpin turn to the finish line I could feel him behind me breathing down my neck. I sprinted to the finish with everything I had. About 50 feet from the finish a tire appeared to my left. I instantly knew I was in trouble. As the course narrowed to the finish line I extended my left elbow out and leaned left to push the attacker into the fence. It didn't work. The attacker blew by me at the last possible second and took a 3rd place finish from me. Now that is what I call fun. I ended the race in 4th and earned my first every medal.

Take care fellow Ranchers and we'll see you at the next race.

Bradford Brown


Greg Knowles said...

Brad, that was intimidating. I may never show up at another beginner race again. Good Job!

Marco Fanelli said...

Good job Brad! Just so you know, that guy (Chris Hahn) who sprinted by you at the end is formerly one of the best Masters crit riders in the US. So don't feel bad that you didn't hold him off!