Tuesday, June 24, 2008

HOT! HOT! humid HOT!

The race weekend started off w/ Craig Zimmerman and I car pooling up to La Mirada. As we drove through the valley, we knew we were in for a hot weekend of racing. The temps along the 101 freeway ranged from 95 to 110 degrees. Once we got to the La Mirada race course, the temps were well into the 100’s w/o much of a breeze. Needless to say, we didn’t need much of a warm-up. We were fortunate enough to be called the “featured” race of the day, or as we saw it, the last race of the day at 3:55pm. At the starting line we had at least 50+ racers lining up. This was to be my first Cat 3 race, and I picked a doozy, w/ a 2 mile circuit that had lots of climbing, rollers, and an uphill sprint finish. The main climb being a ¼ mile big ringer. The pace was fast from the gun w/ riders trying to separate themselves from the field on the first climb; even after the climb, those on the front didn’t let up through the rollers or the descent. Craig was looking very strong staying in the top ten throughout the race, where I was hanging around in the top half of the group. With the 105 temps and the pace being as hard as it was, riders were falling by the way side. Going into the final lap, 7 riders attacked off the front and got away. The rest of us were left to sprint for the final top 10 places. In the end, Zimmerman took off and placed 9th, and I came in behind him in 11th. I later came to find out that over half the pack DNF’ed w/ the rest of them scattered around the course.

Brett Harrison was also one of the Ranchers at La Mirada racing the 4’s. We saw his start and kept an eye on him as we were warming up for our upcoming race. Brett was looking strong, riding at the front for most of the race, but at some point during the race we noticed he was no longer in the front group of about 12. We later found out that there was a crash and Brett got taken out. From the sounds of it, a rider in the pack toppled over from heat exhaustion and took out a number of riders. Brett toughed it out and got back on his bike and never stopped chasing. Brett ended up coming in 20th w/ torn kit and some road rash. The 5’s went off really early in the morning so we didn’t have a chance to see Dan Rudd, but he tore it up w/ a 6th place finish.

The following day at San Pedro, we found much better racing conditions w/ temps in the 90’s, but w/ a nice cooling breeze coming from the ocean marina. All the categories looked to be larger due to the fact that San Pedro was the State Championships. At SP we had Philip Friden representing in the 5’s, Brett in the 4’s, and Zimmerman and me in the 3’s. Zimmerman and I got to the venue in the middle of Philips race. He was looking really strong w/ good positioning throughout the race, but going into the final lap Philip found himself on the front, and going into the sprint he got swarmed and boxed in. Philip came across the finish line in 20th place. Brett’s luck changed for the better at SP. As always, we found Brett hovering close to the front of the pack. The pace of the 4’s looked to be extremely fast w/ riders popping off the back on every lap. When it came down to the sprint finish, Brett gave his all and came in w/ a solid 6th place.

As for the 3’s race, we had a stacked field of close to 100 riders. After yesterday’s race, both Zimmerman and I were curious as to how we would recover and how the legs would feel. From the gun the pace was fast, but not hard enough to blow the field apart. Zimmerman went to front and put in a lot of effort of stay up there, while I hovered in the top 20-30. The pace did pick up w/ a number of riders trying to go off the front, but a steady headwind on the front straightaway helped neutralize and bring the breaks back. With a few laps to go, the field started to get dicey and riders started to move up towards the front. I made it to Zimmerman’s wheel as we prepared for a lead-out. Going into turns 1-2 of the final lap, Zimmerman moved ahead and got into 3 wheel, while I stayed in the top ten. This is where everything went to @^$#! From what Zimmerman told me, some moron got a flat/mechanical on the previous lap and decided to walk on the course against traffic carrying his bike. We rounded the 1-2 corner in the big ring, out of the saddle, and fighting for position when the front riders ran into the moron carrying his bike. This caused riders to lock-up their brakes and some rode into the bushes to avoid the bike carrying knucklehead, Zimmerman was one that had to use his MTB skills to stay upright in the bushes. Although I didn’t go down, I came to a complete stop, in my big ring and on the hill. I got back on course and sprinted to the tail end of the lead group. Going into the final corner, I could see they were all strung out and at least 25 deep. My and Craig’s race was over at that point and we sat up. Craig was upset because he was going really good and put in a lot effort to stay at the front and out of trouble….so we thought.

In all, it was a good weekend of racing w/ some good times, good results, and some good high intensity workouts.

That’s it! Sorry if it was a little long winded. For those of you that missed out this past weekend, start getting ready for Sisquoc. With a Cat 3-4 race, we should have a huge turnout. I know that as of today, we have at least 7 CR’s in that race.


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