Dave Jurist and his impeccable prose regarding the State Championship are below for your reading pleasure!
Le Bon Temps Roulet
Four intrepid poulets made the 6 hour round trip out to Big Bear on Sunday with the California State Cross Country Championship title hanging over their heads like an ARM reset on a Fresno mansion. Due to a costume malfunction on the Blinger mobile, Junior Varsity was called off the bench to head the transportation committee for the “voyage”. The close quarters of the JV mobile had CZ sprawled across the backseats for a disco/beauty nap and Brian “The Bladder” Bermudez ridin’ shotgun (Mike Abbott had ridden in via Jesusita and the Angeles Crest minutes prior to start). Mind you, nothing compares to the “breast” room of the Chicken Rig, but we did manage 3 bodies and 3 bikes with the relatively diminutive foreign substitute.
In what seemed like fifteen or so minutes into the drive we were pulling over for our first pee stop. In what seemed like fifteen or so minutes Brian had finished and we were back headed to the race, chatting easily about tire pressure, philosophy and, at Brian’s request, the most strategic way to have his bike fall off the top of the car.
We arrived at 9 to a near empty parking lot at the race site. The registration tables were marginally crowded, but nothing like you would expect for a winner-take-all State Championship race. When signing up, I hadn’t noticed any Team Sho-Air names in my group which is usually a given. After bathroom, registration, shedding clothes, stretching, taping, filling and kitting up we got going up the hill to the start. As we mosied up, there was the Sho-Air squad parked up by the ski hill (not the designated parking area, gentleman!) and the start area was showing a pretty good group yapping and doing the fire road for warm up.
By a cruel stroke, the organizers decided on a group start for all sport classes, so Craig and Brian went off in a blur of dust and lycra with about 100 riders. It’s up to those boys to give the gory details of the 20 mile “medium” course, but I can say for certain that Blinger blasted through his previous Big Bear time by 8 minutes, shut down his arch rival (the “America’s Got Talent” Phil Dalhauser look-a-like) and even, with the 6th fastest time in all sport categories, took 4th in the 40-44. It doesn’t get the JV too pumped for an upgrade in class next year! Brian, riding on a bike he apparently doesn’t even like any more, made 6th in his group and shot his bike after the race.
I did manage to overhear a snippet of CZ’s post race interview with “The Goodland Velo Lemon Rancher Gazette”:
GVLRG: How was the ride out?
Blinger: We had a good time.
GVLRG: Were you happy with your race?
Blinger: It was a good time.
GVLRG: With the road race season over, can we expect any equipment changes next year?
Blinger: I already have a good Look, maybe a good Time.
My task was far less daunting. My main rival from Sho-Air was a no-Sho which left some guys whose riding I haven’t really seen much of. The start went off in typical fashion with Mark “Quick-To-The-Front-And-Quicker-To-The-Back” Thome doing his usual 90-seconds-to-anaerobic-failure start up the hill with me on his tail. After depleting all the oxygen within a 45 foot radius of his body in the first hundred yards, I stroked past and started to remember just how much climbing the course dishes out. About half way I had passed most of the other groups back markers and couldn’t see anyone from 45-49 100 yards behind. So, I did what anyone would do and promptly crashed on the fire road descent straining to look over my shoulder. With that out of the way, I made my way around the short course, avoided being run over by expert riders and cruised in for a first place finish. And that my friends, is good timing.
State Trails Day 2017 - San Ysidro Trail! -
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