After a lengthy drive in from Coco Springs Emily and I met up with Sepp and Kerry Shields to drop the trailer off at Bonelli Park and claim our tech spot. Then we hustled back to the hotel, after a Trader Joe’s stop, and settled in at the Ontario Airport Inn.
I was prepared for hotel life when I pulled out my two burner hot plate and proceeded to make hotel room chicken, ginger, beet curry. Definitel one of my better investments lately.
Friday morning we slowly woke to a bright sunny California day. After some breakfast we shoved off to the venue for some hot laps and packet pick up. “Hot” in the previous sentence has two meanings; one being fast laps, i.e. openers, the simply meaning it was 80 degrees in the shade. I felt like a bear, walking out of a cave, post hibernation, and into a tropical forest.
With the legs ready to race tomorrow it was back to the hotel again for some more hotel room cooking, I may write a book;)
Emily raced early the next day solo, which made Kerry Shields life a bit easier, acting team mechanic for the foreseeable future. Shayna came down with strep throat the previous week and wasn’t feeling up to racing. However, she did manage to get some skill work in up in Santa Barbra with Shaums March.
Unfortunately, Emily also woke up on Saturday morning feeling achy and thus her race was negatively impacted. Everyone had to deal with the heat but when coupled with a physical malady, such as a cold, its surprising she even raced.
Sepp and I toed the line next with some of the stiffest competition I have ever raced in the US. Marco Fontana, Manuel Fumic, and Sergio Montecon to name a few. Podium Olympian, podium world championship finisher, and world cup overall destroyer… NBD (no bid deal).
The start was fast as expected but I was surprised to find myself in a group for 10th on the first three laps. I can look back now and see that I was a little too excited and should have hung out at the back of that group to save some for the end. Needless to say I faded a bit throughout the next 4 laps and found myself crossing the line in 18th. Still grabbing some points and at least knowing the speed is there, just need to fine tune some.
Sepp raced fairly consistently and managed to work his way toward the front throughout the race finishing in 36.
After loosing damn near our body weights in sweat the name of the game was hydration over the course of the night and into the Short track the following afternoon.
We got out there a good deal before the race to shoot some 2014 team pics, which turned out very well.
Also, check out the BMC Project Dirt Facebook page and give us a like. Here is a link to the page and the rest of the team photos…
Emily again lined up as the lone Project Dirt rider and quickly found after a rough start that mistakes can be costly. She ended up in the wrong group toward the back of the field and hung on as long as she could before the whirl wind of top World cup Womens finishers (Nash, Pendrel, etc.) lapped her.
Sepp and I were called up with regard to our finish spot from the xc prior, which wasn’t truly ideal for any of us. However, I managed to make the front group. Sepp on the other hand moved through traffic as best he could be with such a short lap it was soon time that the leaders ended up lapping the majority of the field.
I made the mistake of hanging out at the back of the front group, probably because I was too blown to move up, and ended up getting chewed up and spit out the back the last two laps. I finished in no mans land just slipping into 10th.
Kerry was quick to clean bikes and we were quick to get out of there, our sights set on Fontana this up coming weekend.
The heat was stifling again and I was ready for a pool dip and a proper post race meal/beverage. Therefore, team bonding commenced, minus Shayna, at the In n Out just just down the street.