I spent the last week in Temecula, about 45min south east of Ontario. It was way more quiet down there and was a good place to relax and ride.
As a team, on Tuesday, we hit Daley Ranch suggested by Keegan as a good place to MTB in the area. Wednesday we did a team assault and mid week openers on Ortega Hwy, and Thursday we all had easy days so we made plans to head to the beach! Laguna Beach!
Caroline use to work at Crank Brothers. So she wanted to go there to pop in and see some old friends. She invited us along to get a tour of the HQ and I was hoping to get my hands on some product. I have been riding Crank Brothers for the last 4 years and love the Candys!
We spun in the morning then drove an hour west to Laguna Beach. We met up with Bill Freeman and he gave us a tour of the HQ, which is also shared by Brooks, and Fizik.
After the tour we headed a few blocks into the city for good burritos, La Serena. We ran into Brian Lopes who was just coming back from a moto training session with Cole Seeley. Yea I know right. I thought I was dreaming until I gave myself a pinch…
After lunch we said our goodbyes. Caroline, Fernando, and I headed to the beach to relax and catch some rays. I even managed to over come the cold crashing waves to meet my yearly ocean dip quota.
Friday we loaded up and drove northwest back to Ontario to check out the Fontana course, some laps and openers. The course is strikingly different from Bonelli. Longer climbing, which means longer descents. It was a more classic American style of mtb racing. It was a lot of fun to turn laps on though, so I was looking forward to race day.
Saturday we were set to go off at 1:30pm. Live coverage again was put on by Tedro and the Sho-Air crew. If you missed it you can go to uscup.net to watch the replay.
Another stacked international field toed the line so I had my sites set on the top 15 again. Considering the race was HC category, means UCI points go 25 deep where a C1 only goes 15 deep, I had my sites set on more points than the previous weekend.
The start was crucial for positioning before the first single track section and everyone went so hard up the wide open road climb to get there first. Including me… I held a 15ish or so start spot for the single track but I think I rev’d the engine a little too hard to achieve that. I tried to hold it together the second lap but was gradually fading and by the third lap I was in the box. I slowly rode myself back into a better pace but by then the race was so spread out that I was just racing for my position, which ended up being 22nd.
I was not entirely happy with my result. However, considering the field and the way I felt I guess it could have been a lot worse.
So I took off my pouty pants and prepared myself for the whirlwind of pain that is short track on Sunday.
I woke up and met Russell for an early morning training session to the base of Mt. Baldy, just to get some time in for the day so I wouldn’t have to ride after the race. And it was an excuse to stop at the Coffee Klatch, not that you need an excuse.
The start, once again, was crucial. There is an annoyingly deep amount of crushed up gravel on the start line and start straight making for a very sketchy first couple pedal strokes in the start spring. Only to be followed by a sandy loose left hander, which is where an immediate crash happened. I was lucky enough to avoid it but still didn’t have a great start and was quickly being yo-yo’d off the back of the group I was in.
Again I went a bit above my limit for this time of the year. Thus, I was forced to be a little conservative in the middle of the race and wait for some groups to form…
By the last lap I found myself in a group of 5-6 fighting for a top ten spot but I wasn’t able to get to the front. I sat in and placed somewhere around 15th.
All in all not the best weekend but that is bike racing sometimes. I had a great support group behind me all weekend, the Raleigh-Clement Cycling Team. James was on point with feeds and mechanical support, which always makes racing a lot less stressful.
I have the next two weekends off and I look forward to putting in some solid saddle time to get back some of the snap I had this past CX.
Good luck to Fernando heading south, way south, to Columbia for the Pan Am Championships. Good luck to team USA down there as well!
Until Bonelli HC #2 I will be in Altadena, Ca soaking in the sun and turning over circles.