Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Speeding Tickets and Thunderstorms
I was looking so forward to the Sea Otter Classic! This is one of those races you read about in the magazines, see on local news, and hear talked about by riders everywhere! I was so excited that when I woke up at 315 am on Saturday morning, I couldn't go back to sleep! So I just got right up and left for Monterey! I was flying low to the ground and came within 20 miles of Laguna Seca when I rounded a slight curve on the US 101 and saw my day change! Hiding behind a tree and tall weeds was a good ol' CHP! Phooooey! I haven't had a ticket in like 8 years! I definately got lucky though. The cop radared me at 81 and only wrote me for 75 so that I may go to traffic school. He was a downhill racer and said that he would be racing as well. He wanted to talk about bikes more than my infraction. He did remember to hand me my ticket though!
Well I got on my way and arrived at Laguna Seca shortly after. I changed into my cycling clothes and headed out to registration and then on to pre-ride the course. As I was approaching the start of the course I saw Josh from Team Sho-Air and he screamed at me to follow him. We tore down to the finish line just in time to see Bernice come across in fourth place. She had raced the beginner singlespeed class! First time ever racing a singlespeed! I think she said this was only here second time riding one! I congratulated her and then took off on the course.
As I hit the course I was super stoked on how fun it was! As I hit about the 10 mile mark, the heavens parted and dropped a fury onto the mountains! I thought I would wait it out under some trees with others that were on the course but it just kept getting worse. It was pretty good weather when I left so needless to say I wasn't dressed all that warmly! It took me a good 45 minutes to get back to my car, and when I did I was soaking wet and freezing to the bone. I jumped into my car, blasted the heater and proceeded to strip down. I dried off and put some warm clothes on. I spent an hour at the Laundromat and an hour and half washing my bike at the gas station!
After a good nights sleep in a Salinas hotel, I was ready to race. It was very cold when I arrived at the raceway and there were racers everywhere! It was a really cool scene. The start line was fairly intimidating as well! I think I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of racers in my class. We started on the Laguna Seca Racetrack and my goal was to take off with a full head of steam. I had heard that you wanted to get out in front because the course quickly bottlenecks on any and all singletrack. Well, my full head of steam was not anywhere near what others was! I quickly found myself at the back of the pack! This really shocked me at first as I was rolling at about 24 mph on the beginning flats! When we started to climb the corkscrew towards the dirt, I caught up to half pack. Then as we hit the dirt and started down the first descent, I made up a lot of space. I had the leaders pack within sight when we hit the first bottleneck. After that, I am not to sure how quickly they took off.
As my legs and body warmed up, I felt really good. Because the first 10 miles or so had little steep climbing, I was able to keep a good pace and pick off riders. Most of the climbing came near the end of the race and it was pretty steady for 3-4 miles+. My legs really bonked at about 16 miles which mentally started weighing on me. I was not being passed by any of my class,(that I could tell)but experts were flying by as they were finishing their final lap! I was even passed by some pro single speeders! So the end of the race was a little brutal as the climbing seemed to never end! Finally it did an as we started our descent back to the track, I let it all hang out. I had two guys from my class right ahead of me and as we rounded the paved corner to the finish I locket out my fork and hammered as hard as I could! I thought that I got them both, but when the results were posted I had only passed one and finished 1/100 of a second behind the other!
My goal was to break the top 25 and I placed 23rd! It felt really good and also showed me where I need to improve! I definitely need to get longer! And I could always get stronger. The guy the took 1st killed us all! I finished about 14 minutes behind 2nd-5th place! Even though I ride an average of 16 miles per ride, I need to be able to sustain a race speed for at least 24 miles in this Sport division!
Sea Otter was amazing and I look forward to racing there again next year!