Winter training is officially over, and racing has begun! The past few weeks have been full of travel, racing and lots of learning experiences.
The first two races of the season; Bonelli US Cup and Fontana US Cup were definitely difficult, but I took away a lot of knowledge and more experience from each race. I had some injuries, broken chains and crashes, but I am happy with how I am feeling on the bike. I am noticing the past year on the trails really playing a major factor in my technical skills and having less fear this season descending. Coming into race season last year I had vague expectations of what would occur, and how I would perform in regards to the whole mountain bike scene. This year it felt great to have some familiarity with the courses, competition and race strategy going into the races.
Bonelli US Cup XCT was a difficult day on the bike to say the least. I had a fabulous start and I was right up in the top ten of an HC field for the first lap and a half plus stat loop- I also reached a new max heart rate which I paid for about five minutes later. It was challenging to have blown and crashed but such is life. I took away a lot from the race and realized again which strategic style of racing suits me best, and created ways to implement that into my race plan for the next weekend. The short track the next day was really fast and hard with a bummed shoulder, but I felt like I got my race legs underneath me fast.
Molly, Peter and I had a great week staying in Chino Hills. I did quite a bit of exploring on the bike throughout the 909 and East of Los Angeles.
Carbon Canyon Road
We found an amazing coffee shop by where we were staying that was run by a Romanian cycling family. They were super friendly and the coffee was the best I have had!
The following weekend was Fontana US Cup. Fontana is a really fun, flowy, sandy course to ride, and I honestly had one of the most fun experiences on a course while racing. The race virtually climbed for 12 minutes and then descended for seven minutes. I decided to start off this race with more pacing goals in mind- which for those of you who know me well is a very hard thing to do being so competitive! Knowing I can start with the best- even that I know I’d blow- makes it difficult to hold back and save myself. It ended up paying off, and I was making up huge ground on the following laps. Halfway through the second last lap I made a poor shift through the sand and I ended up snapping my chain. I was of course disappointed but I have finally learnt over the past years of injury to take away the best points from the race, and let the others go-or take them as tools to learn with.
Mitch during Fontana Short Track
Peter during Fontana XCST
Getting ready before the start
View of the 909 from the top of the climb at Fontana
Rough area of the course- there were shopping karts and scary dogs!
A bit of 909 exploration with Pete
Another shot of the Fontana course
I now have a lot to practice, fitness to gain and more fun riding bikes to be had!
Molly and I are now up in Menlo Park, California which is just South of San Francisco- right in Sanford Park area. We are staying with wonderful friends/host housing family with two awesome kids! I have been beat at h.o.r.s.e and many other made up basketball games by a six year old all week- basketball was the only sport I could never really do! I have done some amazing exploring on my bike this past week and I have one more week to see even more. We are heading down to Monterey for Sea Otter this coming weekend and I am really looking forwards to it- one of my favorite places to be!
I know its a goofy photo- but I held the camera up and burst out laughing- true emotion caught!
I have been exploring on an awesome commuter around Sanford Uni
There has been SOOO much rain here, one day I was soft and rode the rollers
Amazing one lane roads and redwoods on Tunitas Pass- absolutely breathaking
I turned around on the coastal route and was caught by surprise of this view!!
I came across a scary sign...I did learn how to stand up to mountain lions
I found some awesome salamander newts...
Which I learnt a day later they were very poisonous- even to touch as they secrete toxins. They are the most poisonous of newts. (http://people.uwec.edu/piercech/animals/newt.htm) Scary.
Page Mill Road climb- An hour up! It was freezing at the top
The kids I am staying with wanted cookies so I whipped up a batch in 10 mins from scratch and were awesome. There mom was probably happy they had no sugar, they're pleasantly wild at all times of the day
I seem to be having more fun on my bike every day, and there is not much more I can want!