21 March 2011 | Race Reports
Pro XCT #1- Bonelli: Race Report
Still a little hard to believe that the season is already here! So much for my new year’s resolution of updating my blog more frequently…
Dusty and I arrived in California the day before the race and headed straight to the venue so I could get a few laps in on the course. I made the mistake of rolling straight out onto the course with no warm-up- bad idea. The course was tough- lots of steep, punchy climbs, off-camber downhills, tight turns and really nowhere to settle in. I felt slow and awkward pretty much the whole pre-ride, and I just hoped that everyone else was feeling the same way.
Race day arrived and we were slated for a start-loop and 6 laps. I figured it would be a good idea to be conservative for the first few laps, because there wasn’t any faking it on that course. I got to the front of the pack by the end of the start loop and led going into the first lap.
During the first lap, I rode steady and was able to open up a small gap, but Lea wasn’t too far back so I knew I couldn’t make any big mistakes. I was, however, making millions of small mistakes. In fact, it seemed like every time Ty Kady was riding near me on the motorcycle with the helmet-cam, my riding would deteriorate. Dramatically. It was actually kind of embarrassing: any time a spectator would cheer or tell me I was riding well, I would immediately blow the next corner or make some other bone-headed move. First race jitters I guess. (hopefully got those all out of my system….) By the middle of the 3rd lap, I made the mistake of thinking about how I wasn’t quite halfway done, and I had a moment of “maybe I was a little too ambitious at the start…” Luckily, I think everyone was feeling the same way, so I was able to hold on to my lead and even stretch it out a bit in the last few laps.
It was great to win the first race of the season, even if I was totally destroyed afterwards. Later that day I raced the Super-D (which had considerably less coasting and considerably more pedaling than I was hoping for…) but I only managed to pull off 3rd- too much sitting around I guess.
The next day’s short track took place on the XC start loop. The course was pretty flat with only one very short climb and a good bit of pavement. I knew it was going to be more of a tactical race, but I wasn’t prepared for it to only be 15 minutes long (usually short track races are around 25 minutes). The race started, and we pretty much all rode around for a few laps until there were two laps to go. It was kind of sad. I think everyone was waiting for me to attack but I wasn’t feeling super zippy- I wanted to sit in too!
With two laps to go, there were still 6 or 8 of us at the front of the race, and I was getting ready to make my move when Chloe attacked- right where I was going to attack. I jumped on her wheel, but as she sat up coming through the start finish, I found myself in front again (arggh), with 8 people on my wheel. I figured it was better to make the pace hard rather than mess around with tactics, so I put in a big effort which wasn’t big enough since Lea was able to come around me on the short climb.
I finished second and was annoyed at my lack of tactical skills. Oh well.
After the race, we headed up to Santa Barbara to visit my cousin Isabel and her kids. I got in some great rides in the mountains and managed to find some fantastic restaurants. Definitely well-fed in Santa Barbara. And my wallet is a little lighter too….
Today we drove up to spend a couple days training in Solvang. (I figured I had to get in a good ride here since the last time I was here I got heat stroke and almost died) I got a good ride in today (except for the hail storm part) so now I can check that off the list.