2 April 2009  |  Race Reports

US Cup #1: Fontana

After 6 days at our team camp in the Bay Area, we flew down to Fontana for the first US Cup race.  It was an early morning.  Waldek, Catharine, Chloe and I had to get up before 5am to make our 7am flight from Oakland to Ontario (the closest airport to Fontana- which is right outside of L.A.).  By the time we arrived at the venue (around 8:45) I was feeling pretty sluggish.  Luckily I can always count on Dusty to have an ample supply of caffeine around him at all times… I had a quick cup of coffee and then headed out to pre-ride the new Fontana course.

They added a long, steep and pretty loose climb that I knew was going to have to run part of.  There was also some new singletrack as well as a few sections that were the same as years past.  The lap was pretty short- under 25mins and we were slated to do 4 laps.  After the pre-ride I was still feeling slow- solution?  More coffee.  I actually had enough coffee that getting on the trainer to finish my warm-up seemed like fun.

I wanted to get a good start and be near the front for the steep climb, but I wanted to be a little conservative so I wouldn’t blow up.  I got the hole shot and led for the first climb and descent, but Catharine passed me on the paved climb.  She was going fast, and I couldn’t stay on her wheel when she passed me.  She opened up a small gap, but I caught up on the downhill and passed her when she washed out in a corner.  She caught back up on the next climb, and we were pretty close coming through for the second lap.  She opened a gap up on the climb, but I kept her in sight- I don’t think it was ever more than 20 secs or so.  I caught up at the end of the second lap, and we rode through the start-finish together.  She was climbing fast, so I let her go in front to set the pace.  Again, she gapped me on the steep climb, but by the time we got to the next climb, I had caught up.  My legs started to open up a little and I was feeling good. I was riding a little faster, so I passed Catharine on the next climb and was able to open up a small gap on the downhill and flat section.  I came through the start-finish with about 20 secs and stretched it out to 1:30 throughout the next lap.  I was pleased- I rode a steady race and it paid off in the end.

It was good to have a little back-and-forth, and I think ‘cross racing has really helped me to race smart.

For lots of videos and race coverage, check out this website– Colt McElwaine has done a great job with it. The website has all kinds of cyclocross and MTB news and videos.

So now I am back at home for a few weeks of training before Sea Otter.


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