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.

Getting out front early. Photo: Dave McElwaine

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.

My sweet new orange Oakley radars made me LOOK fast, but it wasn't enough to win the Short Track. Photo: Dave McElwaine

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.


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