Tuesday, March 15, 2011

US Cup Bonelli; Ara's Race Report


We always called the Bonelli race "Smelli Bonelli" from 2004 when there was a dead fish in the Raging Waters runoff which we had to ride through. We all dreaded this race because the whole thing was a fireroad circle where it usually reached 100 degrees on the freeway side climb. Things have changed and have changed for the better. The course was awesome. Plenty of technical singletrack with obstacles that smacked our chainrings and twists/turns to make us dizzy. Cat 1 had to do 4 laps of 5.1 miles. Those steep power climbs got tougher and tougher.

I was personally looking for redemption from the Sagebrush race. Getting hammered the night before was not a good idea. This time I turned off my cellphone at 8pm and was in bed, daylight savings time came early for me. With my trusty sidekick and all around good guy Shortstack we drove out in the dark towards Bonelli for the 8am start. It was nice and chilly with a good marine layer banked in. For the first time I felt prepared getting to the race course. The 5 race bottles were topped off with Amino Vital, the bike was in perfect condition with the # already zip-tied on. For the first time I wanted to warm up on a trainer, dude, that was great. In just 10 minutes I was sweating and by the end of the warm up I was feeling loose. Roger dialed in my tire pressure just perfect.

Got to the start line little late so I was stuck in the back of a large pack. Could see my category scattered around the other categories, eyeing them up. A couple of familiar faces from the past couple of years and new ones. Gun goes off and we're gone. Felt good because of the warm up and pass a few on the first steep climb and settle in the line for the first singletrack section. The singlespeeders were right behind me and ahead of me so that gave me motivation not to slack off.

I found my nemesis for this race right on the first lap. Bearded guy (I was jealous) with the Giant jersey. I passed him and then he came right back and passed me. For the first two laps were were just going back and forth. For a bit I had lost track of him in the twist and turns but fought through and reeled him back in. The Karma tires were hooking up really well on the descents. The Tomac Type-X was a dream again on the ups and downs. All of these factors gave confidence and ability to be competitive. The Rage was coming out. Mustered some motivation and passed him hard on a climb and didnt look back. That was a personal victory for me that day.

The last lap was the most painful. I felt the first twinges of cramping in my hamstrings. Didnt want to slow down too much or stop because of the bearded Giant rider, so I chugged the last of my Amino Vital and kept spinning. The last twist and turn climb near the finish nearly did me in, any second my legs were going to seize up but managed through and finished strong.

In the end, I was hoping for a top 10 finish but got 13th. Was a little disappointed but felt much better physically and especially mentally. Still got alot of work ahead of us. The word is Fontucky is going to be really tough in two weeks with a new extended climb. Hamstrings are "toiwght like a tiger" right now.

It was great to have everybody there for support. Shortstack feeding me bottles, Mr. Margve and his family cheering us on, and my brother, his wife, and nephew was great to see. Big Al made a cameo appeareance at the end. Christie and Greg Pleiss were there also to support Carolyn. Mallory is 18 months old with Christie due in the next month with a boy, awesome seeing them again.

Major thanks to Roger again for the work he does setting up the easy-ups and looking after us. Humberto is an animal with his new Niner, 7th place ! We all missed Vegas Bob's ginger hair on Sunday. Cheyne had a bad ass handle-bar mustache. Vanessa needs to drink more beer. Mark Thome is my hero.

Finally thanks to our sponsors. Tomac bicycles, Kenda tires, Amino Vital, Xpedo pedals, Sigma, Spinergy Wheels, and Ryder sunglasses. Thanks to Jay and Jim at Royal for the gloves and socks for the race. Anybody else? God? Sacred Elephant? Mom? Chris?


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