Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vegas Bob's Vail Lake US Cup Report!

Hey Cap’n!

The 2012 season started in Temecula at the Vail Lake Resort. The dry and unusually hot weekend made for a very interesting inauguration to this year’s series. Earlier in the week I was wearing winter gloves and 3 jerseys, with arm and leg warmers for my crisp 45 degree morning rides. But on race day the temps soared to over 85 degrees! Thankfully there was a breeze doing some cooling, but it also added to the dryness out in the inland SoCal desert. Getting to the venue, Ara had already set up the SIGMA ez-up and had chairs and coolers ready. I registered and saw Claudia spinning around and I quickly jumped on my Tomac to get my legs going as well. All three of us then headed to the line for our 1:15 start. OH YAY! the hottest part of the day, thank you very much!

It was a fast start as always, but I started on the front row and there was plenty of room to maneuver over the hard-pack jeep road so we could sort ourselves out without running each other over. The climbing began straight away, with lots of very steep pitches. Quick, sharp uphills that then dropped off on the other side, with rocky outcroppings scattered about to keep you on your toes on the way to the next stinger uphill. Next came a more sustained long climb and the leaders were already gapping off the front. Ten minutes in I was already foaming at the mouth and had a misstep on an uphill rock section. The guy behind me hiked by and I let the next 3 go and jumped on the tail of their fast-moving train. It wasn’t long before they left me in the dust too, though. There wasn’t much rest on this fast course, as the next section was a super rollercoastery singletrack through the valley. Left, right, left, right twisties. Inattentiveness was definitely a hazard, even a second of it and your front tire was off the track in a corner and into the bushes.

A longer section of uphill switchbacks with some steep rollers followed and I put my nose on the stem and used the great grip on my Small Block 8’s to grind up them. The rest of the course had lots of little ups and downs before a couple of fireroad sections that led to back to the Start/Finish area. Humberto was Johnny-on-the-Spot with a water bottle exchange, which was great because I had already completely drained my Gel-Bot of water and gel, and half of another of Amino Vital.

The second lap it seemed to be hotter, and even though I doused myself with water a few times I was really feeling it, and ended up 7 minutes slower than the first lap. Ouch. Another bottle switch-out thanks to Humberto, I downed another gel and some more Amino and I was out on the third lap. The dryness was really getting to me, but the field had spread out so much that there wasn’t as much dust as the first two laps, which was nice. I really felt I was slowing this lap, but tried to just enjoy the fun course and keep pedaling. I felt some cramp twinges a few miles from the finish, but was able to stave them off till the end and hold off the few riders behind me that seemed to be inching closer and closer. I finished 9th and was more than happy to simply complete the race, since 6 guys just in my age group weren’t able to. Not the best first outing of the year, and I’m looking to improve at the next race in Fontana .



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