What a great week we had hanging out in Oceanside, CA. After Bonelli, Meg, Coop, Troy, Winston and I loaded up the truck and pointed it towards the coast for our temporary home away from home between the races. We got to take Coop to the beach for the first time. He prefers his bath water.
It was great getting to catch up and ride with Rude all week. We didn’t get to do too much training though as we were both pretty tired from the Bonelli races. It’s amazing how hard you can push at proper sea level and how sore the muscles get. I have been in Tucson for the past few months which is only 2,500 ft but I can still push much harder at sea level. So we did a bunch of easy riding, took some naps and watched the sun dip into the pacific a few times. It seemed like we had just settled in and we had the car packed and were headed up to Fontana. On the way up we made a detour to visit Blick and the Oakley crew. Look who’s blocking the entrance.
Fontana has to be one of the least inspiring cities in California. It is clogged with congestion, truck traffic and noise. There is graffiti everywhere and its just ugly. It’s one redeeming quality is it has Awesome mountain bike trails. The terrain has a little of everything. There are flowy trails, big grippy rocks, steep corners and punishing climbs. It is a great course for racing and if you watched the live coverage this weekend you could see all the lead changes and battling going on.
Again, I’m not going to do the play by play because if you’re reading this you probably watched or read about it. I will say I had a crap start. The start is on crushed up asphalt the park uses to keep the dust down and is great for setting up the venue on. It is not great for starting 100 guys in an XC. It doesn’t help that you make a 180 degree turn after about 50 yards either but it’s the same for everyone so who am I to complain? After my less then stellar start I managed to move up pretty well. It felt like once I made it to the front I couldn’t get a breather b/c with 2 Treks and 2 Cannondales they were constantly sending guys up the road and since I didn’t have anyone up there it was up to me to chase. I was in contention all the way until McConnell turned the screws when we entered the single track climb on the last lap. I couldn’t match the pace and wouldn’t see them again until the finish. It was so great having all those guys come over for these races though. I can’t thank Scott Tedro enough for putting this series on, providing live coverage and getting all the international guys over here. Kudos.
Sunday was the STXC and I managed to improve on my string of recent 4th places by moving up 1 spot for 3rd. With 2 laps to go Ettinger attacked and both Montecon and McConnell made an effort to chase but couldn’t close it down. I tried to jump across on the last lap but came up short and Emil was able to get around me for third. Again, it was so much fun racing with everyone, I wonder how we could get all the guys to come back over for the Colorado Springs US Cup? Sure the racing is much easier with out them here but getting to race against some of the World’s best in sunny California in March is a real treat.
A few other side notes from the last week or so. Coop locked in his first pair of Oakleys! He still has a little bit of growing to do before they fit but he’s living it up.
It’s also cool to see Montoya and Ben racing down there as well. That’s Christine in the picture as well, I couldn’t have made it through the Leadville/Breck Epic with out her. Between the massage and acupuncture she kept me going every day.
We are back in Tucson and if you think you travel with a lot of stuff as a bike racer you should try adding in a baby and a dog. I didn’t think we could fit so much stuff in the truck but by the end of the trip I was a pro at packing it all up snug and fast. I think I can put a pack and play crib thing together now in under 2 minutes flat.
I’m going to enjoy a few days of down time and sitting at the pool. I’ll be eating too many pastries, drinking too many chocolate cappuccinos, maybe enjoying a happy hour and some deserts. Then it’s back on the program and busting out some of the long 6-7 hour riders I didn’t get to this winter because of my knee injury and decreased build time. I’m looking forward to those long MTB rides where I run out of water in the middle of the Sonoran desert and start wondering if I’m ever going to make it home.
I wonder what Smalls is doing right now…….