I was bummed last week seeing rain in the forecast AGAIN, but Justin and I had our plans set either way. Saturday we'd race the 5th and final Southridge USA Winter Series race in the morning, head north to pre-ride the Bonelli course in the afternoon, and try to hit the dirt with Stephanie and her new ERA on Sunday somewhere.
I was pretty sure Krista would be coming out with her new bike to race, but was stoked when there were 4 of us on the line! I introduced myself to Essence Barton, who I've heard of, but had never formally met, and unfortunately didn't get a chance to greet the 4th and final woman.
We staged behind the Pro Men and started in the same wave. Once off, Essence pulled in front of the women's pack, with me right on her wheel. We stayed pretty close to the back of the men's pack, and I made a pass around the 4x track, and tried to catch back on to the men's field. Once I hit the pavement, I was feeling good, so tried to put in some efforts and make some passes. Since I'd had no idea if I'd be racing alone, my goal for the race was to keep within the men's field as much as possible and have a good race, so that's what I what I did!
I'm still getting used to the 2x10 gearing, and made a few gearing selection errors through my 4 laps, causing either tripods or short hike a bikes where normally I've been fine. The 26/36 is just too easy of a gear to get much torque on super steep stuff, so I know I need to be down further on the cassette to really utilize the 26T chainring. The 36/36 is too big if I'm not spun up and accelerating before the steeper stuff, and the recent rains have left some rain ruts where normally they didn't used to be!
Overall the course was in great shape (though Donny didn't send us up the hike a bike in the beginning since it's not groomed) and I had a blast out there going back and forth with the other racers. The weather held out and was pretty perfect for race conditions.
Thanks to Krista's phone and Derek Hermon for the photo!
I saw on the results sheet the 4th woman had DNF'd, but it was Amber Neben! How freaking cool is that!! I hope she's out for some more local races, as that is pretty sweet.
After awards Justin and I headed north west toward Bonelli to try to pre-ride. Rain was threatening, and we really had no idea of what the course(s) were going to be, but we set out to get some time on the course, and just started following course tape until we ran into the man himself - Scott Tedro! Scott was nice enough to show us around for part of the loop, and then we set off to ride a little more. It was getting colder, darker, and later, so we wound up not finishing up a lap and instead stopped by Rock N' Road in Anaheim Hills for some nutritionals and much needed bike parts! Had a great time hanging out until closing!
Justin was the early bird on Sunday morning getting up before 5 am and making banana pancakes before our big "bag the peak" ride we had planned. It was about 7 and no one had called the ride, so we loaded up to hit the OC for a few hours of mountain bike fun.
The clouds were low over the mountains, but it was clear as we drove over. We could see patches of snow up near the peak, and the local foothills had a dusting.
As we got to Irvine we saw more snow up on Santiago and knew we'd be in for a bit of a cold and snowy day!
Got to Cooks around 9:15 and temperatures felt "ok", but it was cloudy with no real sign of clearing into a gorgeous day. Our pack set off up the road toward Harding around 10.
Blue skies ahead!
The peak is hidden by clouds
We hit Harding and had a 9 mile climb ahead of us
Around halfway up Justin managed to SLICE his rear tire. This guy could flat in a padded room.
The higher we climbed the thicker the fog got
Until it cleared up again!
The crew at Four Corners
From there we headed into the mist and up into the colder clouds as we neared the peak
There at last!
The sound of the snow and ice melting off of the towers was scary at first! It was really coming down good as the wind gusted.
Soon we set off for a slight bit lower elevation…
We got down to the bottom of the first singletrack, where it was exposed to the biting wind, so headed down to the top of lower Holy Jim where we all huddled for warmth. It was awesome.
Thanks to Potts for the camera and CHanson for the editing!
Almost there, and the sky darkens
So, the ride wasn't as long as planned, and it wasn't all that intense, but I ate a lot of food anyway
Killer weekend overall. Next up is the US Cup Triple Crown Race at Bonelli!