Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hey ya'll, I just rolled in from a long weekend of my first sea otter experience, and overall, it was a pretty good one. First things first though: Nils I'm really glad to hear you're OK. I had to apply the brakes rather hard to avoid a couple squirrelly riders myself this weekend-stressful indeed. I also met a couple teammates this weekend as well. It was nice to see people from Santa Cruz on my team show up to throw down at an event such as this that attracts riders from all over the west coast. Miles especially, congratulations on a stellar performance. OK, on with the "race report".Since the outdoor school that I work at is on spring break this week I found myself with a few days off, a girlfriend who wanted an adventurous vacation that included bicycle riding and camping, and, of course, my own selfish desire to race my bike. So after a bit of scheming on my part I came up with the perfect solution. On Wednesday April 15th my girlfriend and I decided to ride a tandem bicycle down to Monterey and pull my race bike and camping gear in a cargo trailer behind us. This first leg of the adventure found us battling some pretty crazy winds (pushing our rig through sand dunes that had spilled over the bike path in various places) as we pedaled down the coast and arrived at race registration at the laguna seca race park late in the afternoon. Registration for the rr and circuit went fine but I was informed that even though I had pre-registered online for the crit, there was, in fact, no crit for the open cat 5's but that I would be able to race the men's 35+ crit instead. I wasn't too excited about this, but since it would count as another cat 5 start for me I intended to just do it anyway. Thursday morning I woke up early to get a good, long warm-up in before for my 9:55 start time. At exactly 9:54 an official pulled me from the start line and told me I couldn't do the race because I was too young. I said, yes, I was aware I was too young but the people at registration told me I could do it anyway since there was no open cat 5 crit. He said the people at registration didn't know what they were talking about and never should have told me that. I begged and pleaded to be able to race. He pointed to registration and told me to go get a refund. So I did. And so began the waiting game for my next day's road race which started at 3:30. By the time my road race started on Friday I was feeling pretty antsy to say the least so, 22 miles into my 47 mile race, when I found myself accidentally dropping the peloton without effort on a hilly section during the second lap I paused for a moment knowing full well I should sit up and wait, but I didn't, I was curious to see what I could get away with so I just got down into the drops and unleashed the hounds. The next 25 miles was a blissfully painful exercise in deep breathing and holding proper posture under duress. It was fun to have the referee on the motorcycle come by me the next 4 laps and tell me my lead gaps were 0:45, 1:35, 1:55, and 2:15 respectfully. The last half mile going up Barlow Canyon I totally cracked. One rider launched off the chase group and passed me 300 meters from the finish and I hung on for second. It would have been nice to get the win, of course, but I didn't care, I had a blast. I'd let it all hang out and rode like there was no tommorrow. Only there was a tommorrow, or more specifically, my circuit race which started at 9:30 the next morning. So my girlfriend and I went out that night and I had a beer and stuffed myself to the brim with as much pizza and pasta as I possibly could. I took the leftovers back to our campsite and I'm glad I did because at 1AM or so I woke up starving and scarfed 4 more pieces of pizza and pounded a liter of cytomax. The next morning my legs felt tired so I just spent most of the race sitting in about 5 or 6 back from the front. On the last lap around the race track I threw down a weak-legged attack at the base of the climb and 4 other riders came with me. I gave it everything I had on that climb leading the breakaway over the crest and then I let a couple riders pass me on the descent and I sat in and tried to breath deeply and recover before the finish. The last couple hundred meters I was pleasantly surprised to find myself coming around the 2 riders in front of me for the sprint win. Sweet. Sunday morning Jessica and I packed up our camping gear and my race bike onto the cargo trailer, hopped onto the tandem and pedaled home to Santa Cruz.


Nils said...

Haha, Thad, you're insane! That picture of your tandem + trailer + bike in trailer is PRICELESS. I love it.

Dennis the Mennis said...

Dude, too cool! And congrats on the awesome win!

Jim Langley said...

Really fun seeing the photos, Thad. Did you pay for that campsite or did you just grab a spot somewhere and settle in? I didn't know you could do that if you did. Very cool way to do the Sea Otter and awesome job at the races - most impressive!