Another fun, educational weekend of racing in the bag. I want to sincerely thank Bob and Gary for allowing me to tag along and ride to the race with them. The best part of either race was getting to hang out and enjoy some good laughs with these two teammates. This definitely helped ease the pain of having to roll out of bed so early.
Regretfully, my race started at Isabella Creek so I didn't get to do the climb up to the observatories (booo! Perhaps it's a bit pretentious that I find these grossly abbreviated cat 5 race courses a bit insulting but, c'mon, a brotha just wants an opportunity to throw down!) So my race began with a short neutral rollout up a short but steep hill that had some of the guys in my race breathing hard but since we were all brought to a complete stop by an official after this short hill and regrouped this gave people a chance to get a quick rest. After this it was pretty rolly for the next 10 miles or so which kept about 30 of us together. When we came to the bottom of the one climb of any significance I went straight to the front and set the tempo up the entire climb shelling all but 6 of us. When we began the descent our small group was confronted by an icy headwind that kept our speed around 25mph despite the downhill grade. As we neared the bottom of the hill on Mines Rd and it flattened out I began to position myself for a sprint finish by staying on the wheel of the guy who outsprinted me at Panoche last weekend. As we hit the bottom of the last little rise in the road just before the tents and podium set up 5 or 600 meters away I kept looking for a sign indicating how many meters to the finish, but there was nothing, and there was also not a single banner or sign indicating where the finish line was when all of a sudden there was a little strip of white athletic tape in the road 10 feet in front of me at the top of the little rise in the road. So that was the finish. It was weird, both the guy in front of me and I kept riding hard for a few seconds and then as we approached the podium tents and didn't see anything resembling a finish line banner, we both just slowed and sort of looked at each other like, "dude, was that the finish!?". As I pulled in to where the tents were at the podium I noticed a guy pull up quickly in his station wagon and unload some big white banners framed with PVC pipe which read things such as, 300m to go, 200m to go, 100m to go, and FINISH. Of course these banners were promptly set up without so much as an apology to us racers who had already finished. I suppose I should feel fortunate to get 2nd place, I just as easily could have missed the podium altogether by sitting back and waiting until I had visual confirmation as to where the finish line actually was. Going back and reading this I realize how whiny it sounds, but damn, where's the respect? I can just imagine what the pro 1,2 racers would have had to say about something like this if it had happened to them.
After the race Bob generously offered to drop me off in Morgan Hill at my friend's place where I crashed out that night and got up the next day at 5:30 for my 7am start. This race was pretty straight forward. A field of 50 or so racers, a 4 square block course on nice pavement, no crashes. I stayed near the front for the short 30 minute race and sprinted in for 2nd place. Up next, Pescadero RR. Cheers, Thad