Ontario Grand Prix – 2011
After 25 years of racing a bicycle I finally got something for free. My friend Mario Cortes has started a new team sponsored by a Columbian clothing company called Suarez and was kind enough to ask me to ride for it. I received two kits a skin suit, three pairs of socks, arm warmers, knee warmers, gloves, vest and a cool jacket! This would be my first race with the new kit. Unfortunately, it’s mostly white. If I had any brains, I would have stayed home. I woke up to pouring rain and wind gusts of 30-35 mph. Today was also the LA marathon. I figured if they could run in the cold, windy rain for hours then I could race too. I loaded up the van and Mufasa and drove 83 miles to the race. It took much longer than I anticipated and by the time I got my number on, I only had a few minutes to ride around to warm up. At 52 degrees, with those cold winds and raining, there was really no way to warm up.
I did the 45+ race first. Small pack of about 35 guys. Luckily for us, it stopped raining. The course has six corners with a little chicane before the 200 meter sprint to the start/finish. I went for a prime but couldn’t get up to the first two guys. I went for the next one, but didn’t get that either. However, I turned around and there was no one there! Five of us were away. It turns out Steve Strickler who rides for Amgen was with us, so his other three teammates were blocking. It was hard for a few laps. With only five of us and no real pack, it was hard to stay out of the wind. Steve and one other rider turned the screws a little tighter and dropped the three of us. I was so pissed. The pack caught us with five laps to go. With three to go the called another prime for a pair of tires so I went hard for that one and won it. With two laps to go, it started to pour. Great…. I got in a decent position, but lost some ground in the chicane and got 10th in the field or 13th place overall. Steve and the other guy stayed away for first and second. If I could’ve only stayed with them………
I went back to the van, took Mufasa for a little run and then back to dry off. My legs didn’t feel that great. Maybe it was the cold or maybe it was the lack of warm-up. I had about 45 minutes before the Cat 3 race and it was getting windier and windier. Twenty minutes prior to the race I dragged my butt out of the van and spun on my trainer for ten minutes. It was cold and windy at the start but not raining.
This pack was even smaller. Maybe only 25 racers. On the second lap into the race it started to pour. The wind was bad. There was no real pack; everyone was in a straight line trying to avoid the win. I went for a prime and thought I had it, when at the last second, some guy came out of nowhere and beat me. Bummer… It kept raining but everyone was riding safe. I think sometimes it’s almost safer to ride in the rain. People are more cautious. I went for the next prime and the same guy got it. He was definitely stronger. As we went through the first corner and into the head wind, there was a surge. I had just finished going for that second prime and didn’t have it to go with the first eight guys. I figured I would jump on the rest of the pack except one problem….. There wasn’t any pack. The race had broken apart but I was in front and didn’t know it. Three guys went buy and I jumped on them. Two of them dropped me so I waited for the next three guys and got on them. That’s how it went for a while. We dropped two of them which left one small dude and me. He and I worked for the rest of the race. I could see the lead eight or nine guys a ways up and two other guys in between us. I beat him in the sprint for 12th. Only 13 of us finished. At least I wasn’t last. I had enough and just wanted to get home. The rain was so bad, the 101 freeway was shutdown. I had to take two other freeways which took miles out of the way. Now all I have to do is my macroeconomics final….. So much fun