I was waiting for Joel to send out his race report before I did my own so he could blow his own horn, even though I think heʼs reached the point at which nothing but a win will do and Iʼm sure there will be a few of those by the end of the season.
I arrived at Indio in time to see 4/5 race before I really needed to get ready for my own. In the lineup for Swamiʼs was Rick, Andy, Troy and Mark. The race was pretty fast and the field was shredded by the end.
My first race was the 3s. Like Joel said, there were a lot of drainage dips. I hit them so hard that my bars came loose, even though they hadnʼt doing Del Mar twice, which is itself a pretty bumpy course. Once the bars came loose, I had move the bars back about once a lap, which was pretty scary since my bike started to wobble whenever I had to push them back up. Since I was having a safety-related mechanical issue (though not a mishap which allows a free lap), I stayed in the back even though I didnʼt feel too bad. The race started out pretty fast, but was manageable and mellowed out a bit towards the end.
After the 3s race, I made sure to really clamp down my bars before hanging out for a while in the time before the 2/3 race. As Joel said, it started out fast. While I started out well, I drifted backwards. While the heat may have been a factor, it was really more the motor than overheating. My heart rate averaged 180 beats a minute for the race. It was a pretty bad race in terms of the accordion effect. While I did my best to maintain speed through the corners, it often slowed to a crawl followed by the sprint. By about 30 minutes into the race, I was dying and was really uncertain about whether I could finish. I had to tell myself that I just needed to make it through one more lap each time through. By the time we hit five to go, I was sure I could finish, but started cramping. When we came through with 3 to go, the cramping went from something manageable to my being completely unable to pedal. I coasted up to the neutral support so I could at least watch the finish from the shade. Although it was disappointing not to be able to finish because I had made it so far, I did make it about 20 minutes past the point at which the pain became excruciating. Even before cramping, I was on the edge, especially getting caught behind a crash with 5 to go. While I was already hurting, I had to really turn on the gas just to get back onto the field. I knew there were a bunch of people behind me, but that I couldnʼt count on anyone else to drag me back up.
Other than being reminded that Iʼm not very good, the real highlights of the day were watching the main events, the Pro/1/2 mens and womenʼs races. Jenny and Crystal were flying the Swamiʼs colors in the womenʼs race, which in spite of lots of primes, came down to a sprint. Laura Van Gilder won the sprint by a bike length and it looked pretty easy for her. Of course, she also won a mens 1/2/3 race a couple of years ago in New Jersey and took Sundayʼs race in Ojai for her 250th career win, so maybe it was easy for her.
The mens race was quite a spectacle. Although Iʼve seen some big time races in person, itʼs easy to forget what itʼs like to see 150 riders single file (there were 153 starters and a much fewer finishers). I couldnʼt really tell exactly how fast it was other than wicked. All the primes, including several $500 (and $250 for second place) kept the pace moving. Not a single break got any daylight, with the closest one being Thurlow Rogers, Karl Bordine (28th place) and I think a Sierra Nevada rider. Marc Yap was in there, so he could better describe how fast it was.
It came down to a sprint, with Toyota-United in control and Ivan Dominguez (who also won in Ojai) taking the win. It was a pretty clean win, but it did look like he got pushed a bit harder than Van Gilder did in the womenʼs race. Watching guys who are way better than I am getting blown off the back was a schadenfreude experience.
I followed Indio was Fiesta Island on Sunday morning. Waking up at 4:45 was another of those moments when I wondered why I do this to myself. Fortunately, that feeling dissipated after a while. While it wasnʼt too cold, it was foggy, which doesnʼt mix well with a visor thatʼs essentially a Darth Vader mask. I had not idea what to expect when I got rolling because I normally do an easy ride the day before instead of a double race day. Within a few seconds of starting, I could see my power data was not registering. Although it was annoying not to have that data, I was primarily watching speed, distance, time and heart rate (the better Iʼm riding on Fiesta Island, the higher my heart rate).
One of the great things about doing a time trial (other than finishing) is that when youʼre riding any better than poorly, all other thoughts are erased from your mind. I am quite certain that I thought about absolutely nothing other than the ride between the start and finish. My thought were limited to forcing myself to maintain the effort in spite of the pain, holding it, and trying to get through traffic without crashing. In the first two laps, I went through a lot of people, most of whom were going fairly slowly, so I think that may have cost a tiny bit of time. Unfortunately, I had not rabbit to chase so I had to be completely concentrated on the effort. It was a good effort and I think that unless I had my rabbit, I really couldnʼt have gone harder. When I tried to pick up the speed at the end, there wasnʼt really anything left to put out.
In the end, I surprised myself. Given that my last good effort on Fiesta Island was in May 2005, I was just hoping to get 29:00, which itself would have been my third best time. Instead, I finished in 28:25, which was a mere 16 seconds off my best time, which itself was set with a disc and with Susan Cooper to chase around the course. Matt did 28:17 and Steve 28:19. Considering both of them are a lot stronger than I am, it was a great result. Sumi also rode well (and I should remember her time but I donʼt) and John Welch did around 31:27 in his first time trial ever.
Afterwards, my legs felt as though I could potentially do the CBR race in Dominguez Hills, instead having breakfast and coming back for the results (as opposed to an additional 3 hours in a car) seemed like a better idea. John and I went to Perryʼs Breakfast House on Pacific Highway (itʼs great if you want a breakfast the will keep you uninterested in food for the next 12 hours) and returned to find out that I had taken 3rd in the 30-39 age group and that Shawn Olin had once again broken this course record, taking it down to 24:36 and knocking 30 seconds off his old record of earlier this year.