2014 San Dimas Stage Race, Stage Two Road Race

these two ladies win top honors today. they were at a quiet section of the course, away from the maddening crowd at the start/finish, and cheered on everyone with their bells and yells. chapeau!

Fub that road race was brutal. What is fub? An inside joke the family will know, and I am sure everyone else can correctly guess. Let me tell you a hard and depressing truth: I rode more today than I did all week. I rode more today than I did all last week, and yes, I rode more today than I did the entire week before that one! That little bit of riding/training that I managed over a span of three weeks did not bode well for today.

Funny thing is, my legs managed to hold up fine. I am not sure if it was due to the intervention of some devine diety, or the fact that they were well rested, but they performed as well as I could have expected. Neither the KOM climb up Canon, nor the feed zone climb of Puddingstone could sap them of strength, cause them to fail in their mission. And while I did let the speed of descending get into my head, it was nothing new, something I have gradually worked to shut out. Unfortunately it was just enough, all it took, and I was unable to keep my gap on the bunch, a gap that I had worked so hard to establish on the preceding gradual climb. Safely down, and into the rollers along the backside of the course, little groups would pass by, twos and threes, sometimes single racers in their own private battles.

The real problem today was breathing. Mine was agonizingly constricted, like someone had bound my chest with rawhide which not only gradually tightened, but kept me from filling my lungs and prevented me from taking in enough O2.

At one point, I guess the pros were on their ninth or tenth lap, and I had pulled over just past the KOM gasping and panting like some mechanical engine that was sure to explode if forced to go another ten feet. Spectators stared at me in horror mixed with concern, unsure if they should rush over, or call an ambulance. Fortunately a group of Pro/1 racers were hot on the heels of my new shoes, and their appearance took peoples' focus away from myself. By this point in the race, I was not the only one in free fall, and one of the riders from that bunch charging after me, was also forced to stop for a moment directly across the road from where I was. As he rested his elbows on his bars and hung his head low, I could see what he was going through, hell I could feel what he was going through. There were a few wary moments during which I was sure he was going to lose his lunch but he seemed to get that urge under control. My eyes were transfixed, and probably glazed over with something bordering exhaustion too. Realizing where he was, and that after another hundred or so feet of relative flat road, he would get to descend with another mile and a half to the finish line, he resumed to finish the lap. And another three, or four, laps to go. 

His courage and determination was all the encouragement I needed to continue in my own pursuit. As I reached the point of descent I failed to recognize whoever it was at the true top of Canon (not the KOM) who shouted encouragements to me, but it was appreciated. Another lap to go, another climb and ensuing circuit of Via Verde, but now I was thirsty and beginning to overheat. Thank goodness the snack bar in Bonelli was open - I quickly downed a Gatorade and got back to the road.

In the end there were no upraised arms for me, though I did get to see some other people raise theirs.

the Queen of the Mountain, Karol Ann Canuel (Specialized - Lululemon), pulled away from the bunch with two, or was it three, laps to go and gradually extended her lead...

while the announcers debated whether she (Canuel) would hold on, and whether her chasers were actually putting enough into the chase, they missed the victory of Yellow Jersey wearer, Philip Tinstman (Monster Media Racing Elite Masters) in the Masters 35+ race. when the did finally realize what they had just missed, they miss-identified the winner as Charon Smith - clearly not, and there's the proof.

Bryan Salazar (OTR Racing) gets into a celebratory mood after winning the Cat 4 road race

a good crowd at the races

a fine display of some serious tuck by Jacob Keough (5Hr Energy p/b Kenda) headed down Via Verde

and yes indeed, Karol Ann Canuel did hold on for victory

Did I mention I wasn't racing, I probably should have done that right off. Other than that little fact everything else up above is accurate. Oh, and that constriction of my breathing - not to worry, it was just a overly tight strap of my messenger bag which got tighter as the day wore on. I have just a ton of photos to sort through, so not sure they will be up tonight. When they are ready, though, the link will be right here.

The Flickr link to the set of a select 126 photos is ready. That number may go up over the next few days, depending on how enthusiastic I feel.