2016 San Dimas Stage Race, Stage 1

First, a little favoritism - Go Gauchos!

Prescient. Forward thinking, or an ability to think ahead. Being able to gauge what might happen in the future based on past experience and observation. It is not guessing, and is certainly not fortune telling and crystal ball stuff. It is empirical, and useful. Bill, and if you don't know Bill, he handles all the media stuff for the San Dimas Stage Race (SDSR) year after year possesses, at the least, some degree of prescience. This is such a crowded weekend on the Southern California race calendar, and I was not sure what form my schedule would ultimately take, so I didn't bother taking out media credentials. Well, this morning, after riding up the road a bit for some photos of the early categories, I came back down to the start and registration areas where I was spotted by Bill. We greeted one another and then said, "Michael I have something for you." He walked over to one of the tents and I followed. Once there he dug into some files and came out with a printed and laminated badge and, with lanyard it was ready to be worn. "You hadn't contacted me this year, but I figured there was a good chance that you would be here." And there you are. Prescient. Bill. And just so you know, sir, this might be the reason, or one of them, they keep asking you back every year. Thank you, once again.

Anywho, SDSR kicked off  this morning with clear skies, warm temperatures, and full fields. As usual the stage one time trial took racers up Glendora Mountain Road (GMR). Among those challenging at this years' race are two names you may be familiar with - Kristin Armstrong making a comeback in the midst of motherhood, and Chris Horner who, after a lengthy and stellar international career, is now racing with the domestic Lupus Racing Team. While the big names, such as those, do not necessarily define a race, they certainly add an elevated level of excitement and expectation.

As I have mentioned in the past, one of the things I like about the opening stage time trial is the flow of conversation as riders descend the mountain curves following their ride against the clock. There is an, often, interesting mix of impressions and individual experiences from the course, or elsewhere. Some of the talk I caught today included:

"So are you the guy who's going to put the hurt on Chris Horner today?"

"I felt like throwing up."

"When I got to the top I was like, I'm going to hurl, I'm going to hurl."

"You were a bad Cat 3 and now you're throwing down Pro/1/2 numbers? Right!"

Oh, and if you happen to be one of the numerous who called out a "thanks" to me as you came back down - it is appreciated.

You know, the time trial does not always set the stage for what is to come, but it is a pretty good bet that to finish well in the general classification, you need a good run up the GMR. That said, there were some good runs up GMR this morning, and afternoon, so the competition will still be tight over the next couple days. My observation today - there were a whole lot of people smooth pedaling with power up the road today, some more so, others less so, as it usually is. Most people were doing it from the saddle, leastways they were at the corner where I was standing. Except for the numbers pinned to jerseys, or zip-tied to bikes, they might have been out for a Sunday spin - that is how it looks to the unknowing camera. But there were the racers who made it look like a race, those who got out of the saddle and showed me some effort - this post is for you guys and gals.

Cat 4 racers, when photos are up, they will be almost all descending

Travis Wilkerson

clearly the legs of Mr. Charon Smith were made for more than winning sprints

Scotti Lechuga

OTR = Other Than Routine = Always Having Fun

As usual, the one hundred forty-eight photos that are in the Flickr album should be considered representative selections rather than a complete catalog. And remember, if you don't see who, or what, you are looking for just let me know and I will see what I can find amongst the remainder.