I headed up to the Sea Otter Classic on Thursday and took the family for a relaxing no-race weekend. See, I just got back from Singapore on Monday last week and that kind of jet lag always takes me at least a week to get over. So we were just planning to have fun! Well - that idea was quickly forgotten about once I got there and everyone was having such a great time and the whole team was getting ready for their races.
So, naturally, I signed up for the X-country race on Sunday!
And we did have fun.
Mona Vie Cannondale was there with Cannondale, Mona Vie, and the Sobe team to kick off the new 2008 race teams. We had a really impressive and really big booth right next to the award stage and Cannondale was there with the best and brightest to help us out and demo the 2008 bikes. It was beautiful!
I like the new team:
Check out the riders and bios on the Mona Vie Cannondale web page.
They are young guns and it is good to be a part of a team again. These are very talented athletes and it is great to be able to see all them do so well. This really was the perfect venue for the team kick-off. I was really impressed that we did so well in semi-pro and pro-XC and all the rest of the stuff going on -- Cannondale had a lot of folks on that podium and in top 10!
Jason Sagar and I are the veterns of the bunch. I have been with a lot of good talent before, and it is really an honor and pleasure to be racing with him and the rest of the team. Being part of it gives me motivation to give it everything I can to do well and bring in the best result for the team. I am proud to be a teammate!
So - the weekend was real windy and cold on Saturday but Sunday turned out sunny and nice. I'm glad since I signed up for this impromptu race - it would have been a real bummer if the weather turned. But it ended up being really nice and a fast course. When I was down at registration I chatted with Dave Wings - he signed up too. Ned Overend said he was racing. Someone said this was a 'return of the legends' race! I was looking forward to racing these guys. It has been a while and that made it all the more fun! It was nice having everyone on the start line like in the past.
I started off feeling a lot better than I thought I would. It was a bit more stressful on the start line - knowing I had not prepared for this race like I normally would have and then knowing who all was there - over 80 racers on the start line. But I handled it and maybe even better than in the past. As I get older, I still feel that pre race feeling but it seemed like I found my position a little easier once we got going and I felt good.
The track wasn't bad - bumpy, sandy, and dusty, but I rode it well. I could have used a Kenda Karma on the back instead of a semi-slick. But a lot of the track was tight fast singletrack and it was tough getting good traction. Anytime I stood up to push power into the ride I noticed some slipping.
It seemed like only a few minutes and I realized the race was almost over - it had been just over 2 hours...a really short one for me! I had been trying to catch a Japanese rider on a 29er for most of the second lap. I whaled up the last climb at the end and closed the gap and tried to pass. It was a sprint to the finish ...er... rather as much of a sprint that I had left! We both finished with the same time - he was less than a bike length over first so I got 11th.
If we were racing at altitude, I know Ned and Dave would have dropped me fast. I don't remember thinking about where they were, but I knew they were there. Guess once you are on the line you don't think about it much - you just do your best. I got a good start and I could see ahead of me and knew it wasn't them. And I felt good and gave it what I had trying to finish top ten.
So later that day someone asked me why I didn't warm up. Well, I never warmed up even back in the '90s. My feeling is what is the difference? What is it going to do for me? If it won't help me finish faster. Maybe it will help my legs feel better at first but that first lap is a hard effort and they are going to feel it anyway. I guess I just don't think it helps me place any better. But that is what I do and I do not recommend this to everyone - you need to figure out what works best for you.
Jason has a few photos on his FREE SAGER photo stream and this computer decided to run a virus scan so I'm over and out for now....