Monday, March 02, 2009

Race Report - US MTB West Cup #1 Bonelli Park

I was up early on Sunday morning and on the road for Bonelli Park in San Dimas. I got there right around 8am and was blown away by what I saw. Most of the mountain bike racing I have done have been smaller local races and this was going to be my first "big" race, but I had no idea how big. The race set up was huge. Tons of tents, vendors, killer start/finish area, big mac trucks wi logos for the US series all over. I was kind of taken back. It's more than I have seen at US Xterra races... including nationals and worlds. I was stoked!

So I went and picked up my packet before the the crowds showed up. There ended up being just under 700 people racing over the course of the weekend. Again, bigger than any Xterra race I have done. I was still kind of in shock of the whole thing. I didn't train specifically for this race but for most of the people at the race racing Pro, Cat 1, and Cat 2 THIS is what they train for. Just like I trained and focused on Xterra West Champs last year. And this being the first race of the season, and a brand new US series, a lot of people came out. I noticed a lot of license plates from outside of Californian in the parking lots. Like I posted about last week I would be racing in Category 1 against some really good mountain bikers, but once I was at the race I realized just how hard it was going to be and kind of felt out of my league.

#6... really... I must have been one of the first people to register.

Ryan met me just after 8 and we headed out for a lap of the course. His race was at 1030 and mine 1230 so we had plenty of time to cruise the 7.5 mile loop that included 1000+ ft of climbing per lap. The course wasn't too technical. Just a lot of fire road climbing and super fast descents. On the pre-ride I was definitely feeling the 4 hours of road riding I did the day before and didn't feel great, but I have never rested for a mountain bike race so I really wasn't too worried and just ready to give it everything I had.

After the pre-ride I headed down to the start to watch Ryan race. He was racing his first real mountain bike race (he went off course in his first attempt last year... so that doesn't count). He killed it... especially after not really riding in 2 weeks because of being sick. He finished 7th in the 25-29 Cat 2's. Solid! Beer Earned!

After he finished I started my warm-up. Nothing crazy. Just 25 minutes of getting the legs ready. The race was delayed a bit and right before 1pm we were off. I was in the 3rd wave (1 - pros, 2 - cat 1 all cat 1's under 30, 3 - 3-34 cat 1's). My class was huge compared to any race I have done. 25 guys lined up for the Cat1 30-34 race. Nuts!

Lap #1
My plan was too not go out too hard and just kind of feel it out then really start getting after it on lap 2. Well that plan went right out the window about 5 minutes into the race on the second major climb. I was some where in the middle of the pack and the guys I thought I could hang with were starting to get away. So I hammered to bridge the gap and then just kept pushing for a bit. I was hurting... it was hot (85+ degrees with no shade). I pulled away from the group and then was caught by a couple guys that I passed near the end of the lap. I had no idea where I was in the race.

Lap #2
I just kept it steady and caught and passed quite a few guys. Just a solid lap. Nothing special. I had Justin just ahead for me so I just paced of off him. I could get to him on the climbs but he would blast the descents and leave in the dust! Seriously... the dude is FAST and we were talking shit back and forth... good times!

Lap #3
I was actually feeling great the the start of the lap and I could tell others were fading. I nailed my nutrition and was ready to make my move. So I did. Right after the feed zone I went for it and was able to get a way and then just rode scared for the rest of the lap hoping none of the guys I was able to ride away from would catch me. I knew I had to work the climbs because I usually lose a bit of time on the descents (gotta work on that). Nobody else passed me. I crossed the line and was stoked and figured (hoped) that I finished some where within the top 10 in my class.

done... and so stoked. I had so much fun racing.

Right before heading back home I headed over to check the results.... and was totally blown away. I ended of finishing 4th out of 24 finishers in the 30-34 Category 1 race. I really couldn't believe it... I was only about a minute from making the podium.

4th Place out of 24

So it was a great race for me and the whole vibe, production, and people out there race were awesome. I was stoked to be able to hangout and race with Ryan, Eric, Luke, Justin and Allison. I am sure they will have race reports up soon. Seriously, I had the most fun I have had at a race in a really long time and knowing that you gave it everything you had on the course is so gratifying. It's been a while since I have had that feeling.

Once I got home and cleaned up I hung out with Beth, who killed it in her first century including being the 10th woman in the KOM! Killer! We had a couple of beers and then hit El Caribe for a mexican fiesta. A pretty perfect day.

Mahi mahi & Carnitas tacos

tortilla soup.


Justin said...

Awesome racing with you man. Thanks for the props going down hill... going down hill is much easier than going up though! Hopefully I can work out my cramping issue for the next one.

Hope to ride again soon!

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

and so begins another succesful racing year!! congrats, always awesome to read these!

Carolina John said...

Nice race, bro. Glad you had fun. you'll get that podium next time you race against those guys.

perrygeo said...

Great race ... I got 3rd yesterday so I guess I'll be seeing a lot more of you this year!

Keep up the blogging too ... I've been a regular reader and I just now put the name to the face and made the connection! See you at Fontana!

Trevor Glavin said...

Nice job man!
Sounds like good times.
That is a pretty sweet looking cycling kit!

GZ said...

Hey - great start to '09. 85 degrees! Damn. I ain't seeing that for 3 months!

FatDad said...

Good job, JW. 2009 off to a good start.

Luke said...

very well done brother!! good to see you bounce back from an injury like that!

Pedal Circles said...

Great job out there! You guys should be ready for next weekend.

Justin Poland said...

You da man Jameson. Send me some of that mojo for the Bama race. Leaving it all out there is one of my goals for this year, no holding back bro.

runninggunner said...

Nice job! Way to go out and kill it

Tawnee said...

Killer finish! That start line looks damn intimidating.

Nothing like some post-race Mexi to top off a hardcore day.

Ryan Denner said...

Nice work on another killer race my man!

You coming on saturday?

SixTwoThree said...

Cool! My guy was there too. He won the single speed.

Kurt P. said...

nice race JW, but get some real socks next time:-)

j.p. patrick said...

Dude! I thought you were concentrating on RUNNING (and xterra) this year?!! What are you going to concentrate on next year? Swimming? Squash? I think you should see how many World Championships you can rack up in different sports!! You need to start a poll on your Blog page you determine the next sport! You're awesome.....