Bonelli - March 13th
Going into the weekend of Bonelli I knew what to expect of the race but wasn't sure what to expect from myself. The first lap of these races is downright crazy. That was especially true at Bonelli since the course was so short and tight. It was a super tough loop with several short steep climbs and even shorter downhills in a lap that only took 14 minutes (for the mid pack guys) at race pace.
Somehow my instincts kicked right in on the first lap and I was comfortable riding at my limit while surrounded by a bunch of other guys doing the same. In the end I had a pretty good day and raced plenty hard. I was 38th place out of 100 riders in the Elite race. 38th doesn't sound that great, and it's a ways off from my best result in a National series race, but there were a ton of fast guys there, I worked my way up from the back and I was actually 15th American which I feel really good about for my first race like this in a couple years.
Bonelli was tough!
The best part of a Saturday race is a Sunday recovery day
Fontana - March 20th
Racing back to back weekends means not too much riding during the week. Of course work and like still leave me a lot busier than I would like to be going into a big race. It's tough to get physically and mentally ready to race at my best when my free time really doesn't start until 5pm and I also want to spend some quality time with Beth and Cameron. It can be frustrating at times, but I've really found that if I just keep moving through the tough days, then there will be other days that go a lot more smoothly.
My race at Fontana was a little more civilized than Bonelli. The start was still crazy, but once we hit the single track everyone around me in the middle of the field was riding a similar pace. There really wasn't anywhere to rest on that course so it was a solid 1 hour and 40min effort. We were punching it up the climb, the downhill was technical and took a lot of focus, and then the flat part on the back of the course was spent trying to sprint up to the next guy or group ahead of me. I felt like I had a solid start, but was not as close to the front of the race as I needed to be. From there I moved up pretty slowly and just gained a couple spots per lap. The middle of the racing was definitely a lull mentally as I wasn't catching as many people as I wanted to, but I kept after and finished strong in the end.
46th place... another fairly good result with the depth of the 110 rider field. I rode well, but not super. It was one of those races when I looked back at the results later and thought, wow if I was only 2 minutes faster I would have been like 15 places better and top 10 for the Americans. I did my best in the moment and there was nowhere that I lost 2 minutes. At the same time if I was having one of my best days on the bike another 20 seconds faster up the climb definitely would have been possible. So I'm still motivated to get even better! Bring on the next race in a couple weeks!
Stage21 got my bike dialed in again
Not sure how Fontana looks so nice in this photo
Trying to stay hydrated
Another top half finish against the best
Followed by Beths running race on Sunday
Cameron at home at the races