This was the first year for me doing San Dimas. Now it wasn’t exactly ideal for me to do this stage race, especially because I was coming off a super easy rest week/ traveling, but I had been thinking about it for quite some time, and I wanted to go for the experience. I was kind of nervous about my form or lack thereof, coming into the race. I had only done two races prior, and so regardless, this would be some good races to get into my legs to use as build up for April and May. My only fear was that the competition in the 2’s would be hot and heavy, and thus I would be suffering that much more. Every cat2 looking for upgrade points would be there with an appetite. But alas, it was alright!
Stage 1 - Uphill TT
Even though I have made some huge strides in my climbing, for whatever reason, I just don’t go uphill that fast… at least when compared to others. I’m getting there though… Pair this concept within a time trial format (which is also not a strength of mine) and you have a stage that I could do well in, on a very good day. This day was not a “good day,” and I would keep things in perspective to focus on the road race and criterium. The 4.25 mile climb up GMR was tough, although not surprising, as Jason and I were able to recon it the day before. I want to come back sometime soon and ride up there, as the roads are nothing short of spectacular. Jason rode a good TT and ended up 11th among the cat 3’s. I was 62nd of 79 starters. The good news is that I know I can do much better than that. Next stage please…
Stage 2 - Road Race
Actually, it was more of a circuit race. 8 laps of a 7 mile loop inside Bonelli Park. It was warm out, and luckily I had Connor to work the feedzone for me. Great opportunity for a teammate shootout - Connor was shouting time gaps, words of encouragement, and of course giving me bottles - Thank you Connor, those things went a long way!
It was a lumpy, fast-ish course with a power climb, but with enough spots to recover. Our 56 miles cruised by in 2hrs and 20 mins. Going into it, I was trying not to let that climb bother me too much. I had heard different things, but all that didn’t really matter. After talking tactics and strategy with Peter (my coach) and Connor, I focused on my main goal for the race — be within the first 10-15 guys at the start of that climb. That way, even if I started to fade, I could recover mid-pack, and not be at the back. If I started mid-pack or near the rear of the peloton and started to lose contact, I would probably get dropped and my race would be over. The first 3 times up the climb, I big-ring’d it, but the rest of the laps I decided to climb in the small ring, and it ended up being easier. As tough as the race was, I actually felt better each time we crested the climb. With a bit of focus, it wasn’t too difficult to be near the front of the race, and just surf wheels all the way to the top. I think the tougher part was actually the descent because everyone was going full gas once we crested the climb, and then onto the long finishing straight. As for how it played out, the race was kind of straight forward. The only disappointing part was me not being able to stay with the main selection on the final time up the climb, and therefore no chance at the final sprint. I think this is from my lack of form though, so I wasn’t bothered too much. It’s funny that once I solidified the mentality of riding at the front of the race with the race leaders, it was actually kind of easy in that I didn’t have to expend extra energy. Does that make sense? It does to me. (pardon my inner dialogue) I think I rode a pretty solid race, and was pumped to race the criterium on the final day. Finished 41st of 66 finishers, with 1 person not making the time cut and 7 DNF’s. That was good enough to bump me up 12 spots on GC… not that it mattered much. The Bear Dev Team displayed their strong riding, winning the stage and getting 3rd as well. Hats off to them!
Stage 3 - Criterium
I guess anyone who knows me knows that I like crits. Not sure what it is about these kinds of races, but I think I have a knack for how to navigate them for the most part. They’re fun! (all my teammates are probably shaking their heads right now) I was looking to this final stage as one last opportunity to get a result, and it would be my best chance. I got in a good warm up, and the legs were feeling good. My plan was just to stay up front and avoid any sketchiness, and things went to plan for the most part. The slight uphill section through the neighborhood was pretty cool and the course suited my strengths as a rider. Fast forward to 4 laps to go, and as we were coming into the start/ finish, a rider brushes up against me and got close enough for his spokes to trim off the buckle of my right shoe. Blast!! I lost focus for a split second because of this slight mishap, and that was that. I lost a couple of places as I assessed the situation, and decided I would keep racing as long as I felt it was safe. I regained focus and didn’t give up, and decided I would finish those last 3 laps as best and safe as I could. I was really bummed I didn’t get a chance at the final sprint, but that’s bike racing, no? There will be many more opportunities, and I was glad to have finished San Dimas with my form on the up and up. I still finished with the main group, 29th of 64 starters, and one and a half shoes. Congrats to Travis Lyons of Team Mike’s Bikes for finishing 7th. It was fun racing with you this weekend.
Final GC - 44th of 64 racers. Nothing to write home about results wise, but I definitely went home with a good race experience and some good mental confidence. It was nice to race in a cat2 only field, and I’m sure we all wish there were a couple more races like that.
Shoutout to my friends Chcuk and Ryan from Allegiant Air cycling, for letting me room with them. We were all friends before bike racing, and it was great to catch up with them and hang out in between the racing. Thanks also to Jason and Mari-Paz for the carpool. Good times on the road!
A big thank you to all the organizers and volunteers of San Dimas Stage Race. Like my coach pointed out, alongside Cascade, SDSR is a pretty PRO event, and it didn’t disappoint. Everyone involved was organized, helpful, and friendly, and I look forward to doing it again next year, and hopefully with a bit more form :)
Aaaand our sponsors! Giga-OM, ARO Pistachios, Baia Pasta, Whole Athlete, Dan Tian Wellness, Elemental Herbs, De La Paz Coffee, Justins Nut butter, Lazer Helmets, Focus Bikes, and Fresh Air Bikes. Big thanks to Travis for the help with sorting out my wheels before the race, and for keeping the team moving with our awesome Focus Izalco’s. The bike rode extremely well in every stage this past weekend, and I couldn’t be happier.
Thanks for reading.
Onto the April races!