The highly anticipated US Cup (Sho-Air, Kenda, Specialized) kicked off Sunday at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, exceeding expectations in every way. Driving into the venue, the changes and improvements were obvious. From the giant black and red blow-up Kenda arch to the newly detailed trailer, gates and start-finish banner, all in black with red trim.
Turnout was huge, parking was scarce and the races were delayed about 15 minutes due to massive lines at registration. Even with the large fields, the races ran smoothly. Thank you to Scott Tedro and Ty Kady of Sho-Air, Jim Wannamaker of Kenda, Tom Spiegel of Team Big Bear, the volunteers and everyone else who made this happen. see pictures in post below.
It was crazy hot (87) and there was no shade on the course! With the snow covered mountains in the background you can't tell how hot it was from the above picture.
The only things I focused on during the first two laps were 1.) trying not to overheat and 2.) keeping an eye on Melanie McQuaid. At one point I passed a rider with a flat, I thought it was Melanie, so I slowed down a bit. After a while I saw her up ahead and kicked myself for losing time, I sped up just a bit to keep her in sight. On the third lap Todd told me to go and I started closing the gap, I actually made contact before I meant to and just hung back for a while as I wasn't sure how hard we would have to go once I tried to pass her, my main concern was still overheating. Once I decided to go, I was surprised with how good my legs felt, I was able to pedal away and cross the finish line ~1:30 in front of Melanie.
I did a quick cool down and changed quickly to do my race clinic. I got called away from the clinic twice, once for awards and once to pick up my check (they wouldn't let Todd pick it up and they said they were leaving so I had to get it right then). Sorry guys, we'll schedule the clinic a little better next race.
Sometimes things go according to plan and Sunday was one of those days! I'll take 1st place any day. Last year at Fontana both Melanie and I had a bad race and came in at the same time, she beat me by 1 second. Fontana is the next US Cup race (March 28th), that should be fun, hopefully it will be cooler...