What a day it was. I started off not too far from the front. My plan was to take it easy during the first part of the lap and then push harder as the day went on. I have never wished that I had pushed harder during the beginning of any race, so that was my goal for this race. My other goal was to beat John Dang.
So, I rode at my own pace for the first 4 or so laps. I swapped places with another Don’s Bikes rider, David Graf. Eventually, though, I pulled away. Then, I think it was lap 6, I caught what looked to be John Dang. When I saw him I get a bit excited and started pushing a bit harder. He ended up crashing coming down the Sling Shot trail, nothing big, he just washed out in a corner. So, myself and the other rider who were behind him continued on. Later, I would ask the other rider his name and it turns out he was Guy McDermott, the winner from the January race.
I rode with Guy for a couple laps and we swapped positions a bit. Then, I think it was lap 8 I pulled in front of him and he started shrinking in the distance. When I left for lap 10, my pits were telling me I had about 15 minutes on Guy, which made me feel comfortable because I was able to pull away so late in the race, but lap 10 is where disaster struck. I broke my chain early on in the lap. No big deal, though, I had a master link in my bag. The master link, however, would not snap into place. I tried for about 10 minutes before finally asking for help. A nice rider stopped to help me and couldn’t get the master link to pop into place either. It must have bent or something. So now, I’ve been on the side of the trail for like 12 or 13 minutes. Eventually, the guy breaks out his chain breaker and we take a couple links off and can’t get the pin in. Then, a few more links come off and I see Guy McDermott pass me. GREAT! Then pin finally slides in, I thank the guy, and take off, chasing the leader, again.
I eventually pass Guy and start pulling ahead again. I took lap 10 easy because my chain would skip and make weird sounds. I had a bike waiting in the pits for me, so all I had to do was finish that lap and then I’d be set. I walked a few of the steeper climbs just to not put too much pressure on the chain and took everything else really easy. Finally made it around that lap, swapped bikes, and got in 2 more. I finished at 7:53, which gave me 1:07 for a 13th lap. My 12th lap was a 1:02, so I may have had time, but I opted to chance it and hope that Guy was too far back to get in another lap. He was and I ended up with the win in the Expert Mens solo division. It was a hard battle and I gave it everything I had. It wouldn’t feel so rewarding if the competition wasn’t so stiff.
I do have to send out a huge thanks to Don’s Bikes of Rialto. They have been hooking me up with all of my needs. I get everything there from my nutritional products (at prices better than the Hammer autoship program) to tires, to spare parts, to saddle bags. If you are ever in the area (Riverside Ave. and the 10 freeway in Rialto), stop by for all your cycling needs. Mention my name and receive a special discount for being a preferred customer.