That’s what happens when you have a real job. I almost missed out on the race because I was asked to come into work on Saturday. Instead a levied a deal to come in for a few hours early in the AM, prior to heading up to Big Bear, or was it really the beach? There sure was a lot of sand on the course. So after getting the stuff done that I needed to get done at my REAL job, I headed off to go partake in my FANTASY job.

The drive up to Big Bear was fun. I had almost no traffic in front of me, so I really got to open up the old Toyota Tacoma and screech the tires around the corners. I made it up there pretty quickly and I soon realized it was COLD in the mornings in Big Bear. Good thing I brought a jacket.

My hands froze during registration and I used the port-a-potty about 9 times before realized that everyone up there looked like they were full time professional riders. Then I realized, this is a state championship race. I guess all the big guys did come out. It’s going to be a rough day.

I pre-rode the course and it was a good fast course. However, something changed between that pre-ride and the day of the race because the course on race day sucked. The roads had turned into washboards. Where it wasn’t a washboard, it was sand. I had a very skinny 1.8 tire on the rear that just sunk into the sand. There was also one singletrack descent on a horribly overgrown trail. There was no way to avoid the overgrowth while try to stay on the sandy trail. At one point, I tried to check (as in ice hockey) a rock and knock it off the trail. Well, actually, it was a boulder and it won.

I got a poor starting position. I will never under stand these mass start races. Do people not know that you need to warm-up? Do they think starting at the front when they are slow riders will make them faster? I try to get to line-up no more than 10 minutes before the start of the race, yet it seems as if everyone is already always there. Next time, I’ll just be a JERK and squeeze my way to the front. I spent the first 20 minutes try to get around all of the slow traffic and found myself with a seemingly evenly matched group. In hindsight, I think these guys were just pushing too hard and bonked later in the race, or slowed down considerably.

The quick run down of the race is as follows…..

Start mid pack. Stuck behind lots of traffic on the first climb. Get caught up with 4 other guys who think it is an XC race. One guy is annoying me because he keeps cutting me off, so I finally put in an attack and drop him. Ride myself solo and catch D.Hermon. I stick with him for a bit and ride off. Catch D.Graf. Descend and see they re-graded a road and it turned into a sand pit. Finish off lap 1. Pass R.Forcino. Swap out bottles at an aid station. Keep riding. Getting really tired now. Pass a guy on some Cannondale team. Someone at an aid station says I’m in 7th overall. Get passed on the sand climb (9th overall now). Get passed on the last climb up towards the finish so I pushed with everything I have and pass the Cannondale guy again (9th overall again). Finish the race.

In the end, I found out the Cannondale guy was my competition. So, we had a good battle there in the end. The final results put Don’s Bikes on top of the podium, with two Cannondale guys below. The top 3 split by around 3 minutes. So I guess that makes me…..

2012 Cat 1 19-29 California State Endurance Champ

And sadly, I don’t think anyone was out there taking photos, so I probably have none of myself during the race. Insert sad face here.