What is “The Man Den”? We’re bringing in some eye candy for the Ladies… stay tuned for more! And enjoy:
The big show rolled into San Dimas this past weekend with the inaugural round of the 2011 Pro XCT; held at long time Southern California race venue Bonelli Park. Flanked by two freeways and adjacent a water park, Bonelli Park’s 5k long course is euphemistically described as an “urban racecourse”, but offers a surprisingly impressive mix of singletrack and fire road—much of which was designed and built specifically for the Pro XCT.
Racers were faced with a decidedly up-and-down punchy elevation profile—with the longest sustained climb lasting no more than two minutes—and a generous helping of narrow singletrack that favored savvy race craft to overtake slower riders. Luckily for me, my feathery Superfly hardtail and 400 gram (!) 29-0 tires made the frequent accelerations that much easier.
The pro men’s race started with a blisteringly fast parade lap around the infield of the race venue—more akin to a Formula 1 start than a mountain bike race. Racers jockeyed for position before the first singletrack descent, with several small pile ups ensuing as riders attempted to pass on the inside line (only to land them in a patch of weeds and course tape.) After a lung searing first lap, I settled into a steady pace and began to find my legs. The few open climbs provided good passing opportunities, as racers were visibly fading from their furious first lap effort. Descents, too, became more comfortable each time around. Despite an untimely side stitch cramp (think: knife stabbing your ribs) 30 minutes into the race, I was able to regain composure and overtake a several racers with each additional lap around the 5k course.
But as is the case with every UCI race I’ve entered, the officials gave me the signal that my day was over after four of seven laps; 1:08 on the course—good enough for 55th place out of a stacked 80 rider field. Thankfully it’s only the middle of March, and my legs are only getting stronger.
This weekend I’m off to the Keyesville Classic—a fantastic grassroots event that captures the spirit of mountain biking. The long, winding course nestled in the Southern Sierra Nevadas is a welcome change, as is the deliciously hoppy “Just Outstanding IPA” from local Kern County Brewing Co. that will await me at the finish line.
Until next time, happy trails!