I had the chance to try some new things...
Hike to the top of the highest mountain wherever we are...
But now it's back to work... both the full time day job and the training. And since I can't move to Arizona for the winter like the "real" pro's, I'm turning pedals in whatever Norcal weather has to offer.
I've already hit up three races at our local hammer-fest venue, Granite Bay. I always make sure to race these events put on by TBF Racing because they're a great motivator and test of fitness. After a 3 or 4 hour ride on Saturday, it's good to have guys that have just come off of cyclocross season pushing me on a cold, early Sunday morning.
The first was the MTB Kickstart in late January. I'd only been training two weeks so I was not going to kid myself of how well I'd do, but I was going to give it everything I had.
After a good start I was in the front group going up the first climb, but I watched Jared Kessler, Billy Damon, Ron Shevock and Cody Kaiser ride away pretty early on.
Even though I was on my Highball with a 3x10 drivetrain... I had one gear, and it was sorta fast. No pop, no burst, no real "race" pace. But it was a good solid threshold workout and I was as strong on the last lap as I was on the first. And in reality, that's what I was shooting for. And then I went for a nice 2 hour ride after the race... base training :-).
The second race was on super bowl Sunday, and would have one more lap than the previous race. I was a little fatigued from a solid 4 hour road ride the day before but I felt surprisingly good after a long warmup. I was able to stay with the lead group a bit longer but eventually Billy and Ron broke away. Cody and I were riding together when we got caught by 16 year old Neilson Powless who had started a minute behind us. This kid is blazing fast and is one to watch out for. He had a GoPro on his bars for the race... you can see where he passed us at about the 4:40 mark... and then just rode away (he ended up having the fastest overall time by a couple minutes too!).
Neilson's Handlebar Video
Cody ended up having mechanical problems so I was sitting in 3rd by myself but still charging into the last lap and feeling pretty good. As I started the 4th lap, I heard someone yell "Go Clint! Ron's not far ahead!" "No way!" I thought... I haven't seen him since the first lap! But that's the nature of the Granite Bay course, you can be quite close to people for a majority of the lap and not know it because it's so twisty (fun!) and wooded.
The third race was just this last weekend and would again be four laps of fun, but with eight mile laps instead of 6.5. I was looking forward to it and we had great weather. No leg warmers needed!!! (I'm cold blooded)
|Beautiful sunrise over Folsom Lake|
As I made my way back to the venue, I came across a downed rider just as the EMT was getting there. He was in pretty bad shape and they thought he had a broken femur after hitting a tree. I was able to help out while the EMT put a splint on and we got him on the backboard as the fire department got there for transport. I followed up with a friend of his yesterday and I'm happy to report that amazingly he has no broken bones. Very good news!