San Dimas & Redlands

US Stage Races

Tough work

It’s just over 500 miles between Tucson (where I have been staying recently) and L.A, which is where the San Dimas Stage Race was being held, followed 2 days later by the 5 day Redlands Bicycle Classic. I had sand to the left of me, sand to the right, but here I was – stuck in the middle with you.

You, in this case, were my team-mates Brecht and Ryan and the reason for all the sand wasn’t because we were off-the-beaten-track but heading due west on i10 straight through the desert. Any drive in the USA is to be feared, fact.

Tourism in L.A was a 5 hour affair for us. A leg loosening ride down Venice Beach to Muscle Beach gym, then a drive around Beverly Hills finishing with lunch on Rodeo Drive. Parking the team van on Rodeo opposite a custom painted Bugatti Veyron, worth at least $5,000,000, was a collision of very opposite worlds. That said, one of my favourite things in this world is to be somewhere I probably ought not to be. Let it be said that jean shorts in Beverly Hills are most certainly frowned upon.

Decidedly average was to be the theme of my results in L.A. Having not raced since May 2013, doing 3 stage races in so many weeks had the effect of making me pretty tired. Necessarily so, though.

The rhythm of racing is a mysterious phrase you’ll hear bike riders use from time to time. Everything from remembering what to pack to wear whilst racing, to how to move around the peloton within the race, to actually having the fitness and form to be a part of it. It all comes with practice so when I didn’t race for the best part of a year, I lost the rhythm – “Apathy is the glove into which the Devil slips his evil hand”.

The final day of Redlands was where everything almost clicked back into place. I was just missing the top 5% of my ability. Almost back to where I need to be. The team was great though – just need to pick up the slack on my end.

10 more days of being back in my desert oasis of Tucson to find that 5% before heading to North Carolina for the UCI races of Winston-Salem as well as Tour of the Gila in New Mexico, plus the NRS stage race The Joe Martin in Arkansas. Talk soon…