San Dimas Part 1

“Dude, I passed out in the tub. I had to crawl out man. It’s not funny. I wasn’t breathing for like five minutes. I ran out of oxygen. Oh man, it was waaaay too hot in there.”

Tim Rugg lay on the rug…carpet I mean, having just crawled out from the bathroom while Dan and I watched from the bed. It’s a tight living space here in the Super 8 with four guys and 13 bikes strategically crammed into every nook and cranny. Rugg had been “salting,” according to Dan, in the bathtub with Epsom salt while we’d been out riding.

Left on his own, Tim had himself a little picnic of sweet potato while watching Breaking Bad on his laptop, salting his legs with that magical Epsom. Somehow he lost track of time for an hour and sat in the tub a little too long, apparently passing out, face up I assume.

When he emerged from the steaming bathroom, struggling on hands and knees, then curled into a ball on the floor, Dan and I offhandedly asked if he was okay. Getting no response, we assume he was fine. He lay on the ground for about 10 minutes before he came to.

“What the hell guys? Thanks for being heroes.”

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I’m counting on more of these memorable events take place this weekend here at San Dimas. The four-man pack includes Dan Wolf, Tim Rugg, Colin Gibson, and myself. For the last month, Dan and Tim have been on a cross-country journey, hitting up road and mountain bike races along the way from Harrisonburg Virginia to California. Funding has been provided in part by their own wallets as well as an assortment of sponsors back at their home base, including Pro Tested Gear. I got to test out one of the Pro Tested skinsuits in today’s time trial. They’re nearing the end and grand finale of their journey, which includes San Dimas and Redlands to top it off.

Colin picked me up at the airport late on Wednesday night. Our journey here was a little less fantastical.

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Tim and I rockin some Pro Tested Gear.

I pre-road the Glendora Mountain Road time trial course on Thursday. I felt fine for having jet legs. Chipotle served as lunch and dinner. There’s really no cheaper, easier, and race-nutritious way to get meals on the road than Chipotle. They should really think about sponsoring a cycling team at some point because, for some reason, basically every cyclist I know loves Chipotle.

Stage 1: the dreaded uphill time trial. I hate this thing. It’s a 4.3-mile hill climb with switchback after never ending switchback. Historically, I’ve gone out way too hard, thinking I could do a top 20 or something unrealistic like that by holding 460 watts. I always blow up half way through. I took a different approach this year and underrated my legs’ ability instead. While I’ve hoped and thought about a top 20 placing in years past, this year I planned for a top 40 and rode at a conservative pace. When things started hurting real bad at the half way point, I backed off, fearing the traditional implosion which would see me piddle in at a measly 370 watts. I backed off and kept things uncomfortable, but realistic. With 2K to go I realized I’d gone way too easy and immediately lost motivation to even pick things up at the end. I finally mustered up some courage for the final 50 seconds and sprinted in like an idiot. I’ve done two other time trials this year, and I went 100% for those, collapsed over the bars and coughed up bile afterwards. After this one, I felt like I’d done a moderately hard interval. I knew I’d wasted the day.

I came in at 53rd place, three whole places better than last year. Wow congrats Kennett, you pansy! I won’t make excuses; I rode like a damn wimp. Like a man with everything to lose and nothing to gain. Like a guy who’d been working on a company project for months on end, putting in early mornings and long nights, then, at the eve of the deadline, he’d gotten a call informing him that he’d just inherited $100 million from a recently deceased, long-lost uncle, so therefore he just sort of packed it in and drifted through the final days of work, soft pedaling and dreaming about sunning himself on his yacht in the years to come.

The only difference is that I DID have something to lose and EVERYTHING to gain, since I haven’t won that lottery yet. Every race day is an opportunity to put those long hours in the saddle to use, to show what you’ve been up to that winter, and to earn your keep. So yeah, I completely fucked up my entire 2014 campaign already.

While I rode like a frail-legged jerk, my former teammate Ian Crane of Jamis smashed that hill to oblivion with a 6th place! Now that was cool to see. I love it when friends and former teammates get a taste of success. I do risk entering a dangerous zone of contentedness though, since, unfortunately, every year I make new friends in this sport. Pretty soon I’ll be happy after every race no matter how I do since someone I know will have had a good ride. I hate this new compassionate limp dick I’ve become.

That night, as I was talking to Adelaide on the phone outside on the motel patio, I felt a rumble. An earthquake. I got downstairs into the parking lot, hoping the shaking would pick up a bit so I could see some carnage, some explosions, some double story collapses, car collisions, explosions, blood, guts, last screeching screams of life. I’m only being honest hear. While I don’t want people to get killed, I do love me a good natural disaster, and living through one would make a great blog post. But sadly, things calmed down pretty quickly. A panicked Japanese couple came running out of their room to the parking lot 10 minutes later with their shoes off and their suitcases packed. A little late if they’d actually needed to abandon the building. Their delayed, half-hearted reaction reminds me of my time trial effort. There’s always tomorrow, which is actually today now.

Saturday (today)—Stage 2 and the whole reason I’m here racing at San Dimas. The circuit race is going to be a throw down since the winner of yesterday’s TT, James Oram of Bissell, only has two teammates. I’m expecting Jamis to go monkey poop today. Ape shit.

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