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San Dimas Stage Race

San Dimas Stage Race  March 16-18

Written by Platinum rider John Echeveste


My legs had felt really worked over heading into this years San Dimas
Stage Race, but I had hopes of beating my Time Trial result from last
year. The course had changed somewhat, subtracting some of the flat
lead-in but adding a little extra length to the climb. I went out the
gate hard, holding a high power through the short flat section until
the real climbing started. As soon as I hit the base I felt weak, but
I did my best to keep pushing on. By the 1km to go sign I was sure I
had made a huge mistake, that my fitness wasn't sufficient to get me
in with the leaders. I had mentally prepared for coming in mid-pack,
but struggled on.  As I neared the top I accelerated, trying to
squeeze every last watt out of the legs. I crossed the line and found
Steve, honestly believing I had done terribly. When I told him my time
of 15:47 he was surprised, saying I had done one of the fastest times
of the day so far, and had beaten most of the Master's who had already
finished. Cooling down I though I must have timed myself wrong, but at
the end of the day the time held true, and I had placed 8th of 93
The road race on Saturday couldn't have been held in much worse
conditions. By the time I arrived at the course the rain had already
been falling for hours, and the wind was gusting fiercely. I told the
team my plan was to try and attack, but as soon as the race started I
had my doubts. 8 laps of a rolling, ~7 mile course was actually going
to be a fairly short race, but the wind, rain and climbs were bound to
make up for it. I made it through the first 3 laps, but on the fourth
I got dropped coming into the finishing straight. As the gap grew
between my small pack of chasers and the group, I knew the race would
be over if I didn't close it down immediately. I pushed off into the
raging headwind, just barely catching on before the pack hit a small
climb on the back of the course.  Despite closing other small gaps
through the rest of the race, I made it to the final climb with the
front of the race, which was now about half it's original size. I made
it to the sprint with the front of the group, and seeing that the pace
had dropped while everybody waited for someone to make a move, I took
my chance. Unfortunately I had been much too optimistic, and the lead
group soon surged past me. I placed around 20th for the day. It took
over 30 minutes before I could feel all my fingers again.  I later
learned that Steve Weixel had crashed on the final descent of that
I came into the crit both wanting to do well, but being extremely
fatigued from the previous days efforts. For the first few laps I
tried to remind myself of the tricks of the course, moving up on the
downhill stretch to conserver energy, and picking smart lines through
the first few turns. At 3 laps to go I convinced myself that I could
make a go for it, and sprinted up on the finishing stretch. Now down
to 2 laps in the race, I was sitting 2nd wheel and feeling good.
However, only a few turns later I found myself completely swarmed by
the pack and unable to move myself up. On the last lap I made a few
more desperate attempts to gain position, but finally had to back off.
I rolled into the finish trailing the back of the group, happy enough
to have survived the weekend.