Fontana NMBS Part I

Kitty Bait Fails Miserably

Well, to say that my race experience at Fontana yesterday was humbling would be a bit of an understatement. A little background first: I can remember having this recurring dream in which I show up late for a race. I’m standing helpless in the parking lot when I hear the starting gun. As I’m rushing to get geared up and sprint to the line, I see the pack disappear into the woods. I haven’t had that dream in a little while, but it always stuck in the back of my head.

Sunday March 30th, 5:00am. I wake up good and early so as to not make the aforementioned nightmare come true. All of my stuff was loaded in the car the night before so I wouldn’t have to rush in the morning. I like being organized. As I open the door to leave, I’m greeted with rain showers. As the early spring rain hits my face, I can only smile and say to myself, “Now, this is my kind of weather.” (For those of you that don’t know, I cut my cycling teeth growing up in Western Pennsylvania. I think we average like, 60 days of sunshine a year. I miss my overcast, cold, and muddy rides.) I’m on the road by 5:45.

6:30am. I show up in the beautiful town of Fontana. Strange place, especially for an NMBS race. Southridge park has been half-assidly transformed into the staging grounds for an event which attracts world class racers. The race fans that normally frequent Fontana race tracks have been replaced by a rather different breed. I receive my race packet and am ready to go by 6:45.

7:00am. As I start to stretch out and begin my warm-up, I run into my buddy Andy. He’s racing against the Expert class riders in the Sport class this morning, as well. Since we have until 8am ’till we start, I figure we can at least get on the course and check out the line for the first climb. We’re on the course at 7:15.

8:00am. By this time, we’re plenty warm, and are standing in the first, flowy section that leads to the first paved climb of the course. As we’re stretching again (obviously oblivious the fact that neither of us are wearing watches or have computers on our bikes) we see the lead moto go by with the first group of riders. Oh shit.

8:08am. I get back to the line in time to start with the 35-39 year old group (two groups, and 4 minutes behind my group). I throw my bike over the barrier at the starting grid and jump to the front of the pack just in time for the start. I am officially 4 minutes back before my first pedal stroke. Awesome.

You’d think that since I know I need to make up an ungodly amount of time on my field, I’d be pushing as hard as I could. Well, you’d be right, sort of. I just wasn’t feeling it that morning, though. I’m pretty sure this guy was putting in better lap times than me:

Little Guy

Oh, and about the rain; It turns out that Fontana had completely dodged any rain all night. The course was as dry and sandy as you could possibly imagine. That, coupled with there being Pro, Semi-Pro, and Expert races the day before meant a dusty, sandy, rut fest. There are no tires on this planet that allow you to control yourself in 5 inches of sand. There were actually a few parts on the backside where there were 2×10 planks laid down over the sand so you could ride. Then again, it is Fontana. They may have just been left there after meth party last week. I ended up laying the bike down twice which was not a really big deal. They were quick crashes, and both occurred on one of the beach sections, so I was able to avoid any injury. I did, however, manage to run into some tape at a section where the course turns 90 degrees. Towards the end of my last lap, my eyes were getting lazy and my arms were tired, and I didn’t notice a course arrow. By the time I saw it, I was able to completely endo the bike and get the tape stuck in the crankset. Not exactly a red letter day for yours truly.

In the end, I wasn’t able to talk the promoters into giving me back my 4 minutes. The head official said something about “rider responsibility” and then I turned my brain off. It really wouldn’t of mattered anyway as I only would of been in 4th. The good news is that I still beat 2 guys even with the penalty. At least I won’t have that dream anymore.

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2 Responses to “Fontana NMBS Part I”

  1. Richard H Says:

    Yo Bait,suck it up Bro. You did pretty well for spottin the pack 4 minutes, so things look real good for next time. Also, the site is lookin Killer and your race coverage is great. This Mofo’s gonna fly.( the site )

  2. like the site. sounds like a great race. just be happy it’s not raining and 32 degrees bitch.

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