New course and no expectations brought me to Ione for Round 6 of the Sacramento race series. Ione is actually nowhere near Sacramento. It’s a small town in the Sierra foothills that just happens to be near where my parents live. What a great opportunity to have a visit with the elders and get some VO2 max suffering in. My wrist and thumb are still hurting from my crash two weeks previous, but I have been pushing through it. I am not sure it will even be healed in 6 months, so why rest it now. The only thing that would prevent me from riding would be a cast…or would it?
The first thing I heard when I got to the venue was, “Man, this course is bumpy.” Not good when you can barely grip the handlebars. But I had devised a plan. Riding in the drops felt better than on the hoods so I was going to ride it like a crit. Low turnout for the 35+ A’s. Only 3 guys in the field! Possibly the lowest I have ever raced. But Jeff Mitchell, the series leader, was there and we have had some battles in the past. I couldn’t wait to get it on.
Off we went and after a half of a lap Jeff and I were on our own. The course was like being in a pinball machine. We were getting kicked and punched all around this course. There were some flat, fast sections and some technical turns through trees and such. Overall a fun one. The one thing that I was not really happy about was the “downhill dismount over a log”. Race promoters, please don’t include downhill dismounts in your courses. They are unsafe and there is a reason that the UCI forbids them. Ok, off the soapbox.
Jeff and I just traded off leading laps. I was trying to figure out where I could take it to him. Seemed like he was better in the turns and I was faster in the straights. So we had some cat and mouse attacks to see if we could crack one another. We couldn’t. Jeff had a dig on the last lap, but I easily got on his wheel and tried to catch a draft. It was all going to come down to the bitter end. There was a long dirt straightaway before the finish. I caught a little draft coming into it and then came around Jeff at the last second and won with a bike throw. It was like a crit. A great hour of racing and like I always say, “Just because there were low numbers at a race doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the win. You beat all the people that didn’t even show up.”