This is my second time racing the San Dimas Stage Race in San Dimas California. The race comprises of 3 stages; a 6.7km uphill time trial for Stage 1, a 135km rolling circuit race for stage 2, and a 90-minute criterium as the last stage. The weekend was going to be a hot one, daily highs in the low 30s, with 15-20km/h winds from the southwest. This race was my first big race of the year, and I was aiming to be riding pretty well, particularly in the first stage.
Luke and I went to the race together, it would be his first race of the year, and unfortunately he had been hit by a car a few weeks before, and had gotten sick afterward, and was only back on his bike for the week leading up to the race. We rented a car to drive to our host house in San Dimas on Thursday and pre-rode the TT course. We were both happy to be able to race at all, the field had sold out more than 2 weeks prior to the race start, and after the organizer had added a handful of spots afterward, which we were able to snag, 155 riders started the race.
Stage 1; Uphill Time Trial
With a late afternoon start, we could sleep, watch E3 Harelbeke in the morning. I warmed up on the way to the course, did a few efforts at TT pace and went to the start line. Last year I sprinted out of the gate which cost me a lot of energy, so I was very cognisent to keep the start effort under control. I felt pretty good, I started out a bit hard, but I was able to sustain that pace until about 2km to go, when I was starting to hurt but I only had to back off a little bit before emptying the tank in the last 500m to the line. I was pleased with my effort, a time of 16:00 for 23rd place and 12th in the young rider competition. Luke had a bit of a rough day, but he said he gave what he had.
Stage 1 Strava File https://www.strava.com/activities/275032896
Stage 2; Road Race around Bonelli Park
Another hot day, Luke and I rolled out of the house 45 minutes before our 1:15 start time. Without anyone to feed us we brought 3 bottles each and drank as much as we could before the race, and hoped for the best. When we got to the course we found out our start had been delayed by a half hour, so we found some shade to wait in. The course was 12 laps of a rolling course with a lot of turns and road furntiture. The KOM climb had been changed from last year to a shorter hill a bit further from the finish, but with a 180 turn before the start of it.
I had an ok race. The legs weren’t too bad at the start, but my head wasn’t in it properly. I was more nervous than I thought I’d be, and I was struggling to get to and stay at the front. I wasn’t so far back that I had to jump around too many dropped riders, but I definitely wasted a lot of energy accelerating out of corners as the pack accordioned around them. I rationed my water as much as I could, but at 3 to go I ran out. The last two laps were hard, trying not to think about water, instead I thought about not thinking about water, which isn’t a lot better. The last time over the ‘Hecklers Hill” I was too far back and too many people in front of me got popped, and I didn’t have it to close that gap by the end of the hill. I was close, but in the final 4km run in to the line I lost 40s to the front group. I finished 51st, and dropped to 30th on GC, but moved into 11th U25.
Luke got popped earlier in the race and was pulled. Only 78 riders finished inside the time cut. After the stage I went straight to the water station and drank about 3 bottles of some kind of drink mix, I didn’t really care, and spun home for another couple litres of water. Our host had made us an awesome Lasagna after the race.
Stage 2 Strava File https://www.strava.com/activities/275621804
Stage 3; Criterium
I was a bit nervous for my first crit of the year. I rode over to the course alone as Luke didn’t finish the previous stage, and warmed up on the roads around the course. As I was waiting in staging before the race and watched the end of the women race with 1 lap to go a huge crash happened right in front of us on the finishing straight, which didn’t really help the nerves. As our race started I felt fine physically, but like yesterday I wasn’t very aggressive holding my position, and dropped back a ways in the first couple of laps. I felt fresher than I was expecting, and I was fairly comfortable cornering even when it was 4-5 deep, but every time I tried to move up I seemed to find myself out of position for a corner and progress would stop. I did gradually move forward, but I never reclaimed the ground I lost in the first few laps. Toward the end of the race a few riders opened gaps ahead of me, but I was able to jump around them fairly easily. I finished in pack in 57th place, and didn’t loose any time. I moved to 28th in GC and 9th in the U25 category.
Stage 3 Strava File https://www.strava.com/activities/276198631
In the end it was a pretty good race, but I really need to work on my positioning in the pack. I’d like to thank Joanne Rumpler for hosting Luke and I for the race and Elyse Nieuwold for driving us home.
Race results available here: http://www.sdsr.bike/race-results.html