Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Great Orosi Training Ride

Eric Forte and I made a last-minute decision to race the Orosi RR yesterday. Left after dinner Friday, back by dinner on Saturday, rode 100 miles in between. Well, to be more accurate, Eric raced, I rode.

Orosi is another NorCal gem promoted by Bob Leibold, and is held in spectacularly beautiful terrain in the Sierra foothills below Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The roads are fairly beat up, but that just adds to the epic factor. The 30-mile lap starts with a tough, stair-steppy climb that was advertised as ~2,000 ft, but I heard reports of nearly 3,000 ft total climbing per lap. Me and my sore legs believe it.

First the good news... Eric won the 3's. No, he didn't just win, he crushed them. They raced three laps and he took off solo at the beginning of the third lap and proceeded to put five minutes into 2nd place. Add his name to the increasingly long list of people who have been mentioned on this blog and subsequently won a race. You're welcome Eric!

Another one on that list--although I can't really take credit for it because it's becoming all too common--is Hernando who won the 35+. Not sure how that race unfolded, but it was probably pretty exciting. I thought perhaps Henri would uncork a winning effort in the 35+ (since the course was half dirt, gravel, and potholes) but that was not to be. He should have done the 45+, but apparently he is in as much denial about his advanced age as I am. Anyway, word is Hernando will be heading down to Ojai next weekend to take on the SoCal crit monsters. Anyone want to bet me that there will be a break in that race???

Back to Orosi... the p/1/2 race. Small field, as per usual for these VeloPromo road races, maybe 20 guys lined up. Of those 20, about 30 were from MontanoVelo/BPG/RHVilla so it was a pretty good bet that they would try to dictate the 90-mile race to the rest of us.

The first few miles out of town were neutral but as soon as that ended, one of the RHVilla guys took off. Now, at this point in the race, I didn't know who any of them were--they weren't all the 2's we raced the last couple weeks--but over the next few hours I was able to put names to the faces. One of them was Jesse Mendonca who I coincidentally just linked to the other day. He goes by many different names: Jesse, Andy, Junk-a-donk, Jandy,... probably many more not fit for print. Obviously I don't know the guy well enough to use any of those, so I'll just call him Badonkadonk Butt. On second thought, maybe I better not... As it turns out, Jesse raced at Mothballs and was one of the key animators in the break that lapped the field. This reporter made no mention of that fact--a major screw-up for the prestigious journalistic icon that is this blog. Therefore, to make up for that oversight, and not knowing who really took off at the beginning of Orosi, I will say that it was Mendonca. A minute later Arjuna Flenner bridged up to him and soon they were out of sight.

A few of us (Sal Borrego-Crum, Vince Owens, and moi) rode tempo at the front to keep the gap reasonable, meanwhile whenever anyone would really surge or attack, one of the remaining 29 RHVilla guys would mark it. They tired of that game eventually, and let Sal roll off and he quickly joined the break. Alas, Kevin Klein and Grant Van Horn pushed the pace hard up the hill at the beginning of lap two, and the escapees were caught. Poor Arjuna went right out the back, as did I and a bunch of others. But Dominic from Webcor and I hooked up, kept rolling, and eventually we rejoined on the back side. But ouch, that hurt. Sal, with ants in his chamois, took off again with a different RHVilla (Christian Kearney) and soon they were out of sight. About this point, I saw Klein whisper to Grant, and I imagine it went something like "look kid, I know you are strong and holding something back. I think you should ride at your limit the next time up the hill so we can shed all these cling-ons, catch the break, and settle this thing with a smaller group." Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened. Grant, Kevin, Ted Huang, and Matt Willinger (RhVilla too) rode away from us on the climb, and we didn't see them again until after the race.

So, with all six tee-shirts up the road, Jesse, Dominic, and I had a nice social last lap during which pleasantries were exchanged and scenery was absorbed ...until the last few hundred meters, where it turned into a race again ...for 7th. Dominic started it, but quickly popped ...I was moving good, but Badonkadonk came by me.

I am pleased to report that Grant won the race, yet another one for the blog-mention-subsequent-race-winner list! Ted Huang got 2nd, Klein got 3rd, Willinger got 4th, Sal 5th, Kearney 6th, Jesse 7th, moi 8th, Dominic 9th, Vince 10th.

With the out-and-back to town, I ended up with nearly 100 miles. All in all, a pretty good training day.

One last thing... Did you ever wonder what happens to all those water bottles that get tossed in a race? Now I know. VeloPromo collects them and uses them for neutral feeds in his future races. It's hard not to be grateful for a neutral feed, but the bottle I got yesterday was all old and cracked and the water leaked out before I could drink any! Not complaining, just commenting.


Gianni said...

Sounds like an epic all the way.

I saw MAtt at Hanford today and he had a tired but happy look and said it was haaaard.

Nice going!

Chico Cyclist said...

And Hernando won the sprint with a flat tire with 1k to go. Crazy.

jAndy donka-donk said...

Even better about your neutral bottle...

The cap flew off on the first small descent and hit me in the leg......

And thanks for the sprint push, I need to work on those since I haven't had that practice in some time....

Marco Fanelli said...

Ha! I wondered what happened to the bottle top! Cracked and no top... perfect.

I'm bringing my own feeder to Copperopolis.