January 3rd? Is that the last day I had any free time? It feels like it. A lot has happened since then; mainly I changed jobs (again) and almost completed an entire mountain bike racing season. And then there’s day to day life, which just complicates work and racing. Take today for instance. After my morning ride I had to shower and groom, do the dishes and put in a load of laundry. All this before 8:30 a.m.! If only we had a maid, but that wouldn’t help with the shower and grooming part much.
So, what’s new? The new job is with Vreeke & Associates (V & A), Honda and Dunlop’s advertising and press relations agency. The sweet part is I work out of my house, which means no more commuting – at least not daily. Our office is in Simi Valley and I go there about once every two weeks. I also have to travel a little more than at Kawasaki, but it’s worth it since I don’t have to sit on the 91 and 55 freeways daily anymore. So basically I sit in the spare bedroom of our house everyday and write stuff for www.HondaRedRiders.com. We also publish a magazine titled Red Rider, which has a circulation of 600,000! It goes out to al the members in the Honda Riders Club of America. It’s a pretty good read and I’m proud to be a part of it. There’s a ton of other stuff V & A does; too many to list.
As far as racing goes, I had a pretty good season even though it started out with several mechanicals (all linked to the Cannondale Scalpel) and an unfortunate flat while leading in the last five miles of the opening California State XC Series. Once the guys at Mountain Bike magazine hooked me up with a 2003 Team Issue Orbea (only 21 lbs), my results started looking up and my fitness even improved. After a 6th place finish at the National Championship Series opener, I peaked late in the season and put together two seconds and race win in the state series. I also contested all but one of the NORBA NCS events (Mt. Snow, Vermont) and tied for tenth in the national standings. In addition to my round one sixth place performance at Big Bear, I took tenth on a very muddy Snowshoe, West Virginia course, a disappointing 13th on a very dusty and flat Sandpoint, Idaho course and 10th on a very short, but fun Durango, Colorado course. Missing Vermont obviously hurt me in the overall, as did my poor finish in Idaho.
Other summer highlights included teaming up Sean Donovan and Griffith and Garnet Vertican to race the 12 Hours of Snow Summit. We won the Pro/Semi-pro/Expert 4-man division by 33 minutes and handily took the overall. It was a long day, but rewarding.
And then there’s always the road bike on Tuesday nights, my favorite. I’m a little sad because they’re coming to an end due to the shorter days, but I’ll always have the memories. As usual there were about four to six of us three-lappers who regularly beat the hell out of each other on a weekly basis. Myself, the Brothers Vertican, Josh Underwood, Andy Padilla, Chris Trembly, Marine Tom and occasionally a kid named Michael would go off the front early and set the stage for a night of anaerobic bliss. With only a few long Tuesdays left this summer, those days are soon to end. And then there was Thursday night crit practice, which I still haven’t mastered . . .
So, this coming weekend is the Big Bear Epic and I’ve been giving my body a rest leading up to it. Marked for 75 miles and billed as the National Endurance Championship, I have no idea what kind of pace will be set. I’d imagine that Tinker and the likes will be there and since I’ve never competed in a race like this, I don’t know what to expect. I do expect to do well, at what cost I’m not sure of. I’ll let you know.
That’s it for now. I’m meeting Denise for dinner somewhere (undetermined as usual). I’m going to try and start posting regularly again and even plan to ad photos. Hopefully it will help in getting a decent sponsorship for next year. I downloaded my Semi-pro papers from the USA Cycling website yesterday. For the second year in a row my results were good enough for the semi-elite upgrade so I might as well give it a shot.