race report and pictures from the first Pro State series race
It was a dark and stormy night; actually it was about 4 p.m. in the afternoon and we were on our way to San Diego. The weather was some of the worst I have ever seen in Southern California. It was blustering so hard it looked like night. There was an inch of water on the road and traffic was crawling as my little Scion struggled to stay on the ground. My race support team of my brother Themba and his friend Anais were the only thing keeping the car on the ground. We managed to make it to our wonderful hostess’s house around 6 p.m. without incident, but it was one of those days where it was questionable if driving was even worth it.
Up early the next morning, there was plenty of sunshine and I was glad for it. We packed the car grabbed some food and headed up the hill to Sagebrush. Conditions were a little sketchy there too, as I had to roost my car through a few deep mud puddles in the parking lot. As soon as I was checked in I changed and hopped on the bike. I was really unsure how the legs would feel being that I hadn’t ridden in the past two days (Yay! school). I cruised down the road only to notice Jeremiah Bishop and Adam Snyder warming up. Today is going to hurt. I got about a thirty minute warm up in and then rolled to the line. I was able to get into the second row right next to none other than WTB’s Dain Zaffke. He was rocking a sweet new Blur XC carbon. It was good to see him rocking it in the Pro field. It must have been a long drive.
The race started on a mellow whistle and in a mellow rolling group on the pavement up to the first climb. Once we hit the climb the real start began. The front group took off like someone said there was free beer at the top. I held on to the line as things got strung out. I watched my buddies just melting on my left and right and I looked down at my heart rate 183! My max is 186, this should hurt more. Somehow, I sat on to the end of the front group at 183 for about five minutes as some freak of nature pulled us all up the hill at a ridiculous pace. We hit the single track and things calmed down as I was able to at least ride at LT. The racing only got more intense as guys were fighting for position and cutting inside lines left and right. The course was littered with mud puddles and the usual technical jumps and bumps of an OHV park. My descending was on today, but the pro field made me look like an average downhiller. Honestly, I was catching more people on the climbs and just holding them off on the downhill.
I battled into the second lap of the single track still feeling solid all around. The legs felt good, really good. I wasn’t quite confident with how good I was feeling and played it on the conservative side. I figured I would just stay where I was and move up slowly, if the pace increased I would respond. The final climb up to four corners had me so excited to be done with my first state series Pro race and the last descent was just the most fun it could be. I was passing lapped riders left and right and just felt smooth and strong. On the final flat 2 miles to the finish I knew I had not gone hard enough because I had tons of energy and I hammered all the way to the line. It felt great to finish. I beat some guys I have never beaten and the legs felt great. I ended up in 17th place out of 34 Pro starters, which made for a solid effort and the goal was top 20. I’m still aiming for a top 10 by the end of the season. The bike ran great and there were no issues this weekend! Thanks to everyone who helps me out! Now back to grad school.
source: Tsering Alleyne