Several of the UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team raced the 8/4 hours of Bonelli located in San Dimas. Chuy Topete, Greg Twitty, Deron Dodero, and I (Ken Winston) entered the 4-hour race whereas Rhonda Geiszler and Bob Wilcox represented the team in the grueling 8-hour version.
This event consists of completing as many laps of a 5.6-mile course as you can finish in 4 or 8 hours, depending on the event entered. All racers, 150 solo entrants plus many teams, start at the same time. After completing a partial reconnaissance lap, I arrived to the start line a bit late and had to muscle my way into the crowd a few rows back from the front where Chuy, Greg, Deron and I all started together. It was a fast start with a few minutes of smooth fire road before the technical single track began. This allowed Chuy, Greg, and I to clear most of the slower traffic that managed to start in front of us. Chuy slotted in a few bikes ahead of me. Greg and I stayed together and ramped up to what I thought was a very fast pace but not sustainable. Deron was not far behind us.
In the technical single track Greg and I methodically moved past a few riders and entered the smooth and fast part of the course where teamwork is a big advantage. Greg was a perfect companion and we traded pulls when we couldn’t catch other wheels. I wanted badly to stay with Greg to take advantage of working together in this section of the track, so I kept at the fast pace with Greg. On the second lap I asked Greg if he thought it was a good pace, hoping he would offer to back it down a notch. Instead he shrugged as if to say the pace was fine. So I shut up and kept riding hard. For lap 3 and 4 we continued at this same effort. Greg made a comment that maybe the pace was unsustainable. That was music to my ears. But then I noticed we were catching up to Chuy. I pressed on to bridge up to Chuy in the technical single-track section at which time I lost track of Greg. My presence caused Chuy to ramp it up, much to my dismay. Each time we hit the smooth parts Chuy would roar to the front and pull like a jet fighter while I hung on for dear life. Each time we entered the technical single track downhill sections Chuy would let me by and allow me to create a small gap, which never took him long to close once the descent was over. Several times I told Chuy I was running out of legs but he insisted that we were going to finish together. He did all the work and I reaped the benefits (I did give him a beer afterward). The net result was that we stayed together for the final 4 laps all the way to the finish where we finished tied for 2nd overall. Chuy won the 30-39 men. I won and Greg got second in the 50-59 men, which was the largest class of the day with 32 riders. Deron finished 7th, also in the 50-59 men.
In the 8-hour event, Bob Wilcox won the 60+ men and Rhonda took 2nd in the Elite/Open Women.
Team UCC/JW Floors made their presence known at the 4/8 hours of Bonelli. Below are some photos of the podium.