Race Report Kenda Cup Round #5 by Ken Winston
This was the 3rd endurance race in the Kenda Cup Series and 5th race overall. This is the premier Southern California race series with race venues in Los Olivos, Temecula, San Dimas, Fontana, and Big Bear. This race was held in Big Bear and was attended by UCC/JW Floors members Bob Wilcox, Randy Liechty, Ken Winston, Dennis Mudd, Greg Twitty, Steve Boyd, Pascal Bonaventure, Michael Farkas, Dan Mahlum, and Chuy Topete. I competed in the 50-59 endurance race which was two laps of the XC course which was 43 miles total. Below is my account of the race from my perspective.
I won the 1st endurance race of this series in Vail Lake, but missed the second race which was won by Dave Silberberg of Outer Circle Racing. For this race I made sure I knew where David was on the course in relation to me. I remembered him from a year ago and we battle back and forth for that one with me eventually pulling out the win by a narrow margin.
The race stared with an 8 minute steady climb above 7000 ft elevation which really gets the heart pumping. I do poorly with long climbs early in the race and this day was no exception. I watched a lot of riders including Dave and teammate Greg Twitty move up the road right off the bat. Fortunately the climb is followed by a fast and somewhat tricky descent so I made up enough ground that I caught up to both of them just in time to work with Greg on the next extended flat and curvy fire road section. Dave was hovering about 50 feet behind us and out of the draft. Greg and I continued to work together, ahead of but still in sight of Dave for about 30 minutes until we reached the first long single track called Skyline trail. This part of the track really favors Greg and his superior bike handling skills so I struggled to stay on this wheel and burned a few matches holding his pace. But we stayed together, reaching the aide station and beginning of lap two still together as a team. We shared a banana and a couple Fig Newtons on the fly as we headed back up the same fire road climb that hurt so much at the start. Dave was no longer in sight behind us due to the exceptional pace Greg set through Skyline trail section. After the climb and aforementioned fast, tricky decent we were back on the flat curvy section that is particularly conducive to drafting. We hooked up with a younger rider from the Open category so the three of us took turns pulling. After a few turns at the front, Greg dropped back and I continued on with the younger rider for another few minutes until he dropped me too. I could no longer see Greg or Dave behind me but I was running scared of second race winner Dave. Fear is a good motivator for me and I managed to complete the second lap with no Dave in sight. That last section of the course is a ripp’n descent of about 4 miles. I love this section! I caught up to the young open rider and after a short negotiation at high speed he let me by. I cruised to the finish with a few manageable leg cramps along the way. Dave crossed the finish less than one minute behind me. Reflecting on the win I realized that without the drafting teamwork from Greg I would likely have finished 2nd or 3rd. It was definitely a win that came out of good teamwork. Greg went on to finish 3rd and Dennis came in 5th, resulting in 3 of the 5 podium finishers being from UC Cyclery/JW Floors. Note that Dennis had to return to San Diego early so Bob Wilcox stood in for him for the 50-59 podium photo.
Race Report Kenda Cup Round #5 by Dan Mahlum
Sunday was the second race back for me after breaking my finger on a training ride near the start of the season. I wasn’t feeling well the week leading up to the race with lungs full of junk but after missing a lot of the season I was determined to at least show up. Just before the race Ken told Pascal and I that Guy Sutton (aka Dust, local endurance legend) was there and would be racing in our category. We ended up warming up with Guy as we headed up the hill to the start. As described by Ken the race started with a solid climb from 7,400 to over 7,700 ft so I figured I was either going to feel alright or feel like crap right off the bat so I pushed a solid pace up the initial climb and chased after the lead group of 4 guys we thought were open class and Chuy. Near the top of the climb I could see Ryan Steers (strong Open class rider for Giant) get a huge gap over 2-4 then another gap to Chuy who was a short gap ahead of me. I glanced back and noticed that Pascal was up front with us on my wheel which was great to see knowing that Chuy, Pascal and I could work together.
Pascal and I caught Chuy on the quick fire road descent and the three of us worked together through the rolling fire road section with several short to medium climbs. On one of the last short climbs before we reached the first singletrack Chuy gapped Pascal and I as we were setting into an endurance pace. We lost sight of Chuy around the next couple corners and as we entered the singletrack we saw another rider with a similar kit so we pushed on into the singletrack. We then lost sight of the rider and after Pascal and I worked through the singletrack and popped back out on to the next fire road section there was no sign of Chuy.
Pascal and I worked together on the fire road at a good, steady pace until we reached Skyline, the main singletrack portion of the course. Pascal sent me in first to the singletrack and we held a good pace working through all the singletrack until we ran into Chuy again. This is where we learned that he made a wrong turn at the intersection for the short Cat 2/3 XC couse or the Cat 1/Pro/Endurance course. We rode with Chuy for a bit but then realized it was just Pascal and I again so we pressed on until we reached the feed zone and turnaround point for lap 2. We quickly changed out our bottles and Pascal took the lead up the climb starting lap 2. I then felt a sharp pain on my chest which felt like a bee sting. I quickly unzipped my kit and felt the sting again lower down on my chest making me think maybe this wasn’t a bee, bees shouldn’t sting twice. I flailed my arms around my chest trying to clear whatever was wreaking havoc on me noticing my chest was looking really red. I’m not allergic to bees so I continued to push on and after we crested the top of the climb I fixed my kit and pulled around Pascal to push the pace down the fire road.
The second lap was very similar to the first lap with Pascal and I working together on the fire roads and maintaining a steady pace trying to flow and exert as little energy as possible through the single track and rocky sections. I had several close calls with rock gardens and slammed my shoulder against a pine tree’s trunk trying to navigate a tight, rocky corner. I was surprised to still be feeling pretty good through most of lap 2 and had to stretch a couple times to fight off a slight cramp in my left quad. Pascal and I rode together all the way until near the bottom of the final singletrack and just before reaching the road to the finish line I could hear my front tire hissing air. I picked up my pace and as I hit the road started sprinting to beat the air escaping from my front tire. It held long enough for me to cross the finish line coming in a few seconds ahead of Pascal. We thought we finished 1-2 in a very tough 40-49 category but later found out that one of the 4 guys that went off the front at the start wasn’t racing open class, he was in our 40-49 category and after 3 hr 31 minutes of racing he beat us by only 4 minutes. It still felt like a win as we beat everyone we identified at the start as our competition and finished about 10 minutes ahead of Guy. It was a great day of racing being able to work with my teammate the whole race and push each other like it was a great training ride.
Here are the rest of the results given in seniority order!
Bob Wilcox 2nd in 60-69 endurance
Randy Liechty 1st in 60-64 XC
Steve Boyd 6th in 50-54 XC
Pascal Bonaventure 3rd in 40-49 endurance
Michael Farkas 6th in 45-49 XC
Dan Mahlum 2nd in 40-49 endurance
Chuy Topete disqualified himself after missing a turn on course. Chuy was just off the lead group of 4 when he made this mistake.