The UCC/JW Floors mountain bike team participated in round 3 of the California Mountain Bike series. This is the premier race series in southern California with 7 races and 3 different venues. This round was a UCI sponsored event attended by elite level pros including the woman’s XC world champion Kate Courtney and took place at Vail Lake in Temecula on March 23. It was a beautiful day and the 6 mile course with 700 ft of climbing had hero dirt. Cross country races consisted of 3 or 4 laps depending on age group and endurance races consisted of 6 or 7 laps.
The team made their presence known, winning 4 first places, a 2nd, and three 3rd places. In total, 14 from our team competed. Team results summary is as follows:
45-49 Cat 1 Cross Country men – 1st place Larry Tanzo, 3rd place Bryan Taylor, 4th place Pepe Velez
50-54 Cat 1 Cross Country men – 3rd place Jeff Jacobson, 4th place Steve Boyd, 10th place Greg Twitty
55-59 Cat 1 Cross Country men – 7th place Jack Kairy
60-64 Cat 1 Cross Country men – 1st place Ken Winston, 2nd place Randy Liechty, 3rd place Michael Hines
Open Endurance men – 4th place Chuy Topete
40-49 Endurance men – 1st place Pascal Bonaventure and 4th place Simon Planken
40+ Endurance women – 1st place Rhonda Geiszler
I had a little less than a week to get the derailleur repaired for Vail. Found out it was just a very loose clutch adjustment screw. Went to test it on Tuesday and found out the hard way that the cassette had cracked. My chain dropped off my cassette into my wheel and took out spokes, the pulley cage and bent the derailleur severely!
Thanks to John and Dave at UC Cyclery I was able to gather parts for an almost all new drivetrain and have the MTB ready for Saturday’s race just in time. So I lined up at the start at Vail and was nervous, yet excited to test the new drivetrain. After all this time away from MTB racing I didn’t recognize a lot of racers and it’s hard to figure out ”who is who”. Pepe Velez and Brian Taylor helped me out by pointing out some strong guys and possible race winners. I was able to pre run a lap and knew we started on a fire road that turned into a tight single track. After we started I went hard to get to the front to enter the single track in the top 5. Unfortunately they started my age group (45-49) with the age 40-44 Cat 1’s, so I had no clue who I was with on the first section of the single track. After about half a lap in I started asking guys I was with, what age group they were. I REALLY think the leg markings need to be brought back. I’ll donate the Sharpies!! Only one rider in the group was in my age group. I believe his name is Gilles Brouchard from the Tasco team. He was setting a fierce tempo and we were already creating a gap from some of the group we were in. I noticed one rider was working very hard to stay close to us and realized it was a rider that Pepe had pointed out and referred to as a possible winner.
I figured this early in the race that I would settle in for a while and see if this gap we had would last. After lap 1 and 1/3 the way into lap 2 I decided to try a little attack. It worked! Between feeling good and having traffic to help block anybody from following my wheel I was able to pull away for good. But because of the start with two separate age groups I started wondering if a rider in my class had snuck away with the front group. So I started to push even harder after shedding the last group I was in.
I felt really good on the 4th lap and was fortunate enough to get in a small group with LEGEND Tinker Juarez and ride strong to the finish for the W! I had an absolute blast and I definitely have the “racing bug” again!