Report by Jeff Jacobson
Fontana KMC Southridge is a great warmup series for the xc race season with two races each month from January through March. The course consists of 3 six-mile laps with lots of climbing and technical single track. This was the third race of the series and I had come in 2nd place in expert class 50-59 in the first two races. Weather conditions were perfect with a cool moist layer over the Southridge mountain. Greg Twitty, another UCC team member, lined up on the inside at the start while I was on the outside. The Pros took off first and each expert age group was released in waves with 2 minutes between. Greg jumped out to an early lead in our group and I stuck to his wheel. He set a perfect pace up the first couple of climbs and I was able to keep my heart rate below 170, which I hadn’t been able to do in the first race. We traded leads a few times and then I let Greg go ahead on the long descent so that I wouldn’t hold up his legendary flow. I commented that it looked like we had put a gap on the rest of our group, but he said a Stonehaus racer was not far behind. Unfortunately, we ran into a lot of sport class riders on the downhill who had merged in from a slightly shorter course and passing proved tricky on the single track. Sometime during the second lap Greg’s front brake started fading we were separated. I hammered on the uphill fire roads to get around as many riders as I could between single track sections. I asked one slower rider to let me pass on the single track and he moved just a bit to the left leaving me to pass on a slope to the right. Unfortunately, my impatience to wait for a better location led me to slide out on the hillside. The slower rider waited to see if I was OK and let me stay in front. At that point I was about two minutes ahead of my time from the previous races and still felt strong. On the third lap I passed many of the younger expert class riders on my way to PR the course with Greg Twitty coming in not far behind. UC Cyclery/JW Floors team took first and second place. With the adrenaline flowing I hadn’t noticed how big of a gash I sustained on my arm in the crash and will be healing for bit. Fortunately, ‘tis but a flesh wound and was otherwise a great race day.