La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

2009 US Cup #1 – Bonelli Park

First “big” race of the year and I got on the podium!!!!


3rd Place out of 24 in the Cat1 30-34 race. Here are the results[pdf]. I ALMOST got second place but was beat out by a few seconds. But I did surprise myself by getting on the podium in my first Cat1 endeavor and had some good times and good racing.


Bob Wilcher, Jos and I packed up for a 7am departure and drove on down. Despite my Tom Tom GPS’ attempt to get us lost in the RV park, we made it to the event in plenty of time to register (actually we were 2 hours early) and parked right next to a nice park with some soon-to-be-much-needed shade. Jos went off for a 9 mile run (which, in my mind, is way more hardcore than anything us MTBers did on this day).

This was the first day in recent memory that I rode without arm and leg warmers. The heat was kind of a shock to my system. It was easily 85+ degrees in the sun by the time we started at 12:30.

Didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course but the word from some of the other chickens was “easy” .. I’m not sure what they were comparing it to. It wasn’t technical at all but had a few sketchy fast, loose corners. And the climbing was killer.. there were 2 miles of exposed fireroad climbs to start the lap, then a series of really steep little punchy climbs intermixed with some singletrack and short sections of pavement. A really fun course!



Before the race, I realized I had forgotten to bring any food with me
– Ramirez and Cuttler saved the day by donating some Gu packets. Bob W and I started out pretty conservatively and tried to just work our way up through the race. But Bob got a flat half-way through lap 2 and had some issues with his CO2 which set him back 10 minutes. Without that mishap, I’m convinced we would have 2 chickens on the podium!


I kept motoring and was able to put a lot of time on those steep short climbs in the middle of the course. Everyone else was shifting down into their granny gear but you just had to keep it in the middle ring, crank up it for 30 sec, quickly recover, repeat. At the end of lap three I had no idea where I was compared to everyone else in my age group and I burnt my last match chasing down a group of three riders in the last 1/2 mile. Turns out one of those guys was the eventual 2nd place but my brain was not functioning properly and I convinced myself that he wasn’t in my age group so I didn’t need to out-sprint him. The way the finish was set up really discouraged a sprint finish; a 180 degree paved turn about 50 feet before the finish line with a narrow roped-off shoot leading into it so there was basically no way to do it safely. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Intersting stats from looking at my garmin data: Pacing was spot on as my lap times were 31:38, 32:10, 31:47. Nice. My average heart rate per lap was not so steady; it rose steadily as expected from 166, 169, to 171. My HR was in zone 2 for 3:40, zone 3 for 8:10, zone 4 for 34:22 and zone 5 for 43:32. That’s almost three-quarters of an hour above redline! To put that in perspective, my entire weekend of road racing a few weeks ago (cantua and pine flat) only saw 16 minutes in zone 5 for both races combined.

Other chickens: Turns out Big Rob (in his first ever MTB race) got first place in the Cat3 45+. Dave L. got 5th in Cat2 40 – 44. We’ll have to wait for the results to see everyone else.

Well this was a big confidence boost for me and proved to myself that I definitely belong in Cat 1. Up next … another hard week of training then it’s on to the Counting Coup!


March 3, 2009 - Posted by | race


  1. Congrats! Very impressive! You guys need to do San Dimas with us! And no excuses cuz I don’t see a MTB race that weekend on you schedule.

    Comment by Sarah | March 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. Congrats man! Nice picture of me! I didn’t know I was in a podium spot either! Would be nice to know these things. Unfortunately cramps took me out on Lap 3.

    I look forward to more racing with you throughout the season!

    Comment by Justin | March 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. awesome race man! I had a blast out there. I’ll see this weekend at Counting Coup… damn it’s going to hurt!!!

    Comment by jameson | March 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. Nice job this weekend! That’s me 2 spots behind you on your ‘blog pic. It’s gonna be fun racing with you, Justin and James this season.

    Comment by Eric | March 5, 2009 | Reply

  5. Congrats Matt! I hard you placed in a biking race- impressive!

    Comment by Tessa | March 12, 2009 | Reply

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