Read Ryan Barrett's Peloton Tales: California - RB’s California Adventure - Part 1
So when we last left off, the NetZero reunion show at Eldo had concluded, and I was hoping for a solid night’s sleep before heading off to Redlands. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen due to some sweet roster changes we had to make. This was my first time pretending to be a team manager and let me
tell ya, I have a whole new perspective on what running a team must be like.
Anyway, the yin to the sucky yang of that story came the next morning when I got to meet Nate Loyal. Nate is cool dude who agreed to pick me up and go do all the manager’s crap with me. He is pretty green in terms of NRC stuff, but he’s got personality and personality goes a long way.
So we went to the manager’s meeting, which like I said was all new to me. Pretty low-key. No animal sacrifices or anything. That night, we went to our host housing, which was beautiful. An awesome house, an awesome family and we could ride to all the stage starts. Hello, I think I’ve just met my
new best friends. A BIG thanks to the Corey family for letting us stay in your house.
Me with my new favorite superhero: Host Housing Boy, AKA Chase. Again, big thanks to the Coreys for allowing us into your home. Photo by Nate Loyal.
Prologue (5k uphill)
Healthy Choice/Goble Knee Clinic for Redlands: Me, Marc Yap, Jason Van Marle, Dave Harward, Jesse Gordon, Nate Loyal, Dan Holt, and Alex Moore. Cool guys all around.
Going into Redlands, my basic goal was just to roll along until the crit, and then go for a top 10 there. I know there are some people out there going, “Dude, 10th is not a result” and there are others going, “Dude, no way are you gonna be top 10 in that crit”. To both camps, I say whatever;
I am a guy that needs to have something to shoot for and 50th on GC ain’t gonna cut it. So the point of this long-winded ramble is that I was not stressed out over the prologue. This is not to make excuses for my weak ass showing of 175th place. I figure if I sweated it and really busted
my hump, I could’ve been 75th, and you know, what’s the difference? Oh yeah, it was really windy, and I got blown off the course too.
Stage One - Oak Glen Road Race (103 miles)
What with the race being cut by a day or two over past editions, Oak Glen was the first road stage. Usually my script for this stage is pretty much: make it to the base of the climb in the group and cruise up the hill at my pace (read: slow), and that was pretty much my plan for today. As always,
the stage started off fast as hell, and there were a bunch of crashes. As we get ready for the lap around the lake, we are freaking flying and the ever present wind is shattering the field, helped no doubt by the huge disparity in strength and skills of the field. Gaps are opening up, but I feel pretty
much fine when my tire decides it is tired of holding air. I stop and pull my wheel off and watch as the caravan goes by. Because we are but a small team, we have no car and I am left to wait for neutral support. About 6 groups pass me before neutral comes. The support at this race has always been tippy
tops, so I guess I just flatted at exactly the wrong moment.
So I get my wheel change and get paced back to the last group that passed me. It is weird, but it seems like no one is interested in chasing back on. I end up just kinda rolling with this group for what seems like forever. I flatted with probably 70 miles to go so it was a long way before the epic
6 mile climb to the finish. After awhile a bunch of US U23 National team kids and some Webcor guys that had crashed early on catch us and are like “we can make it”. The “pros” in our group are quick to heckle them and drop out, pointing out that it is pretty much impossible for us to make the 10% time cut.
Having flash backs to 2001 when I crashed in a feed zone, chased through the caravan, made it to the base of the climb and got in a groupetto with four Postal guys (they can’t cut those guys, right??) and still got axed by a ridiculous 4.5% timecut, I opted to quit.
This wasn’t easy on me, but there was no point in killing myself if I wasn’t going to ride the next day anyway… That night I was pretty bummed out and checking out the results and saw that the time cut had been extended to 18% and I would’ve been able to continue. That didn’t improve my mood. Not
a bit. Lesson learned. Anyway, I was pretty depressed with the whole situation, proving I still take this stuff pretty seriously. I will stand by the opinion that if you announce a time cut, you should enforce it. But maybe that is just me being bitter. Made plans with Kelly (the wife for those not keeping
score) to return to her folks place in Long Beach the next morning.
Went back to Long Beach, and went for a surf. The waves were crap, but it felt good to get in the ocean again.
Torrance Crit (80 minutes, flat, 4 corners)
I wanted to race again while I was out, but going back to Redlands (they have a separate Pro 1/2 crit) and telling my sob story over and over didn’t appeal to me. I basically wound up doing the same thing at Torrance, but at least it was removed from the stage race. Anyway, I felt okay, but
didn’t really have my head in the game. THE break went. It was obviously THE break with Harm Jansen, Mike Friedman, and Ryan Lane in it. Then, Daniel Ramsey went across. I was about three bike lengths off him and jumped to follow, but looking under my shoulder I saw the whole group, so I figured why
screw him over and sat up. The break lapped the field and it was all over for me. I may take some risks for a win, but for 6th, I was not into it. Harm won, displaying the form that would win him (for the second year) in a row the Lemire Memorial GP the next weekend. I was cool with that as
I really like the RPM (Harm’s team) guys. They are a team of guys who have been through the ringer, almost all ex-pros, who are still out there tearing it up for the love. And they win a lot.
So the trip was not too successful on the racing front, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Overall, I had a great time catching up with some old friends, making new ones, and visiting with the in-laws. It’s nice to be able to have that perspective on things, rather than focusing solely on the
eriksaunders.com, what's up with that face? Me, what's up with that pose? And the cop in the background staking us out. Photo by Nate Loyal.