The Bonelli park ProXCT was an experience – it marked the change in me from being a wannabe pro rider, to actually chasing points and prizes around the country. A big step; a big change in commitment of both time and money.
With back to back races in southern california, the organisers had thoughtfully arranged the schedule to make it as easy as possible for people to stay there for the week and hit both races. Fortunately for me I have a job to go to, but unfortunately it meant I didn’t have the time to stay and hang around in the sunshine all week. After landing on Sunday back in Denver, I settled back into routine pretty quickly, and felt confident that I would be fine going to Fontana the next weekend. I had a really busy week, with lots of things going on, but at some point it becomes irrelevant as to what you have on your agenda – you just get on and do it, and everything falls into place. I did an experiment the two days prior to leaving for Fontana, and the two days after I got back, as well. It was a tough schedule, but actually completing it made me realise that I can balance all the things I want to do in life. I just have to be careful, look after myself and work hard. And drink a lot of coffee!
After staying with Josh for the bonelli weekend, I was aiming to minimise the amount of time spent driving at Fontana. My flight didn’t land until midnight on Friday/saturday, so I found a motel close to Ontario airport. Rather than driving up from Santa Ana airport, Ontario was 15 minutes from the course.
Whilst Bonelli Park was a manicured oasis in the middle of San Dimas, Fontana was quite the opposite. A dusty wasteland backing up onto a small shaded park, the hills looked rough and unloved. The good news was the hills offered a real climb, much longer and less steep than the power sapping grinds the weekend before. Climbing up onto the hill gave you an uninterupted view of houses and warehouses spreading in a uniform grid towards the horizon. Having not had the chance to pre-ride the course the day before, I sneaked out onto the course whilst the women were racing and had a look around. Lots of dirt and dust, lots of rocks. A great test of a mountain biker.
The racing happened once again. This time leaving me less beat up than bonelli. I could walk and talk and function normally after the race, which was a revelation. Part of me wondered whether it meant I hadn’t gone hard enough. I knew, really, that I always go as hard as I can in a race. I’m not reserved enough to save energy for the unexpected.
After the race I took a water bottle shower, before getting back in the car and driving to Bryan’s team-mates house, tucked away in the mountains away from the city.
As we drove up the canyon, I was shocked how quickly we left the metropolis and entered the countryside. Not 15 minutes from where we had been stopped in traffic, marvelling at the huge quantity of cars travelling along Interstate 15, we were now cruising underneath old growth oak trees and willows hanging shadily across the road.
It was an escape from the savage city. Plants and flowered filled the air with scent; amplified by the warm moisture hanging around too. I wouldn’t have handled another night in a cheap and anonymous motel. Larissa’s house was a relief.