My first race as a Cat 3 was a big one — the San Dimas Stage Race. This race suits me well, with an uphill TT on Stage 1, a lumpy road race on Stage 2, and a crit on Stage 3. The goal was to get the lead on the uphill TT and hold onto it, which is exactly what happened! I won the TT up Glendora Mountain Road by 13 seconds over 2nd and 27 over 3rd (Strava). Stage 2 was rather hectic in the yellow jersey, but thanks to some help from my Team Simple Green teammates Jason Francia and Bradley Wiggs, I was able to finish in the front of the group and hold onto yellow (Strava).
Stage 3’s crit was pretty aggressive, and I looked like I had it all but locked up until there was a crash in the very last turn. Of course the guy that was in 2nd place in GC (Edgar Stepanyan – a former Jr. World Champion on the track, apparently) was in front of the crash and won the stage, earning extra time bonuses. I finished the race without crashing, but there was a chance I was going to lose the overall win because I got stuck behind the crash (Strava). There were some very anxious moments before I found out that the refs “neutralized” the finish, which meant I would get to keep the yellow jersey and take the overall!
Next up for me was the Dan Point Grand Prix – another crit. This was the first time I tried racing two races in one day. I first competed in the 30+ Cat 3/4 field, which I won thanks to a 30+ minute solo breakaway (Strava)! I was happy to get that win, stay out of trouble (there was a terrible crash in the bunch sprint for 2nd place in that race) and win a bunch of free beer! The next race I did was the Cat 2/3, which was about an hour later, and after that long solo break in the first race, my legs were pretty toast (Strava). Still, I’m happy I did that one because it was my first time experiencing the speed of a Cat 2 field.
#TBT On the top step at the @dpgrandprix a couple weeks back for the 30+ Cat 3/4 race. Looking forward to the next race and hopefully some more podium shots (and more free beer!) at Mt. Hamilton Memorial Day Classic Stage Race! #simplegreen #simplegreencycling #teamsimplegreen #danapointgrandprix #racewinner #podium
With these two wins, I now had 20 of the 30 points required for the Cat 2 upgrade. I knew the Mt. Hamilton Stage Race would be an excellent opportunity to get the remaining points.
This stage race was actually four stages over three days, with a hilly circuit race on stage 1, an epic road race that starts with a climb up Mt. Hamilton on stage 2, an uphill TT on stage 3, and then finishing up with a crit. I rode real strong that weekend, with victories in the circuit race (Strava), road race (Strava – 45 mile solo break away!) and the TT (Strava). In the crit I rode defensively to secure the overall victory (Strava).
I now sat at 35 of the required 30 points for the Cat 2 upgrade. I thought a bit about if I wanted to keep racing more Cat 3’s for “experience” and potentially more race victories, but I came to the conclusion that moving up to Cat 2 racing was what got me excited to get out and train on my bike.
In the immediate future (like, tomorrow) I will be racing in my very first P/1/2 field at the 805 Grand Prix, which consists of a circuit race on Saturday and crit on Sunday. I think I’m much better suited to a hard road race, but this will be a great opportunity to see how my skill level compares to the “professionals.” I’m not sure what racing will look like after that. I have my eye on Phil Gaimon’s Hill Climb Worlds up Gibraltar at the end of October, but any serious racing as a Cat 2 may have to wait until 2019.