Saturday, March 17, 2012

The grueling first day of the San Dimas Stage Race is complete. The intimacy of man versus mountain now replaced by the long rolling course that loops around Bonelli park from 42-84 miles. The lone competitor must now be able to find their place in the pack. The weather wet, cold, windy. The road slick and dangerous. The game is afoot. Keeping dry is today's goal.

We arrived at the staging area at 6:50 in the morning. It was comfy under the cover of the tented booths. Racers signed in at the registration booth as the mist filled the air. The Intellicast radar map had shown a large storm headed our way. Course marshals were ferried to their areas. The bustle of area calmed as the first riders were launched on their journey. I hiked out to Cannon Drive. The red poncho shielded me from the rain coming down. The droplets rolled down off my tarp and dripped down onto my jeans and into my boots. Quickly the socks absorbed every drip and my feet were wet. My twenty pound back pack stayed dry underneath as well as the camera. The grade of the road was steep and I huffed up it barely keeping up with my sole companion their to watch his family race. As the racers came down the road, I smartly dashed off the pavement. Their pace much reduced due to the conditions. As I passed along the course marshals infinitely more wise than me, they had umbrellas, rain gear and over hangs to shield them from the water. I asked one gentleman, Alan the Brit about his goulashes. He said they were perfect. Water proof and thermal insulated. Knowing that the Brits have a superior command of the English language, I asked him what he called his boots. He smiled and said "Sweethearts". I laughed and hiked to a spot prior to the King of the Mountain point. Last year I had to elbow my way amongst a throng of spectators. Today they were few and far between. John another course marshal shouted words of encouragement as the riders grudged their way up the incline. I watched heroes, super heroes struggle to keep their minds on their effort, the slickness of their road and staying upright. I snapped a few pictures. My hopes soared when the rain let up only to be doused with more water. Yes we desperately need rain, but today on my race? Mother Nature you are cruel. My discomfort was minor in comparison to the heroes who slugged out this day riding bicycles on slick wet roads while the pelting drops hit their bodies at 20 mph plus. To those who survived. Congratulations.

No comments: