The Norcal District Criterium Championships, Vacaville Gran Prix, had been circled on my race calendar since March. However my head injury over Christmas kept me off the bike and out of competiton for six months. With such a short racing window for 2010 (July - August) I could only peak once, and had to target a short event. So Vacaville Gran Prix, the crit with 8 turns and a power climb, became my goal of the season.
Many years ago as I was just getting into bike racing, I had the chance to pedal out to a local training race alongside a pro team. By pro, I mean money, cash and hoes pro. Established riders, the real deal.
The race venue was about 10 miles away from where we departed, and I assumed that I was in for a world of hurt in the form of a warmup. However during the entire 10 mile ride, we never breached 15 miles per hour. We rode painfully slow the whole way. At the time, I assumed the team was just a bunch of fragile pussies afraid to ride hard before a race. But they weren't pussies, they were just doing a proper recovery ride.
I was promised punishing winds so fierce that my 140lbs would be tossed along the pavement in a flirting dance with mother nature. Just like a plastic bag in that movie American Beauty. However, there were no such winds and no creepy neighboor kid filming me without a shirt on.
Hauled ass down to Minden after work to show up just in time for the 50 minute A race to start. Big sweeping turns and wind everywhere on perfect pavement for this flatish 1.5k course.
I took 1st place and 2 premes (tires). Big props to Michah Herman for riding strong in our two man break 20 minutes from the finish. Michah dropped me with 3 laps to go, but I nipped him at the line during the finishing sprint.
I always have tons of fun at the Alta Alpina events, everyone is super friendly and its so low key. Great racing atmosphere. Plus they have all the Twizzlers, Fig Newtons and soda you can eat after the race.
In-N-Out Burger on the way back up to Truckee is the icing on the cake.