Rider Diary: Welcome to the San Dimas pain cave
Andrew Bennett is a junior from Eugene who races in the Cat 2 ranks in OBRA and USAC events. He recently traveled with Team Specialized to the San Dimas stage race in Southern California, where he competed in the Cat 2 Men’s race. This is his report.
BY Andrew Bennett
Does anyone have a spare chain catcher? My San Dimas stage race was defined by a simple dropped chain.
The first stage was an uphill time trial, which I spent deep in the pain cave. Four miles up Glendora Mountain was plenty hard, but I finished 59th out of 118, not bad for my third race of the year. The rest of the team finished in a similar time.
It’s really hot in L.A., especially for an Oregonian used to 50 degrees and cloudy. Eighty degrees and direct sun is quite a bit different. Going into the road race the team’s goal was for me to get into a break and win some King of the Mountain Points and the Jersey, but the best laid plans mean nothing during a race.
Eamon Lucas, James LaBerge and I all carried out the plan for the first couple laps of the race. We stayed at the front, I claimed third in a KOM sprint, we all attacked, we all were brought back. Oh, and I dropped my chain on the base of the KOM climb. Welcome to the pain cave. I went from top 30 to the back, jumping off my bike, throwing the chain back on, climbing on the bike and chasing like a madman to regain contact.
However, luck was not on my side; that lap was a sprint lap, so the group charged down the hill and sped to the hot lap sprint. Meanwhile, I put my head down and chased by myself for a lap. Then I caught some other riders off the back, and we grouped up to chase together.
Now remember the heat. People started to pop; I started to break. On the 5th lap of chasing my body gave up. I couldn’t drink enough water. I couldn’t handle heat. I was broken. I started dry heaving, but there was nothing there. I feebly finished; 17 minutes down, but still I finished. Unfortunately, I finished outside the time cut. I guess there is a first time for everything.
The next day was a crit, one that I had traveled 2,000 miles to end up spectating. While this was not the choice situation, I had to live with it. Luckily James and Eamon created something worth watching. Those two controlled the Cat 2 race. Eamon gave a great lead out, and James claimed second place, while Eamon captured fourth place. I wish I could have raced so badly. It sucks to watch a race you should be part of, especially over something as dumb as a little dropped chain.
As much as I lament on my misfortune, the weekend was really fun. Spending time with the team is tons of fun. Doing dumb stuff like jumping in the pool in full kit after a hard race never gets old. Road trips where giggling passes the miles are always great. Riding an amazing Specialized Tarmac SL2 never hurts either.
Another great moment for the team came when teammate Marcus Smith won the Cat 3 road race in a fantastic two-up sprint with the pack charging behind them.