April 13, 2014
Laguna Seca Raceway
Monterey, CA

Cat 1 35-39

Race Report by Damian Gonzalez

This year I coordinated booths for Leopard Cycles and Michael David Winery for the second year in a row. We had a great spot by the main entrance and had a public wine tasting event with Belgian waffles at our booth on Saturday. I arrived Thursday morning to set up the Michael David booth and preride the course. My race was on Sunday so I had lots of time to pass out flyers for our wine tasting event and to visit some sponsors. Crank Brothers, TRP, Schwalbe and Rudy Project just to name a few. Also went to the Ergon booth to say hi to our good friend Sonya Looney who raced well in her XC race, 15th place I think. She hooked me up with some GP1 grips, which I will owe her big time because they saved me at Boggs 8hr race! Racing for 8hrs was tough on your hands and forearms and the grips helped me maintain my strength throughout the race.

Anyways the race was 24 miles or so with fast singletrack and a couple long fire road sections on the second half of the course. The start was fast as usual and within the first couple miles the front pack was down to 8 guys. I stayed in touch with the leaders to make sure I’m in the pack by the time we reach the fire roads. The wind was too strong if you end up on the fire roads alone. I got cutoff from the leaders at one point because they managed to pass a tandem bike but when I came up behind the tandem, there was no room to come around and instead of slowing down and moving over a bit, they sped up, not fast but fast enough to where it became even more difficult to come around them. After finally passing I chased to try and close the 1/4 mile gap that was created by the tandem. I barely caught back on just meters after getting to the fire road. I then attacked to drop the guys who sat on my wheel during the chase. A couple guys caught me while stuck behind the tandem (No offense to tandem riders. God bless you!). It played out almost like a road race and by the last kilometer everyone was going 100%. Out of the 7 leaders I crossed the line in 5th, around 30 seconds behind the winner. All in all a good sign of my fitness heading into the summer.