In Spanish, "la carrera en bicicletas de locos" means The Crazy Bike Race. Today's 86-mile ride to Tom's Farm was definitely crazy and definitely Spanish. Here is how it went...
THE BEGINNING - was definitely dominated by the Spanish Orbea Team, who was well represented by Mr 30 MPH and The Animal. The roll to the River trail was smooth enough, but once we were on the trail, it was the Spaniards who took to the front. Both guys had read the hype for Tom's Ride, and were taking charge of the flatlands as predicted. I was too far back, with Andy, to cover for Ngoc and one of the Rock Racers. The RRs were well represented with 6 or 7 riders. All I know was there was a large gap between our group and the front group, who took off after the 1st restroom stop.
The first casualty came from a Rock Racer Tan who cramped up hard on his quads and calves. We found out that he has only been riding a few months, and is not used to the distance or pace. I gave him one of my salt pill, and after stretching a bit he wanted to continue. We move on to the 2nd stop at Jack in the Box, where RR Tan, Anh Minh, And Hung (a rider visiting from Viet Nam), and another Rock Racer which name I did not get, decided to go back.
THE MIDDLE & THE END - was again dominated by the Orbea crew. All I remember was that there were a lot of hills. In the last 10 miles to Tom's Farm, I looked around and only saw Nick, Scott M, Long, and Billy P. Viet, sporting a new VV jersey, and a Lotto rider just came up when The Animal turn on the after burner and instantaneously went to 25 mph. Nick had no trouble keeping up, but Long, Billy, and I huffed and puffed to maintain wheel contact. The Animal pulled practically the whole way, not needing relieve at the front. We arrived at Tom's first.
THE SOCIALIZING - Lunch was good, with plenty of pizza left over which we donated to a family with 5 little kids. The smoozing begins with Andy and Mac recalling their party last night. Mac didn't wake up in time, but had his sister-in-law drop him off so that he can ride back with us. At the party, Andy had something like 10 Vodka shots he said and only 4 hours of sleep. I don't know what the deal is, but Andy said this is his best performance to Tom's Farm ever. I concur with this as he was practically pulling the second group most of the way.
THE RETURN - was more rolling hills. Everyone was tired except for Cap't, Duc, and the Spaniards. The Orbea team had to go to work, so was pulling hard back. They broke off half way back, as the rest of us waited for the 2nd group at the JitB stop.
The first half of the return was extremely painful for me. I somehow ended up with just Cap't and Duc, and the three of us were driving the pace around 21-24 mph. We are somewhere the 75 mile mark now, and I screamed for them to slow as I simple can't maintain this pace any longer. Good thing we came upon our final stop.
The second half of the return, Mac took over and drive the pace. Mac took an extremely long pull at 21 mph and drag the crew closer to the Warner exit. Spent, Mac pulled aside and the Lotto guy took over. I was 3rd in line, and when Lotto pulled aside, I urged a Rock Racer, who was 2nd in line, to take over. He didn't and waved me on so I pulled around and drive the pace with whatever energy I had left, which was not a whole lot. Good thing Duc and Cap't was around so they drove the remaining distance.
Tom's Farm was hard, hot, and long! It was fun, but I think should only be once in a while as most of the crew are not used to this distance at this pace. Now it's about saving energy for Palomar! Will "Danielson" Thanh capture past glory, or will the up-and-coming rider "Contador" Chris show up and stamp his signature on this climb. Watch out, I have seen "Armstrong" in action on baldy, and Cap't will give these two guys a run for it!
So long for now,