If there was one race that needed a spokesman it would be the Everest Challenge, and that spokesman would be Ronnie Johns. If you don’t know Ronnie, just ask your gal Siri or use ole faithful and read about him on Google. This is a race that I’ve been coming to since my very first season back in ’10; oh the memories. In 2010 it was my very first race in the notorious P1-2 class, and yes I got my world rocked like some cheap prom date, used and abused. I came back the next year and did a bit better, but nothing worthy enough to put down in print. This year I felt as though I had a more gentleman’s approach to the race with having a bit of experience, my buddy John to came to assist with some help, and, oh yeah, Ronnie Johns was in the back of my head.
I’m just going to skip through my drive through the desert on 395 with no AC in the trusty civ and go straight to the hotel. But seriously, that drive sucked; it was hot. So I came to the realization really quick that any local business in Bishop, mainly hotels, is now owned by Little India. I had a reservation at the wonderful Thunderbird hotel, which of course didn’t show up in their system. So a phone call to Orbitz, who I booked with, and an argument with the owner of Thunderbird, mainly resulting in me asking, “wait what did you say?” many times, ended up in me staying in two separate hotels for both nights. Just what I needed to add to a two-day race with almost 30,000 feet of climbing total. But I thought of Ronnie and I felt better.
Okay so now were at Saturday for the first stage with about three climbs total. This race gets a mix of solid legit guys, your locals that are good, and then you got guys you’ve never seen as if they climbed out of one of the cabins in the woods. We go up the first climb at a nice moderate pace, but there some of these cabin fellas fighting for wheels as if the race was about to end right there in a sprint. Well it wasn’t, so it didn’t take me long to let them know how I really felt about the situation, and yes, that seemed to help out a bit. So we did the first climb and nothing exciting happened, so we went onto the next climb and it finally got interesting. Nate English, who has won this race 4 times now (spoiler alert he won again this year), attacked and blew things up; this resulted in me chasing with Rudy Napolitano, a Spanish, a Columbian, and a norcal boy. We chased and caught him before the next climb. The third climb was definitely not a good time. About half way up, the attacks started happening and to make things short and sweet I got the short end of that stick. I lost touch with the others and rode the last few miles all by my lonesome self to come home in sixth for the day. After that performance I was pretty much ready to cruise on back home and call it a season, but what can I say, I had Ronnie in my head. The rest of the day was mainly spent in my new hotel, since I had to move again, sitting on the bed doing not much besides watching cyclingillustrated.com live coverage of the track nationals race, where I saw my boy/teammate Danny Heeley throwing it down like no big deal. Cali swag Cali swag.
Fast forward to 4:45 am and I was absolutely hating life that Sunday morning. I didn’t want to get up, I wanted to sleep-in and do nothing. But I guess I got my ‘matureness’ on and got up and ready for stage 2 of racing. So we started our race at 6:50 am, which was not cool in my books. We took that first climb like no big deal and hit the descent where some things got interesting; we’ll just leave it at that. Now onto the second climb. At this point, English was off the front doing his thing and we got our chase group on doing the chase, which didn’t prove to be successful. Oh I can’t forget the one kid who attacked us and rode as hard as his little legs could go to get away from us only to blow on the start of the third climb to result in him getting a nice and deserving DNF. Okay so rewind back to that second climb. We were getting toward the top and Rudy attacked, so all I could think of was Spicoli and responded with a “hey bud lets party.” At this point we hit the top, just the two of us, and started working well on the descent to gap the others. We hit the third climb which was nice and long, roughly around 25 miles. Were doing our thing and we saw about 5 guys coming up behind us. They got a bit closer, and I, knowing how this climb can turn your day around, decided to sit up and jump on their bandwagon to get a free tow and maybe play the I’m hurting card. Rudy kept going which was pretty real of him at the time. So these guys started attacking each other as I just rode and closed the gaps down each time they attacked. I was thinking they might pay for that later. So we were about half way up this beast and it was down to four of us. With about 5 miles to go I noticed these boys are starting to get their hurt on. We hit the next steep pitch, and now it was my turn to throw down a bit so I attacked, gapping them completely. I start doing my thing for a while when the Columbian came back. We then rode for a bit together and he told me his Spanish teammate was coming back so he was just going to sit on now. ‘Not up in here!’, is all I could think of, so I attacked again with maybe 2.5 miles to go. Now I was alone again but starting to catch back to Rudy. I ran out of road once the finish came and ended the day in 3rd. A bit better from the previous day but nothing to brag about by no means.
So now the season is pretty much over and its time to do the off season thing. If anyone is feeling frisky they can come to a solid Halloween event which I’m completely going to provide the link for because I know all you cyclists are looking for something to do in October and what better then to support a local amateur cyclist because we all know that isn’t paying the bills. http://www.facebook.com/events/367956039952463/
Oh yeah, I’ve gotta thank Hagens Berman Cycling team, Spy Optic, Deft Family, The Bike Shop Temecula, and my coach Ben Day.
And that’s all she wrote…