The NorCal race at Laguna Seca, the Central Coast Challenge, is always brutal. With a fast descent followed by a punishingly long climb under the unforgiving sun, this race is a force to be reckoned with.
Waking up the morning of the race, I felt the usual race day anticipation that lingers around the pits prior to everyone's race. After a bite to eat I made it over to watch the girl's races. Before long, however it was my turn to race.
Warming up, I was feeling pretty good, but I knew it would be a hot race. On the starting line, tensions were high despite a congeniality among the racers. The gun went off and we started an immensely brisk pace. I was able to hold the wheel of the lead group until we started the mainclimb. Once we started going up, my stomach started to cramp and I had to ease up.
On the second lap, I was able to make up some time on the descent using the full capabilities of my Scott Spark RC. I caught 5th place and passed him, setting me up to catch the lead group. On the climb I was starting to feel better and made up some time.
By the fourth lap, I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and the long race, still not having caught the leaders. I definitely wanted to podium and made it my goal to not get caught by anyone behind me. On the fifth and final lap, I looked back after cresting "hurl hill" and there was no one there. I gave everything I had to come across the line in 5th.
Overall, the race could have gone better for me, but I'm happy to be on the podium and still strongly in contention for the next races to come in the series.