December 17, 2008

A quick trip to So Cal

Like last year’s trip to Dam Cross it was a short weekend with lots of driving. This year, unlike last year, the Santa Ana winds didn’t bring apocalyptic fires to the area until after the race. Tim and I left early Saturday morning and had a very uneventful drive through the swirling haze of the wind-blown central valley. The air cleared as we approached the top of the pass on I-5, descending the Grapevine led us into uncommonly clear skies in the San Fernando Valley.

There was a race on Saturday, part of the So Cal Cross Prestige Series series, but I opted out of it instead choosing to put all of my eggs into the UCI points basket of Sunday’s race. It was also quite hot down there, in the mid-80s, and I was glad not to be racing in that heat. It wears me down too much. Dorothy, the race promoter, arranged excellent host housing for us in the hills above Glendale with Matt and Lisa. It turns out that Tim knew Lisa through the tech world. I was impressed with her life-like watercolors of flowers, you can check them out at

Saturday evening we grilled food with out hosts and tasted some of Matt’s homemade brews. We ate on the veranda overlooking Glendale, not a bad way to spend an evening. Sunday morning was waffle mania - just in case you don’t know waffles are the breakfast of champions. I ate way too many waffles and wasn’t hungry again until after the race.

It was much cooler on Sunday and I was glad for arm warmers and a vest while warming up. The course was similar to last year with bumpy grassy, lots of sharp turns and a hill too steep for me to ride up.

The start was a long deceivingly difficult headwind stretch that led into a slow bumpy hill. Rachel Lloyd and Coryn Rivera took off at the start and I got to battle through a few ladies before breaking clear. Rachel and Coryn were riding the steep hill but this year's power shortage in my legs had me off and running. I slowly closed the gap to Coryn down to nothing and then it took a few tries to drop her. Coming up behind me were Kari Studley and Kristi Berg. It took all I had to keep my small gap on Kari and roll in for second place.

Dorothy goes above and beyond with her prizes. Along with the prize money I’ve also always received a nice goodie bag. This year we got an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Tim and I packed up as quickly as possible so we could get home at a decent hour. Another round of fires in Southern California started by the Santa Ana winds happened about a week after the races.

Up next, a weekend in the Hamptons.

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Just as Barbarella bumps through the universe, comically oblivious to the dangers and threats being thrust at her, Barbara Howe has had a few misadventures of her own. After a year of sickness and a grievous injury she is finally recovered and aiming for the podium.

Barb has recently signed with Vanderkitten Clothing and looks forward to a season representing "clothing for women who kick ass!" She currently resides in Berkeley, CA with her boyfriend, a room full of bikes and her cat. Follow her adventures here on