In March the GLV gang packed their bags from the frozen tundra that was Boston, and headed to sunny Los Angeles for great weather and even better riding. Read Josh's account of the trip, the Carson Criterium, and check out the banging photos too ... try not to get too jealous!
The joke when I showed up at training camp was that it's equivalent to showing up in the middle of stage race. People are starting to crack from the proceeding big days and here I was with relatively fresh legs.
Cole and Gerry picked me up from LAX is our Zipcar with plenty of room to spare for my bike and the loads of excitement I brought across the country. I wanted to do a monster day on the first day but they tempered my expectations because they had already been out for a few days smashing pedals. It was good that they did, because I had my eyes on racing the Carson Crit with AJ on our last day in LA. That was to be another moment of "we're at the end of a stage race while everyone is fresh."
While LA wasn't as warm as I would have liked, we still got some great rides in. With no distractions of regular life, we got to ride and recover properly. Long canyon climbs and cold descents are going fill my memories of the trip, especially the descent off of Las Flores. Matt and I got way too cold at the top waiting for our mates. I nearly rode off the road on the way out of the cloud and into the warmth. I should have brought a few more Craft layers up to the top.
We filled the rest of our time by filling our bellies and tinkering on our Specialized bikes with our trusty black and yellow Pedro's tools. Getting a house in the middle of things in Venice Beach was quite nice - burritos and bodegas close by meant we didn't have to go far to fuel up.
After everyone else packed up and headed home, AJ and I headed to Carson on the first really warm day I had at camp. Neither of us had raced in California before. Our plan was to see how we felt and save any moves for halfway through the race or later. That plan didn't play out when we saw national criterium champion and all around good guy Justin Williams going up the road, along with big punches from his teammates. I waited a whole eighteen minutes before I played my hand in joining them in the action.
Legion of LA was in clear control of the race. If the mix wasn't right the move wasn't going. It turns out the mix they wanted was Corey Williams in the series leaders jersey, along with Justin and another teammate. Three other riders were there too. I waited just a little too long to make my move (or rode way too much the previous three days) because I nearly made the bridge. As I was falling apart, AJ came flying past me with two riders on his wheel but they didn't make it either, probably because the two anonymous riders didn't help. I can feel a little better about not making it because Legion of LA rode anyone who wasn't on their team out of the break. I was surprised how good I felt, a bit disappointed in missing the move and happy to open the season in a relatively exotic place. It was a nice way to close out camp and head back to the daily grind of fitting in racing and training around real life.