By athlete ambassador Ron Amos
Ottawa was thrown into a deep unrelenting freeze from December onward. And after way too many mind numbing indoor trainer rides, I managed to escape to Sunny California on February 24th and began my 2015 race season.
I hit the ground rolling the bike around the Sonoma wine country for two days and then launched right into the teeth of the 2015 race season with the Chico Stage Race and my new Hammer Nutrition teammates. The group of us 50+ geezers entered the 35+ race category. It was a very competitive field with two large team besides ourselves, Specialized and Mikes Bikes. Four stages had us racing on the Thunder Hill race track, rolling a road race on quite roads with a good number of kilometers of deep gravel, 15km Time Trial, and a downtown Chico 6 corner Criterium. My teammate Cale Reeder finished 2nd on GC and I managed a solid 9th after three days of racing. I was very pleased with the fitness managed to attain while being limited to indoor trainer rides through the Winter.
The following weekend, in Madera, I once again toed the start line for my 2nd stage race in Northern California. The Madera Stage race had 4 stages for the 45+ field, beginning with an up-hill Time Trial which I won, followed by a flat Time Trial which finished 2nd. My teammate US National Crit Champion Dave Albretch won the Criterium, and my other teammate, Hunter Ziesing won the Road Race. So the Hammer/53×11 team had a winning weekend. I managed to finish the stage race with a 2nd place in the General Classification.
After spending ten days in spectacular Northern California, I drove down to the sunny warmth of Encinitas in Southern California. Malcolm Bradley, a very good friend of mine introduced me to this part of California six years ago and I have been returning every year since. The remainder of the Great Escape involved a number of the Wednesday morning Camp Pendleton subsonic group rides and the very famous Swami Saturday morning ride which usually involved an extended loop with some exceptionally strong SoCal friends.
I arrived back home mid April with some awesome fitness which I quickly made use of at The Tour of Battenkill. But that is a blog story for another month.
Hammer on friends!