Stan’s Obligatory Blog


On this day in history…

Filed under: — stan @ 7:52 pm

It was April 23, 1978. It was the Acton Road Race. I was excited, because they had separate races for categories 1 and 2. Usually in those days, 1 and 2 were combined, and if you were a Cat 2 like me, it meant that it was harder to place in the top ten. So the prospect of a separate Category 2 race was very nice. On the other hand, it was in the mountains, and there were some climbs on the course. I was generally pretty good at hills, but being from New Jersey, I wasn’t used to the size of the hills here.

The course was a nice 24-mile loop through the hills north of the Antelope Valley Freeway, about half-way from Los Angeles to Palmdale. The race was three laps, or 72 miles.

The course was very nice. The roads were smooth, and it was a perfect spring day. The pack was about 50-60 riders. I was hoping just to stay in the pack and finish with the group, since I’d had some bad experiences in the last two road races in the mountains.

The pack stayed together for the whole race. On the last lap, when we were going up the last big climb, I lost contact with the pack. I was feeling discouraged, and I was having trouble going up the hill. But then, about half-way up the hill, I suddenly started thinking:

“I am not going to let this happen again. I got dropped at Pyramid Lake. I got dropped at Bouquet Canyon. I am not getting dropped again!”

And suddenly, I was suffused with the strength of ten Grinches. I caught up with the pack at the crest of the hill. At that point, I was going so fast, that I ended up at the front. We crested the hill and went flying down the other side. We crossed the freeway and took the right turn that meant we were almost at the finish. I was so excited that I’d caught the pack that I was able to stay at the front all the way to the end. The finish was an uphill sprint, and I managed to reach the proper mental state of Zen Hulk-dom to do the sprint.

I came in 8th, which was pretty good, considering that I recovered from getting dropped. In fact, that was the only race I ever rode where I was able to catch the pack after being dropped. So overall, it was a remarkable and perfect day.

And sadly, as with most of my favorite racing stories, I have no pictures to go along with it. Just my own memories.

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