One of the drivers for our trip to California over spring break was to have Maxwell race at his first USA Cycling sanctioned race. He learned a lot from the experience.
The venue, South Ridge Park, was really nice. The landscape felt remote, but right across the street was a nice shopping center. There were steep cliffs, beautiful trees, and green grass. The finish venue was full of teams and top-notch vendors. Maxwell was enammered by the pro racers and bikes that he saw. It was the first time we have ever seen pros race live and they were impressive.
Maxwell and his best friend, Luke, raced in the morning just as the clouds were starting to dissipate and the temp was rising. There were only a few kids in his category and age group. Maxwell came out riding his guts out. By the second lap, he had built quite a gap on the next closest 17 year-old kid. I could tell he was pushing it too hard. As he tells it, at the top of the climb he couldn’t get his heart rate under control and the hear was taking a toll. At that moment, the older kid closed the gap and passed Maxwell. My the time Maxwell came across the finish line, he was behind by about 40 seconds; with Luke finishing a couple minutes later.
Overall, our mission was to learn about USA Cycling events and understand how they work. To that end, we learned a lot. Perhaps more importantly, Maxwell had another racing experience where he learned that “sit & kick” is usually the right way to pace a race.