Today we were supposed to do 5 laps of a 17 mile circuit with a good bit of climbimg each time through. We rolled out at a pretty good clip, but it wasnt hard to sit in. The field was pretty sketchy for most of the first lap. Lots of people rubbing wheels, locking up tires, just generally not smooth riding. The first lap was pretty uneventful, a few attacks, I just chilled out. The climb was tough, but nothing that was going to really rip your legs off.
Just after we came through the start/ finish, I got up to sprint out of a corner and I could feel something loose in my right pedal/crank/shoe region. I kept riding and messing with it whenever possible to try and diagnose the problem. There was enough of a lull in the racing to pull my leg up and rest it on the top tube to check my cleat. It was wicked loose. I tried to baby it for a while as I weighed my options. I wasn't sure if I could chase back on if I had to stop to fix it. I went back to talk to the Mavic Neutral Support car to see what they could do. I tried to have them fix it while I hung onto the car, but that was too scary, so we stopped and tightened some stuff and I was back chasing through the cars. I got back on just before the climb and suffered over the top at the tail end of the field. The problem is that the "fix" from the Mavic car didn't fix my problem. You see, Speedplay cleats require an adapter that goes under the actual cleat, and that's what was loose. There was no way to get to those bolts without taking off 4 other bolts that hold on the cleat.
I tried to put as little stress on the cleat as possible, but I could tell it was getting worse every time I had to stand and crank hard, which was a lot. I made it through the start finish and over the top of the climb once more before I had to pack it in. Yeah it really suck to have to pull out of this race because of something like this, but I guess it's better than ripping the cleat off the bottom of the shoe and crashing myself and half of the field out too. So there you have it, my Redlands is done. I would say this is the most disapointing moment of my sporting carear. Not because I though I was going to win or anything, but because this is the lamest way to go out, and I hardly got a chance to really dig deep. I seriously doubt I would have made the front group today, but the way the race shattered, I know I could have gotten into one of the many chase groups and made it inside the time cut.
Although this trip out west has been one of the worst bike racing trips of my life, I feel like I learned a lot, and got some good experience, but damn is it disappointing to come out here and have it end like this...
Thanks for everyone's support. Sorry I couldn't do better for you guys back home, but I guarantee I'll be back out here to Redlands again to give it another go.
Since I'm out here for another few days, I'm going to take advantage of the sweet riding around here and go crush myself on some of these mountains.
Thanks for reading. Sorry for the lame excuses.