No matter what level you are, racing reason has now hit full stride to the pros competing in the Classics in Europe to the weekend warriors strewn across California.
Here in the southland, you can pretty much race every weekend for the first half of the year if you like. There’s crits, road races and even time trials, but there’s only one race in LA County that combines all three so well.
The San Dimas Stage Race kicks off this Friday and you’ll have all the top cyclists from every level in Southern California there.
Well, not me. They eliminated the Cat 5 race this year and I’m two away from upgrading, so instead, I eat chocolate.
You don’t even have to look on the calendar to know this race is coming. Just check your friend’s Strava and you’ll notice them scouting the course a week in advance.
For a little, San Dimas is excellently known for playing a central role in the Bill and Ted trilogy(I’m praying for a third), but it actually has a noteworthy past outside of the portrayed 80’s utopia.
The town grew up quickly at the turn of century once the railway extended out here. The downtown business district on Bonita still contains buildings from days of yore, but head north and you’ll find a beautifully preserved district of century old homes and bungalows, so much so that they used San Dimas to represent 1920’s Los Angeles in the movie Changeling.
As for the race, it actually starts with a 4.25 mile time trial in Glendora up Glendora Mountain Road. That may sound short, but riders will have to pace themselves as it averages a steady 5.4%. It’s the same road that always plays a part whenever the Tour of California does a Mt. Baldy stage.
Glendora Mountain Road(Photo by: Annette McCusker)
Because all racers will be doing nothing but going upwards KOM points will be rewarded to the top 5 finishers of every race.
Saturday turns to the road race where riders take a number of laps around 7 mile loop depending on Category. Each lap features what sounds like a short .2 mile climb at 8%, but you’ll see gaps form like it’s horses versus gazelles every time through. There’s also KOM points on some of these, so you’ll see a few of them get contested.
Grueling around Bonelli Park for Stage 2(Photo by: Annette McCusker)
There are also sprint points and time bonuses in the middle of the race and finish, so racers will have a lot on their mind.
The Grand Finale on Sunday features a six corner crit around a course ranging from 35 to 85 minutes depending on category. You’ll really see everyone go all out scraping for those final sprint points and time bonuses.
The beauty of the San Dimas Stage Race is that you really have to be competitive in all three disciplines in order to make the podium.
For many, this is the high point of racing season; a true test to see where you’re at. If you want to see what a bike race is all about, show up to San Dimas this weekend.