Race Report :: Merco McLane Foothills Road Race

Event: Some combination of names I keep mixing up
Category: M35+ 1/2/3
Place: Pack
Team mates: Me, Myself, and I

This was my first road race of the season and of the last two years. Since I busted my shoulder up about two years ago I haven’t done any road racing. Lots of riding but no RR. I had done this course in the past and the terrain favored me. No beeatch of a hill like at CopperBumpyOpolis or PeskyDerriero. Just fun rollers.

Merco/McLane/Foothills Road Race

Oh, and I was highly motivated to race when I went online to check the registration numbers and there were 119 out of 120 registered. Well heck, I just can’t let that last spot go to someone else!

Sunday morning race day and it’s time to load the rig and head out. My buddy Larry joins me and we aim towards the central valley. Both of us being a bit map nerdy we had scoped out the quickest route.

On the hill out of Livermore the Navigators team van blows past us. Grrr. No worries ‘they are pros’. We motor along and cut across to 99 and then south towards Modesto. Then we turn off early to take our route, not the route on the race directions. Things are good and we even find a Lake Road and a local park with clean empty bathrooms! Score! After a unloading our worries, we hop back in the van then get ready to pull out of the parking lot. Just then the Navigators team van goes flying past. Haha!!! We beat them with our super duper navigating skills! They should change their team name ’cause it ain’t representative.

Larry and I are chuckling over this for a bit. But then it’s focusing on getting to the race. We find the next turn-off and I attempt to show how well a vehicle of this size handles a four wheel drift. White knuckles indicate that examples of this type are not of Larry’s desire.

He soon points out some sand blown onto the road and mentions the sketchy nature of that material and it’s predominance in the corners. We become focused upon the particulars of sand on the road and handling characteristics when it’s involved.

Our discussion though is cut short as a line of cars with bikes and then the bigger and badder BMC team monster truck comes barrelling down from the opposite direction. Um, look at all these people going the wrong… um… hmmm… Hey Larry, did we miss the turn-off?

We pull over and another car approaching slows. Um, ‘is the race behind us?’, we ask. ‘Yes, of course’. ‘But we didn’t see any road’. ‘Well we were here yesterday and there *is* a road’.


So I think Larry and I will agree not to tease the Navigators any longer. For now.

And eventually we made it to the race. Got a zero minute warm-up. Road around really fast, very slow, really fast, pokey, then sorta kinda fast as we attempted to finish but came across:

1. Sheriff’s truck in the lane
2. Women’s field finishing at the same time
3. A poor crashed women in the middle of the road

I had realized the futility early on that trying to sprint to a finish amongst all that craziness was… well… craziness.

I was happy enough though to finish a road race in one piece and still feel like I had a little in the tank.


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