Wrote this for Cycling Illustrated, so you can check it out HERE, or here!
Late-season fitness is both a blessing and a curse. Either you didn’t race hard enough earlier in the year, or you exhibited flawless self control in your rest and preparation. Some people use their late-season fitness to go to the World Championships. Me? I use it for great Northern Californian classics such as the Oakland Grand Prix. Why? Why not. I love racing my bike. Late-season or not. Does this mean I am in perfect form for one more race this year? Possibly. Most of the time I wish there was more racing. There is always another race.
It’s not every day you can conquer the streets of downtown Oakland on skinny tires and two wheels while clad in neon and flashy Lycra. Suddenly, you fit in. One day a year, it isn’t all about the Raider Nation. It is about bikes, racing, and a great community. Not only does this race provide equal prize money for the men and women, but also an incredible amount of cash, thanks to sponsors such as Montano Velo, CycleFanatic, Major Motion Cycling Team, and Team Oakland just to name a few. Just imagine. Each lap you do, the bigger the next prime is in the best currency there is. Cold. Hard. Cash.
We all know that Oakland takes their sporting events seriously, and this bike race is no different. After forming a small break, I was able to take a solo flyer into the last 12 laps, which not only secured the cash money, but also a great finale to my NorCal racing for the year. This was my 2nd win at the OGP and I will be back for more. In the wake of this victory, I sealed the BikeReg.com Premier Series, which takes place over several races in the area, and the benefit of this—more cash on the line. Who says bike racing isn’t glamorous?
Regardless, we all know the reason we race bikes is for the love of the sport and competition. If you plan your season correctly, you will be flying into the World Championships on that last cusp of incredible fitness…or entering the Oakland Grand Prix. It is pretty much the same thing. Listen to your body throughout the year and challenge yourself accordingly, and you will be able to ride the wave of late-season fitness right into cyclocross season. Usually, work and life offer a bit of involuntary breaks throughout the year. Capitalize on those and keep riding. Yes, we all want to be able to race at the World Championships, but at least we can race our bikes one way or the other. Bike racing is glamorous after all.