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The 12 Hours of Temecula - January 21, 2006

By Mario Correa

I was initially hoping to race this event solo, but I'll be racing the Cape Epic in April and I need to maximize my training time between now and then so I decided to try duo for the first time. My partner for the race was Dean Scheetz of Coates Cyclery. It was our first race of the year and it happened to be my birthday so our plan was simple -- have fun. Dean and I shared our pit with my stage racing bud, La Ruta Lou, who was visiting from Northern California. Louise wanted to get in some training as well since she will also be headed to South Africa to race at the Cape.

I wasn't looking forward to a Lemans start but thankfully Dean offered to go first as a birthday present. What a pal! I felt a little weird as all the riders were lined up at the start but I enjoyed watching them take off. The course was essentially a slightly shorter version of the Granny Gear 24 Hours of Temecula race. It's a great course with fast and fun singletrack but on the first lap I wasn't able to enjoy it so much. I hadn't raced since the 6 Hours of OC back in early November and my legs were definitely not used to the burn.

Dean and I alternated laps and would make sure Lou had everything ready when she pulled in for a quick pit stop. I always learn something new when training or racing with Lou. This Dean time it was nutrition; the Subway chocolate chip power cookie plan. I felt guilty every time I saw her on the course because I caused her to crash pretty hard on the pavement the Friday before the race. If you saw Joseba Beloki crash in the Tour, when Lance had to do a bit of cyclocross, his body hit the pavement then bounced off of it... that's the image I had of Lou.

Racing duo allowed me to see things I don't normally see when I'm racing solo. I learned a few things from a couple of racers; I saw plenty of mistakes and missed opportunities as well as strengths and weakness of the solos. So the race was more useful than just a training race. It was also the kick in the pants that I needed so I could start getting serious about training for my first stage race of the year.

In the end, Dean, Lou and I ended up second. We had a good time.

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