Orange cyclocross bike leaning against a fern-covered tree  in a misty forest

Race Report: Grand Prix Erik Tonkin #10, Santa Cross

Published 2013-12-16

I planned so well for this race.

I calculated that, depending on the field size, I would need only a 10th to 15th place finish to win the Grand Prix Erik Tonkin. I wanted to kill this race.

I knew I’d be up very early Sunday and have a long drive, in order to preride the course at 7:30. That colored how I structured my food and energy all week.

I avoided alcohol and caffeine.

I ate extra carbs Thursday and Friday — I’m not a believer in carb-loading, but better safe than sorry.

I tried to get extra sleep Friday night because I knew I wouldn’t sleep well Saturday night.

Saturday Night:

I prepped my commuter bike for the pit. I stripped off the trailer hitch, trail-a-bike hitch, both fenders, the tail light attachment, and water bottle cage. I swapped out my commuting tires for last year’s Clement Crusade PDXes.

I packed my race bag, in reverse order.

I laid out my pre- and post-race clothing, nice and warm for the dryish-and-cold-but-not-freezing forecast I had watched obsessively since Thursday.

I put extra contact lenses in my race bag.

I made two PBJ sandwiches. One for the drive to Corvallis, one for after. And a candy cane for the sugar.

I ground four tablespoons of coffee beans (with caffeine!) and primed my French press.

I loaded the car with my bikes and trainers. I packed a bottle of Tri-Flow and a rag in case it rained during the night and stripped some lube off my chains.

I set my alarm for 5:20am.

Sunday morning:

Of course I didn’t sleep well, but I’d planned for that. I was up and into the pre-ride clothes I’d laid out the night before. I brewed my coffee and drank half a cup and poured the rest into a travel mug. I kissed Jenny and Iris goodbye and started the car. I tuned the radio to something I could endure for 90 minutes (KQAC). I was ready.

However! I hadn’t loaded the directions to the venue into my phone, all I knew was “Corvallis.” So before I pulled out, I downloaded the race flyer for directions.

Go look at that race flyer right now and tell me what single crucial datum I neglected in my planning.

In a panic I double-checked my calendar. Nope: I had definitely entered December 15th for Santa Cross. Crap.

None of my nemeses raced on Saturday. I could’ve walked my bike around the course and won the series. On Saturday. Sure, I still finished third in the series, but crap.


For solace (or penance), I rode up Springville Road.