REDLANDS BICYCLE CLASSIC 2018 DAY 4 – DOWNTOWN SHORT CRITERIUM COURSEBrett Richards
Day 4 of the Redlands Bicycle Classic is always a bitter sweet day as it’s the end of our first big race of the season. I planned to peak at this race opposed to the National Championships as I felt I had a chance to win this race and not Nationals. I was also defending my title from last year which was important to me. That being said in many instances this race was my season, the reason I didn’t take a week off all winter which some people call “off season”.
The skies were clear and it was warm as it was all week long. About ninety degrees warm. I am used to this weather living in Loma Linda and Redlands for so long I was happy to have the warm weather. Some people not so much. Something a lot of people don’t know is quadriplegics such as my friend Dele Dunston don’t sweat like most of us. This is due to the level of spinal cord injury effecting their sweat glands. I feel for these guys because I do really well in the heat and sweat like a crazy which helps regulate my body temperature.
The gun went off and the final day of the Redlands bicycle classic was off and running. The .65 mile 5 turn course is one of the easiest in the Redlands Bicycle Classic. This easy course makes for close contact racing. With me having to chase down the leader in the last couple days of racing I felt that this competitor was going to flip the script on me and conserve as much energy as possible throughout the race and put in a charge at the end to overtake me. This was my strategy the last two days and it worked well for me. Not to my surprise I look in my mirror and there he was. The start was fast and fun for a lap and I realized I had already created a small gap between myself and the other competitors. I thought to myself should I wait up and get the group back together so I can take advantage of the draft from others or should I carry on and potentially solo the entire race. I carried on all by myself. About half way through the race I was about twenty seconds ahead and feeling the fatigue. I wondered if I could keep this up for the whole race. At the 25 minute mark of the 30 minute race I only had a few laps to go and at this point nobody was in sight behind me. I still was not feeling very confident. I was extreme fatigued at this point and was just waiting for someone to put in a charge and come back to me. I felt as if I was rolling in slow motion. My arms felt like 30 pound dumbbells. I keep focus and cruised across the finish line with nobody in sight and won the Redlands Bicycle Classic all by myself.
The podium celebration was the most rewarding time of my cycling career to date as all my teammates were there congratulating me along with Cotie and Pedro of Team Possabilities. All of these people have motivated me in one way or another to get to this point. Thank you to all of you for pushing me to become the athlete I am today!