Charity is one of the best things about the holidays.…
One of Rob’s favorite mountain biking races of the year happens to be in his hometown of Fresno, right before his birthday. Big Sandy is a great weekend escape where we get a double-whammy of visiting his parents and riding with friends. Plus, spring is quite lovely in Fresno, with lots of wildflowers around and warm, but not yet face-melting, temperatures. It’s the right time to “say Fres-Yes!”
This year, we camped out the night before the race at the San Joaquin River Gorge rec area. It was cool and breezy at night. If I lived in the central valley, I’d require a screened in sleeping porch just for nights like that.
Rob’s team, Super Pro, had breakfast in the morning before getting “kitted out” in their bright pink and blue uniforms. Rob usually brings me a cup of coffee in the tent to start the day.
Rob’s race was a 23 mile course that began at 10:45. Thanks to him riding a single speed (no gears, no suspension, very little common sense) he was the only rider in his category.
The non-riders packed up and drove an hour west to the finish line at the Millerton Lake boat launch – which is sadly about 300 feet from the waterline with this drought. I read a magazine in the shade with a picnic while we all waited for the riders to come in.
Rob had a great race with no big crashes or mechanical failures. He came blazing across the finish line.
Those crazy bright Super Pro jerseys do photograph well! Riders were provided with locally-brewed beer and freshly made tamales for their recovery lunch.
The scene in the parking lot was classic race-day. Lots of dogs, kids, birkenstock sandals and worn out athletes while Aerosmith was piped out by some unknown DJ for hours on end. It was great to see local high schoolers from the Fresno Composite team out in force.
Finally, time for the podium presentation! Our friend Chava won second place in her category:
And Rob took home first in his – sure, he was the one and only rider but he’s always No. 1 in my book.
We packed up three bikes and three riders and headed home. Along the way we bought fresh strawberries from a nice teenager who will be studying astronomy in college in the fall. We stopped in Manteca for a delicious Mexican dinner at El Jardin. I highly recommend the fish or shrimp in a spicy lime chili “Enlimonata” sauce.
The Fresno Bee covered the race today, including video of Rob eating lunch. Looking forward to the Big Sandy again next year!