Words and images by Sam Wiebe and Casey Gibson
A foreboding weather forecast (snow) at host city Big Bear caused the race to make a difficult judgment call and move the time trial into Inland Empire, avoiding a potential cancellation and dangerous logistics. The new course was hastily prepared but well thought out, given the circumstances. A six mile out-and back with a start and finish in the parking lot of Santa Clarita’s Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park. Magic Mountain is home to some of the country’s most epic roller coaster rides. It served as a fitting backdrop for the “surprise” course that threw a lot of teams for a loop.
Jasmin Glaesser and Alison Tetrick contested the race’s invitational women’s time trial. They finished 9th and 16th, respectively, against some of the best against the clock.
The men’s time trial specialist and former national champion Tom Zirbel was the most affected by the route change. Big Bear promised two things that a pure power rider from Colorado loves – a flat course and a course at high altitude. Zirbel did his best on a shorter, more technical course, finishing sixth, seven seconds off of the podium.
The “Flying Z” has this to say about his effort on the day, the team’s third top-ten finish of the week.
“I was a little disappointed that we weren’t racing up in Big Bear, but clearly it was the right call after seeing the weather up there. I’m glad they didn’t cancel the time trial altogether – they had to come up with something last minute, and they did a great job. I definitely would have preferred something a bit longer to take the sprinters out of the running, but as far as courses go it wasn’t too bad. I felt good, and I have had great support all week, so I did everything I could to get us a result. It was a great opportunity, and it’s tough to not represent the team on the podium. Another top ten for the team is a good thing, but we are looking for more.”