A heavy haze hung over LA on Sunday making it seem the entire city was “celebrating” the 20th day of April. This was the second annual Get High, Climb Higher Race, and the event just keeps getting bigger and better. Last year I raced to a 4th place finish but, as you know in racing, that’s never enough. I actually hadn’t considered racing this year but once my friend Gio told me he was in, I wanted to be his domestique and help him solidify a win. We moseyed to the meet spot early Sunday afternoon; the helipad in Griffith Park, tucked at the top of Commonwealth Street, behind two gates that keep cars from entering.
By 6pm, people had started to gather and the event organizer, Lean, told everyone that we had 10 more minutes until race time! As a surprise, my teammate Angel came by to get in on the action. An avid racer and good spirit, I was happy to have him at the race.
Ready, Set, Go!
Everyone started up the hill, the roar of cranking chains and grinding gravel echoed off the rocky walls. The cyclists, of all shapes and sizes, set a hasty beginning pace.
By the end of the second checkpoint, the 2nd place finisher and I were using each other to pace up and down Griffith Park. We had to ride through Ferndale St. which is infamous for having the worst traffic on the mountain. On our way to the final checkpoint, I broke away for a few minutes and tried to hold that position, but the constant attacking had me losing speed. In the final turn, I was reeled in and passed by the 2nd place finisher’s cyclocross skills. He got off his bike and climbed the dirt path of the mountain, cutting straight up the switchbacked road! Much respect to him for being on his A game.
Sprinting as hard as I could, I finished 3rd in the race. Turns out my plans for helping my friend didn’t work out. Sadly we lost each other at the first checkpoint, and I just didn’t feel like ending it there. Tired and thirsty, I was happy to end the suffer fest.
1st: Aventon, 2nd: TCB Couriers, 3rd: Pure Fix Cycles
The end of the evening was awesome! With these amazing people by my side, I couldn’t ask for a better Sunday night. These guys and gals play, and play hard, because who knows where that effort will lead you. For me, it was to awesome friends and a beautiful view of Los Angeles.
Special thanks to Julio Bustamante for all the excellent photos. Check out his Flickr for more great race pics.