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Mar. 7, 2007
Mark ‘The Shark’ McCormack rides in CA
Mark--close-up!TCB rider Mark McCormack is working hard these days for the Best Buddies organization. He got a whole new perspective on bike racing while working the expo at the Tour of CA, but like any die-hard bike racer worth his weight in lycra, Mark found a way to make it to the start line down in Long Beach.

I am now back on the East Coast after a really fun trip to CA. I missed the first few days of my scheduled trip due to a massive snow storm that shut down the airports out here.  It was a drag sitting in the airport for 7 hours to eventually be told that my flight was cancelled. This kept me from attending the pre-Tour of CA event at Clif headquarters, an event I was really looking forward to.

Now that I work for a living (not that racing a bike professionally for the past 15 years was not work), I figured I would share some thoughts.

I worked at the Tour of CA in the expo for 7 days. I can't believe how much fun that was. I was blown away by how much work went into an event like that. Every day I would be at the finish area at around 9 or 10am to get the Best Buddies booth set up. When we arrived, the venue was under full construction mode and the cycling fans were already showing up. Keep in mind that the racers were not arriving until 2:00 or 3:00pm.

As a former pro, I was used to flying into the finish area at 35-40mph, doing a few laps of the finish circuit, looking for the team support staff, then heading off the hotel for a shower, massage, and dinner. It never crossed my mind that fans had waited 5 hours for our arrival, or that the race staff and vendors had been there even longer setting it all up.  I I have an entirely new perspective on the big races now. To the fans:  you are even more amazing than I thought!

While I was there for work, I also made sure to get in some pleasure as well. I had the good fortune of riding my bike most mornings for 1.5 - 2 hours. I was on east coast time so getting on the bike by 7am everyday was not a problem.  Luckily in CA the temps at 7am are not too cold and I was able to get in a few great bike rides.

On my final day in CA, I managed to get into the Long Beach Circuit Race where I raced for the first time as a road rider with Team Clif Bar. It was also my first ever Masters race. It was fun being amongst my peers: 30+ working men.  The race was very fast, fairly flat, and really short. Not knowing that I would be racing when I packed my bike the week earlier, I had a 53x12 as my biggest gear. With a tailwind sprint on a flat finish I was doomed. I was spun out before we hit 200 meters to go. I managed a 4th place finish and really enjoyed the experience. It was great to see Mark Noble take the win against guys 10 years younger.  

Back at home I had the good fortune of riding with one of my new teammates, Todd, who has recently transplanted from CA to MA. He's going to fit in perfectly in this part of the world. I hope to help integrate him into New England cycling quickly so that he can feel right at home. It will be great to have another red Team Clif rolling the streets of MA on a regular basis spreading the message of the greatness we all know as Clif!

Oh yeah, you may be wondering: what is Best Buddies? It's a non-profit founded by Anthony Shriver to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by creating one to one friendships and providing meaningful and integrated jobs. 

I work to bring riders to our two cycling charity events known as Best Buddies Challenges. There's a ride in MA on May 19th and another in CA on Sept 8th.

Posted by:
Le Sensation American
Team Clif Bar

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