BASP #1: McLaren Park, SF. Once again Tom Simpson has punched us all in the collective gullet for the series opener. The upside is that it's done. I don't hate this course the way some others do, although it's not friendly to anyone whose not in total supreme shape, which I'm not. In December, this course would be better for me, since I'll be stronger then than now. But it's the opener, and it's hard. The course this year is the 4th version in as many years, and I think that's a good thing. I like subtle differences in courses from year to year, as well as having some familiarity with a venue. I think that 2009 version is probably the hardest yet in terms of the layout. It was like compressing sea level to Donner pass into a small loop. The most visible feature of the course is the giant run up. This year it was muddy at the bottom, and slick. Yay.... Then there is what I think was the hardest part of the course as it winds up to the top of the park (Donner pass...), this year featured a serpentine route that split the climb into 3 separate climbs. Again....yay. Then the course drops back down to sea level. There is just about enough of that to get out of the red by the time you wind back around and hit the run up. The last couple of laps for me were just about survival....low gear for the climbs (I mean 34x25 low...) and the most important thing is controlling my HR. They finally tell me I can stop....yay for real this time. 45th, almost 5:00 down from the winner. Not lapped, not by about another 4 minutes so there's that. Last year the winner lapped me. So something positive to take out of it. Yay.