When Scott Brown first started cycling 10 years ago, he took the wrong course and fell badly.
"To this day, I still have a scar on my back," he said.
It seems like only yesterday that Brown won the Time Trial at the Chula Vista Criterium and was off to the start of what would become an extraordinary roller coaster ride.
Brown, a Santa Clarita native, didn't have his best day on Sunday. He was off by about 50 seconds in the Masters 55-59 division at the Los Angeles County Championships at Seal Beach and came up short of a qualifying time to advance.
"The first time I decided to go pro, I thought I was going to ride to where I would qualify for the Tour of California," he said. "Now I'm racing to try to win the OC [Women's Classic]. When I compete now, it's still just to put on a better race and try to put a higher finish."
Brown qualified for the Tour of California in 2011, 2015 and 2016 but didn't participate in last year's tour. With three races left this year, he doesn't want to be looking too far ahead.
"It's tough because the farther I try to go, the more the stress builds," he said. "Sometimes it gets down to the last week before your race. You have to be ready, and this year you don't want to be."
Despite the poor finish on Sunday, Brown still finished in fourth place. That put him in fourth place in the overall OC series, 63 points ahead of fifth-place Tom Long, 48 behind second-place Steve Vaus, who hasn't ridden a race since November.
Brown also won the Long Beach Circuit of Champions in November and is in first place in a string of four consecutive Mt. San Antonio College City National Tour title races.
And the scars from the time he fell at Chula Vista remain.
"I just had to put that behind me," he said. "I still have a scar, but it doesn't bother me too much. It's good that my team is my family."