SF Bay Area had a big race @ Laguna Seca (Sea Otter venue), CCCX #3.
It was the first of the NCNCA Cup Series and the fields were thick. Brand new venue that included a mean pavement climb and lots of loose, fast, off camber fun. Hopefully someone has GPS data from this course, each lap had to have at least 400'+ of climbing!
Typical Cally weather, sunny and warm.
A couple big names showed up like Ben Jaques-Magne and "Mr. Lung" Ned Overend. It was a brutal affair of something like 9-10 laps, I got a little delirious after seeing 5 to go. Good course though, 3 barrier sections and all of them a bit tricky. I didn't get the course dialed until the last few laps. Some super fun fast descents that were drifty and loose.
Ben took the cake in the end, w/ Ned in 5th @ almost 60 yrs old!
We are blessed with the New Belgium Brewery Series up in Fort Collins, CO. They throw together a really laid back fun $5 entry race for juniors, B's and A's on Tuesday nights in their backyard. My 9 year old has taken last place every time, but he LOVES racing and looks forward to it each week. His problem has been all my fault. I haven't bought him the right equipment. I didn't even know they made kids cyclocross bikes, so I've been going around trying to find knobbies for his 24" road bike that would clear the brakes. The only place I could find them was a wheelchair supply outlet online. He's been riding his mountain bike, and struggling over the barriers with that 26lb tank.
Last night was awesome. Mud puddles, sand volleyball pit to run through, lots of goathead thorns, and great competition.
I told myself for the first time "I just want to place". Ironically, for the B racers, they announced the top 11 finishers, and I was 11th! I'm moving up in the world.
So today marked the NC Cyclocross season start. being only my fourth race (second race weekend )this season and having had my rear handed to me in Ohio I had hoped for a good day. As it rained the night before I snickered with delight at the fact of mud in the morning. After a nice huge bowl of bob evans oatmeal I headed out to the course to watch some earlier race action and check out the course. Normally the course would have been to my liking. Wide open, no real tricky turns, clay, gravel, one set of barriers and some slick rutted mud that zapped the legs. The field was strong with the likes of Will Black, Andy Applegate, Pendry and some other locals that know what they're doing. The race started in it's normal earnest as I slowly moved up in the first few turns. After making my way close to the top ten I was coming inside of someone on a tighter uphill turn. Normally I would have no problem with my nicely lower pressure grifo's digging in, but today I couldn't be so lucky with my simple clinchers. Washing out and getting run over by several of the guys I had spent the first turns passing was awesome. So was the huge dent in my top tube when I got up and deposited my pride in the dumpster. As I collected myself I knew my luck was not coming today. With a course this wide open the leaders, and contenders were gone, and I shut it down. Luckily I had a group of four to ride with. Image my joy when the rider sitting on all race complaining about not training and whatever attacks us on the final lap... How nice. In the end Will Black turned the screws on everyone and took the win. Big congrats to Pendry following his tumble at Michigan double cross. 6th! Must be nice to have natural talent!
In the end, I think it's safe to say I now have experienced my worst race ever and can only improve on my season. Tomorrow's course looks to be a killer. It's being held at Bond Park in Cary, NC. This park is one of those that when you walk in, if you have ever raced cyclocross, a sick little grin squirms onto your face in anticipation of the lung searing oblivion that awaits everyone on race day. Should be a blast.
Ummm, smaller races? Like a field of 40 or so? Kansas City Cat 3/4's are usually 25-40 racers. We are having a very nice long fall here. Highs lately have been around 70, it was a bit windy today which made the wide open grassy course not very fast at all. Oh and the three sets of barriers didn't help either. One positive, NO SAND!! This is my first year Cat 3/4 racing. It's going well, so far I have an 11th, 8th and a pitiful 16th place from today. There are tons of excuses about why. I honestly think I ate too much for breakfast and didn't ride or run enough last week.
This weekend is a two day race at the same venue each day. Day two we'll run the course backwards. I'm debating on camping out, lows around 47 highs expected to reach 58 or so. Still dry no mud races yet this year. It'll probably be more like ice races instead. Punishment for the past two months of great weather.
So Cal Prestige #3 - Storm The Beach, Ocean Side, CA
Well, it was billed as being '...patterned after the famous Duinencross race in Koksijde Belgium and takes place on Camp Pendleton's "Red Beach" where the U.S. Marine Corps practice their amphibious landings...' but riding the half mile stretch along the beach at high tide, being pummeled by the surf, I felt like I was 700KM south of Koksijde storming the beach at Normany. This course, for being so flat, was not really optimal for single speed. The first half was very fast hardpacked road and the second half was pretty much the half mile coast plus a lot of loose sand - some rideable and some not. At first I wasn't sure why the Elite (1/2/3) Single Speed race was only 35 minutes but after 1 lap (over 4K and clocking in at 11 minutes) I was wishing it was shorter.
I often feel like I'm going to puke when I finish and that I nothing left to give but this race drained something from my soul. That said, I got second place so it wasn't all bad. Cleaning up by bike of salt and sand was the maraschino cherry on top of this special Sunday.
Next weekend brings a drive up north to Santa Cruz for some not so warm, or sandy, racing.