'Cross season got it's start in CA, in the blistering heat of the east bay at Robertson Park in Livermore. Famous for its stadium stair runup, the promoters kindly left it out in favor of a fun, varied, mostly-flat course on grass, wood chips, and hard pack. It was nice to have some "east coast" style grass, but it was pretty thick and slow. One set of barriers, one set of logs, followed by a hairpin and then another big log.
The Livermore races are laid-back affairs, with $20 entry fees (cheap for CA) and large, combined fields. The first race had Juniors, Cs, and singlespeed Cs and Bs. The second was all women, the third was open bs, all master bs, and master As. A men went after that.
Temps were to climb to 102 degrees by noon.
I escaped the heat by racing singlespeed Bs. The bummer is that the race was run with the cs - so only 30 minutes long - but being able to watch a few races and make it back to get back to work was nice. In the Bay Area, most singlespeed races have to race with the As - 60 minutes of getting lapped by the pros. I think Cross Crusade has got it right - 45 minutes for the SSers, with the Bs.
I'm always wondering how that first race will feel...whether the body or bike will hold up despite insufficient prep on either. The SS hasn't been touched since last January's race! But bike and body weren't the worst off - I guess the mind needed the most prep - as teammate and I missed our start due to our lazy warm-up! But we both didn't really care. 20 seconds didn't matter in the end, and it's always more calming to miss the craziness of the first few turns. The downside is you never really see the people at your speed when starting at the back.
The most interesting part of the course was the logs. I got back on my bike between the logs, but most folks in our race ran the section. It seemed to me to be faster riding in between if you were good with your mounts and dismounts. Made me think of a response to this post
, in that I like courses that force you to think and decide. Watching the A-Masters, most rode in between too, so it was good to have some validation that i wasn't just being stubborn trying to ride everything. It depends on your running and mounting ability though. I still remember watching the McCormacks get back on their bikes between the barriers on the run-up in the presidio at nats, while others ran.
With a ton of work on my plate, and non-'cross weather in the forecast, I debated not going and holding out til later races, but I'm glad I went. It's always refreshing to get to the races, remember the fun, and get reminders and more motivation to work on those weaknesses.
'Cross is here. I feel alive again.
Some pics of the race can be found here: