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hey norcal folks,

curious to hear your thoughts on the race and venue here in this smaller, more intimate group.

i had fun in oakland with the rain and new venue, despite two flats and a mechanical. i was sure thankful for the neutral support.

i know a bunch of you on this list - including promoter tom. share your thoughts!

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If I had brought my mnt bike It would have been a blast!
1st race 35+bs flatted in 60 sec. ran my ass off for the last front spare wheel,4 more guys with flats behind me .
2nd "SS-Bs" race they gave us a 30 sec gap to the largest B field of the day ,ran 60psi & got bucked around but didnt flat.
Needless to say I was not on the results pages for either race! prob got 3-4? for the SS race too
I havent seen a course this rocky ever,that is for cyclocross mind you. I couldnt count the flats that people had it was around 30-40% of the racers . Id say total bullshit. Its a cool spot if there was grass,mud,sand w/o all the rocks & broken glass.
Yeah, it was rocky and loose in places, but it's a voluntary race and I chose to race anyway. I have a couple friends who crashed, several (including my wife) who had flats, but everyone still had fun, mostly because they accepted the course for what it was (and wasn't) and went for it.

Everyone had a chance to pre-ride the course, and change tire pressures as warranted. I set my tires notably taller than usual (around 35+psi) and I had no flat problems. Of course it sucks to get flats, but if you were at the Lion of Fairfax the day earlier, that course was more "typical" looking of a CX course, yet I have NEVER seen so many flats. It's racing, and sometimes it's just not your day. (LoF was not my day, I slid out/crashed twice and my bike slammed me in the nether region, leaving me in the fetal position for 10 minutes, my error and I have no one to blame but myself)

Sure, in an ideal world Tom would have the luxury of gracious and open-minded land managers with grassy fields and small punchy hills, but sadly that is not the case. I applaud Tom and the Pilarcitos crew for actively asking for help finding venues, and giving us the lemons to possibly make lemonade (or use in a hefeweizen, of course).

Would I welcome a race again there next year? If given the Merritt College course or no race at all, I know I'll toe the line with reckless abandon on whatever bike throwing caution to the wind and looking for a beer handup whenever possible.

Rock on, ride on, stay rubber down.
I had a blast and thought it was fun technical course, despite flatting once and crashing once. I wish the laps were a bit longer. Though it is telling that 3 of the top 5 podium finishers in the Men's A race were on mountain bikes!
Andrew, wanted to throw my two cents in on the course Sunday (and thank you for accepting me into the group!). Let's start by remembering that this course replaced McClaren, which I did last year (pretty well), and which was DEFINITELY a mtb. course. Personally, I was happy not to have all the climbing. Yes, it was a very loose course, but I also heeded Tom's warnings and left my tubies at home. (Especially after flatting a Grifo at Fairfax the day before; becomes an expensive sport when that happens.) I raced on 35c Maxxis clinchers pumped somewhere in the 40s and handled the course just fine - or as fine as I'm capable of handling it. Location was great, but I'm biased since I live in Oaklyn and rode up to the venue (best warm up I'll have all season). Sure, some grass would be great and some mud (which was there for the final races once the rain kicked in), but it was definitely an interesting course. And I'd probably take it over the 'upper' Coyote Point course, too. Blake, I agree the gaps were too close. I think we went about 15 seconds after you did in the master B races. Our front guys were in with your guys on the first lap, especially when things stacked going into the first single track. That part could maybe be improved upon. If you weren't top 10 going into that section, you were at least a minute behind the leaders by the time you came out of it. At least. But I like having the Oakland location. I wish we could use the Lake Merritt area where we've been doing Wed. night practice and expand the course. It has thick sand, run-ups, tight turns and the bandstand to roll through. Probably won't happen (because of Children's Fairlyand), but we can hope.
Viewed from mid-pack in the C35+'s, I thought it was pretty fun. No flats with Tufo T30s at 35 psi, but I admit I was paying a lot of attention to navigation....besides the flat issue, the idea of crashing seemed really unattractive on most of the course. I liked the sandy hairpin section, it's a good course feature when everyone is still trying out all kinds of different strategies even on lap 5.

But the field was pretty big, expecially when starting behind the under-35s. For $35 I would have liked to be able to race a little more in the first couple of laps. How about a discount for the start-in-the-back categories?
The course had its fast sections with passing room, a bit of looseness that was dampened by the rain, and rocks! I was running tubeless at 25/28 psi giving good traction despite the loose top surface. The sand turns became rideable in the middle of my early Master B race, though the 30 sec gap was not long enough for our start as we in the front were in traffic of the race before us almost immediately after the barriers! My colleagues were commenting that we were in recovery during the first lap! I was OK with it, as it let me hide out and save my strength for later as I was on the hunt for my pals.
I think that the course definitely has potential. Yes, it was loose & rocky, but still fast & flowing. If the course could be developed, and possibilities for expanding it explored, it would make a top notch addition to the local series.

As far as the mtb's being used, well... If you're a newcomer to the sport, and it's all you have to ride, then by all means ride it! But, seriously, if you've been 'crossing for a while, leave the mtb at home.


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