The 49ers might have left the Stick, but we didn’t. Cyclocross is in full swing at this former dump site. We got a little rain this last week, emphasis on little. It did nothing to make the course less “Sahara-desert like.” It did knock a little dust down. Things got started early as I drove down in the darkest hours of the morning. Got my usual spot for set up and then hit the course. I like to ride a course 3-4 times before the race. Gets me dialed in. With the team now in full swing and all my athletes I also like to leave enough time to chat/ride with all of them at some point.
Being a USAC race meant that NorCal riders were going to be getting some points. This is only important if going to Nats. Every year us NorCal guys start at the back and it would be nice to move up to be more competitive. Hooray for USAC and points…I guess. If you figure out how they tally all these points you might be up for a Nobel Prize in Economics. What this meant to me….lots of racing. I entered 3 races. Ambitious or dumb, not sure which. The Cat 2,3,4 race was first up. Two warm up laps on the new bike and I was ready to go!
“In the zone” waiting for 100+ riders to be called up
Got a pretty good start and was sitting third wheel
After a good muffed start where I missed my clip (gotta practice that everybody) I got up to 3rd by the first couple turns. Then, I couldn’t take the slow pace and I took off. Halfway through the course I looked back and there was no one. I got overly excited and did the same thing I did at the first race – took a turn too hot and crashed. Only this time the consequences were worse. I thought I had just rolled my tubular. I limped to the pits with only 3 or 4 guys passing me, got my spare bike from WD40 mechanic guru Dan Horndasch and was off chasing. Unfortunately I couldn’t get up to the first place rider and I ended up second. Miles ended up in the 18th.
It wasn’t till after the race that I realized the full gravity of what had happened to the rear wheel on the first lap. As I got to the pit Dan met me and with a solemn look (like his dog had just passed) he handed me my broken baby. The dust had caused all my tear glands to shut down, otherwise I would have cried. The rim was cracked clean through. Carbon wheel, bye-bye and after just 1/2 lap. Oh the tragedy of racing. I saw Chris McGovern from Real Wheels and just handed it over. He also was in shock and Corima was not going to replace it. I am not sure what happened. Maybe I hit a rock or maybe when the bike flipped up it hit something on the way down. That’s racing…
Let the tears begin
Next up was the 35+. Again a front row start and again I messed it up a little, although not that bad. After the race I figured out why I was having such bad starts….I was on my “B” bike and the front chainring is smaller than usual; hence, I was spinning out. Check you gear and practice with it. Missed out on that lesson. On to racing….I was sitting top 6 or so into the first turns when Don Myrah did his usual “pass on the inside”. While he is very skilled at it I wasn’t about to give up my position. He had to adjust and down he went in a heap. I was able to swerve around him, but I had to slow down enough that I got gapped. After that it was chase, chase, chase and at the end I had nothing in the tank. I had to settle for 14th. I got some decent points, but I should have focused on this race more if I wanted more points. The elite race was out of the question.
Miles ripping through the sand
Sage rolled out to a 7th in the 35+
Kristin running the beach. She finished 6th in stacked women’s field
Saturday’s CCCX 45+ race and Sunday’s BASP Race by Brij Lunine
CCCX #3 CSUMB
Great course. Keith has it really dialed in. My goal was to get a better start than last week and try to get a rhythm despite the tail end of a nasty cold. Scrubbed warming up only to realize I had flatted my front sew up. Scurried around and was offered some Stan’s which seemed to hold (thanks to Mike from Fresno!). I got the hole shot more by accident than anything else but stupidly decided to go with it, but only at about 75%–I was feeling sketchy in the corners not trusting my last minute “repair”. The field was was small but strong: 2-time national champ and nicest guy ever Todd Hoeffer was there, along with his Berry teammates Norm Kreiss and John Mundelius, so was Sacto season opener winner Tao Bernardi, now racing independent, and so were Family Cycling regulars Howie and Stacey Sell along with one of my favorite dudes to race with, Ibis Buy/Cell’s Caesar Chavez Jr. Everybody played it a bit cagey, I don’t remember exactly but I think Howie and I traded off some pulls lap one. I think it was the beginning of lap 2 Hoeffer put in a nice attack. I was on the front like a dummy, legs hurting, not getting in a groove whatsoever and watched him get a nice gap. Awhile later Mundelius made the move to bridge up to his teammate. I went with Big John and took the free ride up to Todd, but struggled out of some turns to hang on. Right as we were about to make contact I screwed up a bit in a tight sandy section and missed the boat. No Man’s Land. I was shortly chased down but the main group and the real suffering started. Through a wide open sandy downhill I followed wheels and hit a bush pretty hard somehow releasing both BOA buckles on my shoe. So I peddled as best I could trying to think about where to tighten it. Tao went to the front and made things tough and that was all she wrote for me despite Stacey’s words of encouragement. Alone I focused on getting in that elusive rhythm, and riding hard. Once I recovered the course was so good I couldn’t help but have fun. By the last lap I had Norm in sight. Mundelius held on to Todd for dear life and worked him over to remain undefeated, Caesar took the best of the rest with Howie, Tao and Stacey in tow. Sometimes you get what you deserve– 8th.
Hole shot for Brij at CCCX
BASP #1 Candlestick
Was at a party Saturday night and had left the bike in the car and kept checking the Stan’s–it was holding. Got to the ‘Stick super early to get on the course. No usual pavement section had me worried. Whereas the CCCX races have been featuring about a dozen racers, this race was going to have about 100 with secret arcane call-up protocols. I registered late and don’t have many USA Cycling Association points (it’s a race sanctioning/lack of travel and big results thing) so I was expecting to have to try and move up as best I could. Top ten was the goal. Low and behold I got called up to the second row. Sweet! Really sketchy start set up with a few feet of wide pavement on to a narrower gravel left. But I watched Cal Giant barely 45+ eligible rider Brian Finnerty absolutely fly off the line followed by the usual suspects–all Berries!: World Champ Henry Kramer, John Mundelius, Norm Kreiss, Gannon Myall, Eric Bustos, and Rob “Buckwheat” Meighan. After getting around Bustos and Norm I got on Myall’s wheel and we made it up to Kramer. I was super stoked to avoid the chaos and slot in 5th place as I passed Gannon briefly. I hung on for dear life hoping I’d come around but after several laps the elastic finally broke. No Man’s Land again. This is a cardinal sin but I knew those dudes were faster especially right now. I road as best I could but Alto Velo rider Chris Gaffney and Ibis Buy/Cell boss Tim Cannard (the only non-Berry on the front row) caught me with two or three laps to go. Gaffney is a powerful rider and I was worried. Tim and I did what we could but he got a small gap and made it stick. The battle with Tim was on again, just like last week. I was suffering but managed the perfect attack before the final S-turns to stairs to ramp to finish line. Made it through turn one but “left the door open”–didn’t turn quite tightly enough and Timmy came in my inside putting me in the fence with a nice bodycheck. We both knew whomever made the stair first would probably beat the other one and he did–I was cracking up, it was a crowd pleaser. All things considered I was stoked with 8th this time. Finnerty won by a mile, as he did the very next race (35+) I think it was Mundelius, Gannon, Kramer, & Meighan but I could have a couple transposed.