Literally….Seems like we started out with a bang. Two big events in the SF Bay Area/Sacramento then…crickets. The second weekend in October brought a slew of races to NorCal. Two on Saturday and two on Sunday. We are so lucky here. Saturday was Round 1 of the Santa Rosa Cup. This is the race series that Bike Monkey and I, CX Nation, co-produce. Round 1 brought us to a familiar venue, The Windsor Christian Academy in Windsor…obviously. We had a race at this venue last year. I am friends with the pastor of the church and he is really into active living. This year he agreed to open up the soccer field more and allow us to use more of it. This was a saving grace (no pun intended) because the biggest complaint from last years course was “too many turns”. I agreed and the lap times were very fast. It gets boring if you do the same loop 15 times. Well, we added some big stretches but it only amounted to about 30 more seconds, so lap time for the elites were around 4:30. Not ideal….
So we began setting up the day before and at a private property it is so much easier than at a public park. I always worry that someone is going to come by a public park after we have set up and rearrange all the stakes and tape. My worst nightmare…. No need to worry here, although when we were setting up we did see a guy stealing parts from the junk yard next to the school. he was wearing all black in the middle of the day and driving a pink car with a lime green spare tire on it. I am guessing he won’t get far in the “robbery business”. We decided to do something new this year and have an impromptu kids race the day before the event. It was mostly kids from the school, but others showed up and we sent them off in two waves based on age. This was probably my proudest moment of the whole race. Kids are the future of cycling and exposing kids to cyclocross is turning into my main focus.
The “older” winners
Race day brought the early morning wake up call, lots of sore muscles and total satisfaction once the racing got underway. All the races went off smooth. “Bike Monkey logistics” are on a whole different level. After doing the Gran FOndo and 7,000 people, I am sure a couple hundred is no problem. CX Nation showed up in force with Miles, Sage and Kristin racing. Sage battled with newcomer Ryan Greiner in the Master’s A’s. Ryan got the best of him and Sage finished on the second step. Crazy, just a year ago Ryan took a clinic from me in Oakland. Now he is beating both Sage and I (he took me when I cracked my wheel in the GP Clark Natwick). He is a strong rider. Miles had a strong showing in the B’s and finished 4th, just off the podium. Krisitn battled Marin Bikes’ Caroline Dezendorf for the top spot. Caroline was just too strong and Kristin had to settled for silver. I jumped ingot he Elite A’s which always seems like a good idea, but doesn’t really turn out that way until I am actually racing. With my feet swollen like 10 lbs. of sausage in a 5 lbs casing, I rolled around for an hour and ended up a surprising 5th.
Fog greeted the early riders at SR Cup #1
Hosey wins with “the big man” shining some light down on him
DAY 2: Sunday – Sac and Marin
The CX Nation split up on Sunday as there were races in both Sacramento and Marin. I really like the Sacramento races and their venues. Actually I am jealous that they get use the parks of the city. I wish Santa Rosa was just as generous. Sunday’s course was new last year and I loved it so much I had to go back – Orangevale Park. This is a classic grass course – fast and faster. James Coates from Cal Giant showed up, along with Jude Mayne from the Ibis team and Jeff Mitchell made his way back after sitting out most of last year with injury. Jeff and I have battled for years in the Sac series and have had some dramatic finishes, including my one and only “bunch sprint” for the win at Ione a few years ago. We got off to a fast start and Jude split the field with a strong surge at the beginning. I was patient and just followed wheels knowing that we had an hour in the 90 degree heat and 30 mph winds. For the first time ever I brought two water bottles…and I used both of them before the race was over.
Jude had a mechanical on the 2nd lap and four of us – Coates, Mitchell, myself and a Velo Fratello rider, Justin Madison, got the gap on everybody. With about 7 to go Coates attacked and I was at the back of the four, which actually turned out to be lucky because he crashed in an uphill turn and took Jeff and Justin out. I saw this as a sign to attack and I did. I was holding them for a couple laps, but the three of them were just too strong. Then I got gapped off only to find my way back up to them as they were playing games and forcing one and another to pull in the wind. With 1.5 to go Coates attacked again and I was 4th wheel again. You see a pattern here. Don’t be 4th wheel. Justin slipped some gears and then just fell apart. Jeff and Alan got a gap on me and that was all they needed. Try as I could the rubber band was broken and I wasn’t going to be tying it back together. Still a good performance after all I went through that weekend. If you ever want to be really tired, put on a race and then race two days. I was a zombie on Sunday night.
Over the bridge at Orangevale
First podium this year – I got a cowbell….appropriate
Meanwhile down in Fairfax…..
Sage and Kristin lined up for the Lion of Fairfax. It is the first time in many years that the Lion has actually shown up in Fairfax. The school where they have the race has been undergoing some renovations. Murphy Mack brought the race back home this year. Judgeing from the photos and video coming from the course it looked hot and dusty. Sage had a good start in Master’s 35+ A’s but then got a nail in the rear tubie. Figures on a construction site…. He had to run to the pits and by the time he frantically chased back on he could only manage 5th. Kristin lined up in stacked field that included Rachel Llyod and Luna chick Katerina Nash who just happened to finish 3rd at Worlds a couple years ago. Kristin slotted in for a 4th place with the afore mentioned taking the top two steps and yesterday’s nemesis, Dezendorf, taking bronze.
Kristin taming the Lion
Sage with the hops at Lion of Fairfax