Like the 49ers at home on Thanksgiving…home is not the place to be. Their old stadium has my number this year. We have had two races at Candlestick Point, across from the soon to be demolished stadium of the SF 49ers. Both races have proven to be mechanical nightmares. Not only are placings lost when you crash or have a mechanical, but so is money out of your pocket. At first the cross racer is bummed to have a mechanical and get knocked out of a race. The cross racers second thought is, “How much is this going to cost me?” This year has been a spending year for me. Wifey loves it. haha
Rainy day set up – soon to come down due to high winds
I got to the venue at the crack and got a good spot for the race. I knew it would be muddy and I wanted to try out a bunch of pressures before race time. The course was thick and once the wind picked up it got really challenging to ride around. The promoters had the whole finish structure crash down due to the winds….and it was during a race. Luckily no one got hurt.
Due to this thick mud I had a decision to make. I have a tubeless set on the “A” bike and a tubular set up on the “B” bike. I was thinking that I would probably ride the “B” bike so I could drop the tubulars way down for the mud. My pre-rides and theories proved correct. I got the psi down to 26 psi on the tubulars and they were floating in the mud. The only problem that you run into in this venue are the transitions between mud and the sidewalks that are littered on the course. They are sharp edges and the organizers don’t soften them up. During warm up I made a quick pass of a junior and got off the “proper” line. Bam…into a curb and then my rear went flat. I took it to the pits and Dan from Marin shot it with a bunch of Stan’s. The hole was right where the base tape and the rubber met. It was not sealing very well. Bye-bye tubular. $$$$$. Bummer….guess I am doing tubeless.
We lined up for the 35+ A’s in the dirt, which again seemed weird. Why we weren’t on the pavement was beyond me. It made for a slow start. I started further back since I didn’t do the last race. The first 1/4 lap was the usual cluster. I got taken out into a pole, but managed to only lose a couple places and battle back up to the lead group as we entered a fast section on the rear of the course and then……psssssssssst. Rear tire flat. I ran a long ways to the pits where Dan from Marin got me set up on a Marin cross bike. Thanks Marin! I actually had been wanting to try their bikes out. Off I went…in dead last place. It is always a tough go when you are riding an unfamiliar bike and these were the worst conditions…super thick mud. I had SRAM and clinchers to contend with, which was quite a challenge. Never ridden SRAM before. Lots of “which way did I just shift?” going on in my head. I ended up 29th, worst placing ever, but I didn’t quit (never will), I actually passed a couple guys, and I didn’t suffer the worst humiliation ever, getting passed by the leader. Not a bad race….
Rocking the Marin bike in the mud
The rest of CX Nation struggled a bit too. Brij ended up 20th in his race, the 45+ A’s, Sage was off his usual pace and ended up 9th. Kristin was the most consistent and finished 6th in the Elite women’s – one step off the podium. The next day I heard brought some better course conditions and Miles got 9th in the B’s. I forgot the mention that the promoter had a two day event where each category had the course all to themselves. So some raced on Saturday and some on Sunday. Not a bad idea….
Brij going for the running pass on Cesar Chavez
Kristin through the mud as the storm pushed out to clear skies
The only two guys I lead all day
Sage pushing on….
Miles on Day 2 with some “hero” conditions