As I was driving to this race I realized that this would be the 4th night race that I had done this season! It used to be a cool little anomaly…night racing in cross. Typically not the first choice of promoters and racers due to logistics (see lights) and weather (yes it’s cold). However, promoters are constantly looking for new ways to bring new people into the sport and get the ones they have coming back for more.
Sacramento threw down their first cross race at night this season. They have been doing Rodeo cross at night for years, but this was a first for the Sac series. It was held at the Sacramento Speedway, which I didn’t even know existed. I decided to register for the 45+ A’s, which I now qualify for. The past couple races the 45’s have had more people than the 35’s. We have been racing with 4 to 5 people in the 35’s and there have been at least 15 in the 45’s. Well I am not sure what happened but that was flip flopped this race. There were 4 guys in my group. Booo…. Oh well, Sage was in the 35’s with about 8-10 guys. So we are dividing and conquering.
Sage at the start
We started our 60 minute race with the light tree used for the drag racers. Nice touch. Then we proceeded to do the longest paved start in the history of cyclocross. I think we did the whole 1.5 miles before turning off the pavement. We immediately went into the Gheto CX heckling/party section. They entertained all night and it was really motivating charging through their pumping sound system. The course was well lite except for a few spots. There was a deeply rutted left turn and I hit it hard on the first lap. My front wheel hit something and then I was stopped. I thought I flatted or broke something. Turns out my tubular had just rolled off a little. I was very surprised, considering I have never had this happen before.
The rest of the 45’s passed me as I fiddled with the tire. I got it back on and decided to keep riding on it. I had a spare bike, but was unsure I wanted to pit. After passing the rest of the group in the next couple laps I decided to grab the Rock Lobster. It is always an interesting switch when you have your main bike with disc brakes and the back up with cantis. It takes a little of getting used to, especially when braking into turns. You really have to brake a lot earlier with the cantis. After a couple laps I was dialed and felt like I was in a great rhythm. I started picking off people in the 35’s, single speeds and A’s.
They built a ramp over the K-rail
Through the heckle section – there was some mud out there
Conditions were pretty muddy, but it was mostly slick rather than “stick to the bike” mud. The course was a pretty good mix of turns, small rollers, a steep run (nothing like Jingle Cross) and slippery mud. It was quite good. Both Sage and I managed to take home the wins. I think I might try out the 45’s next season and try to win the series. And that was it for me with NorCal racing this season. Amazing to think we were racing in 100 degree temps in Sacramento just a few months ago. Another great season for NorCal cycling and CX Nation.
Sage on the podium
My podium – bottle of wine for the wifey