Three San Jose riders take home the gold!
Antonio Ricalde, Expert 30-34
Carlos Torres, Sport 30-34
Richard Jacinto, Sport 45-49
This was my first visit to Arcata. What a great town. Rhonda, RJ the golden retriever, and I arrived Friday afternoon, setup kamp (sic) at the KOA, and went to the Arcata Community Forest for a practice lap. The forest is right above the town, bordered by homes and Humboldt State. I rode all but the last bit of singletrack as locals had messed with the course markings, resulting in some backtracking. The course was in great shape and encompassed two new singletrack trails, including one that might have been weedwacked just last week, as it was hardly worn.
We went into town afterwards to meet Lemurian Guy and his wife for dinner at Humboldt Brews. I couldn't find it, so I asked some locals who told me it no longer existed. We were late anyway and I didn't have Ron's cell, so we looked around the town square for eats. We checked out a couple of Italian places, but finally settled on the Brio Cafe. It started as a retail and wholesale bakery and recently began serving a limited dinner menu. It was too cool to sit outside to enjoy the live music they provided, so we took a table inside. Rhonda and I started with french onion soup and an heirloom tomato salad, respectively, and shared our main courses of chicken pot pie and mediterranean chicken. She had a local meritage wine and I throughly enjoyed a Summer Solstice from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. It even went well with the chocolate dessert.
Antonio and Carlos also stayed at the KOA and we spoke briefly with them Saturday morning before breaking kamp. I warmed up on the final singletrack section and waited for the start. We ran into Ron, who also was unaware of Humboldt Brew's demise, and found out he was dining at one of the Italian restaurants.
Vic (race empresario) led the mass start to the first climb, a 1 mile, 500' rise. I was worried that the bunch up at the climb's start would lead to carnage. Fortunately, the trail was wide enough for the riders to easily sort themselves out. Not much mano a mano action, as most of the field dropped me during the climb. I finally passed someone in Mike's Bikes kit at the start of the second lap and maintained my distance until the start of the final fireroad section behind the homes. He got within 10 seconds of closing the gap until I started moving away. I knew there was a reason for saving myself the first lap. The singletrack section after crossing the road past the final gate doesn't flow, as they're more like as series of bike length half pipes with lots of turns and trees. It puts a premium on power, as you can easily stall on that momentum robbing section. If they didn't design it that way, long travel bikes would have doubles and triples to clear. I think Vic referred to the little loop past the buildings as "two minute warning." It's even more momentum zapping than the previous section, with 8% descents followed by a 90° off camber turn, ending with a short 15°+ climb. Rinse and repeat, exit the section and onto the finish.
Awards went smoothly as did the raffle. Not a winner, even though I received one ticket for racing and another three for winning. I must have used up all my raffle winning karma at Bigfoot.
Thanks again to Vic for another great event. Only one more race, the Lagrange Fall Classic. It's also the CA XC Championship race. Hopefully, the SoCal racers will show even though their series ended months ago.
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