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  1. #1
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    Bay Area XC races

    I'd like to try out an XC race in 2019, and looking for suggestions about which race to wet my feet.

    I've never raced before, and am not trying to get on any podiums. Looking for a 'fun' course, with some tasty singletrack, not too much fireroad slog, and a good atmosphere where people don't take themselves too seriously. i haven't found much in the bay area proper, but the local-ish races that sound most appealing to me are the Old Cabin classic, Motherload Epic, and the Carson city off-road.

    i'd love to hear thoughts on these races, others that should be on my list, and any general advice for an XC newb. TIA

  2. #2
    J-Flo
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    The closest races are TBF series at Granite Bay and CCCX at Ft Ord and Toro Park. Both are pretty chill for beginners and hold up well in the wet weather - they start in January. The Ft Ord course is flat and easy; Granite Bay is a bit more fun but still an easy course. I havenít raced Toro Park. The Sport/Cat 2 categories tend to attract the ones who take themselves too seriously. Go beginner for your first race until you learn how to be safe in a crowd. The beginners are just there to have fun. These are inexpensive races that donít have huge crowds, though a lot of fast kids are showing up at these now.

    Bikemonkey races are generally excellent and very well organized with a fun scene and included tasty meal afterwards. Annadel had to be cancelled this year but hopefully will be back next year. I highly recommend the Sonomas race which will be held in April -- super difficult, super fun, 90% single track on a gigantic loop that hardly anyone rides because it is so remote. Wente is also very popular but sells out quickly.

    I raced Carson City Off-Road this year and had a blast but thatís a big deal, full weekend experience. The 50-mile (actually it was 54 miles) course is easier than it sounds. If you are willing to go that far, also check out the Shasta Lemurian which Iíve heard is terrific. And then there is Downieville XC, which is in its a high category of difficulty right next to Sonomas but also a full-weekend experience. Downieville is a point-to-point race so there is no possibility of getting lapped; the only people behind you are slower than you. I need to get out to the Sierras more.

    Sea Otter is by far the biggest race around here. Just you and 1,500 other MTBers. The course kind of sucks but I do it anyway for fun and because Iím already there for the festival.

    Iím not fast but enjoy racing a lot. The closed course, support, and ability to challenge myself and channel my inner kid make it a lot of fun.


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  3. #3
    jms
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    A couple more

    Here's a couple more:

    The Big Sandy | Saturday, April 7, 2018 Great course

    https://ybonc.org/events/dirt-classic/

    Humbug Hurry Up ‚ÄĒ Jefferson Mountain Bike Association Around a LONG time.

    https://mendocc.org/caspar-classic-2018/
    Another long time race with a great course

    And this is what I hope to do next year [if you've ridden the trail, you understand]
    https://www.thegreatumpqua.com/event/nutcracker-race/
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  4. #4
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    CCCX at Ord. Very fast course with no extended climbs.

  5. #5
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    Hard Coe're 100 (with 60 mile and 40 mile versions) at Coe. Very slow course with many extended climbs.


    hey, at least it's close... The Hard COEre 100 - home

  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    We generally have a Bay Area contingent at the CA Dirt MTB Series (formerly Nevada City Dirt Classic). Friendly welcoming vibe, solid XC courses--this would be a good place to start or progress in 2019.

    https://www.facebook.com/CaliforniaD...ICp3BZsMqZ47DA

    https://ybonc.org/events/dirt-classic/

  8. #8
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    Does anyone feel sea otter is a bit longer than normal xc race for beginners? My first race was 6 miles. Little of everything and just uner an hour. I was able to hammer the whole race out.

  9. #9
    J-Flo
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    I wouldn't recommend Sea Otter for anyone's first race. Too many people, too much traffic, too many sandbaggers and people of questionable skill, and the fire road descents are dangerous (plus, they suck). And the course is one big loop. I've been riding Cat 2 for a few years, but last year they extended the beginner course to the same as the Cat 2 loop (I don't remember but it was something like 18 miles in one loop, so there are no bail-out points and yes, it is a bit long for a beginner race).

  10. #10
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    Well if you want to race this weekend there is the Rockville Rockhopper in Vacaville

    Monticello Cycling Club ‚Äď A hub for Solano County cyclist

  11. #11
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    If you don't mind driving north, take a look at the LaGrange Classic or the Shasta Lemurian.

  12. #12
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    Two XC Races this weekend (sept. 15-16th) at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park.

    Chico State MTB Races @ Mt Shasta Ski Park Sept 15-16th 2018 XC, DS, DH, ST

    Smaller race with great atmosphere and not a ton of racers. Plus lift service for after the races to hone your downhill skills.

    good luck and have fun,

    -Mike

  13. #13
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    Awesome, thanks for the responses! Looks like there's a lot of good options. Now to convince the wife/kids that a long weekend trip is a good idea. . .

    To clarify, long rides with a lot of elevation don't worry me, as long as the scenery and trails are nice and/or shaded. 5k ft at UC = fun, while 3k feet at Sierra Azul = not fun.

  14. #14
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    They need to resurrect Tamarancho and Napa Valley Dirt Classic races. These were two of the best for fun singletrack. Right now, I think the best ones in this category are the Nevada City Dirt Classic series, and Annadel (which will return next year). Old Cabin Classic is also quite good. Motherlode epic doesn't have a ton of great singletrack, but it is a fantastic truly epic day of racing, with a great atmosphere, and beer and food at the end, so you should definitely try it next year. Avoid Sea Otter XC at all costs if you want a fun course. Downieville has by far and away the best descent of any N.Cal race, nothing even comes close, but you said you want to avoid fireroad slogs, and DV has the mother of all fireroad slogs to get to that descent. SoNoMas....another epic race, but not one with a lot of great singletrack, definitely more of a slog-fest. Wente is a great event with some good singletrack and a really good atmosphere. It's an 8 hour race, so maybe try that one as a team with one or two others.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by expatrider View Post
    Wente is a great event with some good singletrack and a really good atmosphere. It's an 8 hour race, so maybe try that one as a team with one or two others.
    I don't live in NorCal anymore but Wente is awesome. Definitely grab some buddies and do it as a team and rotate laps. Just make sure to bring in food and water!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Flo View Post
    I wouldn't recommend Sea Otter for anyone's first race. Too many people, too much traffic, too many sandbaggers and people of questionable skill, and the fire road descents are dangerous (plus, they suck). And the course is one big loop. I've been riding Cat 2 for a few years, but last year they extended the beginner course to the same as the Cat 2 loop (I don't remember but it was something like 18 miles in one loop, so there are no bail-out points and yes, it is a bit long for a beginner race).

    Anybody else ever wonder if Sea Otter is run by people who have never raced a bike or had a bike stolen?

  17. #17
    jms
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  18. #18
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    UC Santa Cruz puts on a collegiate race with open categories in November. It's a great time, and the course is beginner friendly.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyf View Post
    UC Santa Cruz puts on a collegiate race with open categories in November. It's a great time, and the course is beginner friendly.
    Wow, thatís great. I couldnít find any details about this. Do you know when it is happening or how to find out? Thanks.


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  20. #20
    Hella Olde
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    XC racers and Chill? Unusual combo.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjj1066 View Post
    Wow, thatís great. I couldnít find any details about this. Do you know when it is happening or how to find out? Thanks.


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    See schedule for the date. When the event gets closer check back on this website for the flyer with more details. Western Collegiate Cycling Conference

    I'm pretty sure all the collegiate events have open categories too. I've been to a few and they are fun.

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