As promised in that other thread, a report on my latest collegiate race. Next week: Conference Championships at Bogg's.
This weekend Berkeley hosted a collegiate race weekend at the BIlly Cross course near Lake Sonoma. If you've raced it before, it's fast, twisty, and fairly smooth single track. When it's dry...
I drove up to Cupertino from SLO on Friday, and after a my first night's sleep in my old bed in a while, three teammates and myself piled into the super-battle-cruiser minivan race vehicle at 6:30am. The weather was great through SF, but as we approached Santa Rosa the rain started. Uh oh.
8:45 arrival at Lake Sonoma... hmm, light rain, really just a mist. This is good. I headed off on a warmup lap with Blake (one of my teammates). The course started with a quarter mile paved climb, then dove into a downhill singletrack for a 1.5 mile descent. It was slick and muddy. Fortunately not Fremont Older status clay, but it was sketchy. At the bottom of the descent there was another 2ish miles of rolling twisty singletrack, and then the lap finish with a mile or so climb and 80 yards of unridably muddy steep fireroad. Cyclocross time!
I started well, fourth wheel, but halfway down the initial descent a huge stick lodged itself in my rear wheel. I had to stop for thirty seconds or so and fish it out. It didn't take long, but it was long enough to loose contact with the lead group. I found myself in about 8th, and took off in chase.
I found that I was loosing time on the descents--I don't have any problem ripping high speed, rocky, or narrow trails, but I don't really like iffy traction (My worst nightmare is probably an off-camber turn that is both muddy and sandy). That said, I pushed it fairly hard and really hammered the uphills for the next two of four half-hour laps. At the finishing hike-a-bike, I shouldered my bike and charged the hill CX style, gaining precious seconds on the leaders.
Half way through the race I caught the leaders, Stanford race winner Cody Deane (UNR), and my teammate Matt Goebbel. I was surprised at how fast I passed them on the paved uphill section, but as soon as we hit the downhill I discovered why they had held me off so long. Matt blew by me and Cody clung to my wheel for the descent, and I only dropped him as I charge up after Matt on the first climb. I passed Matt, and encouraged him to gap third place with me.
For the last lap and a half Matt and I traded off the lead between ascents and descents. Because of all the mud, chainsuck commenced and between the two of us we probably didn't even have 9 usable gears, but everyone was in the same position so it was just a matter of not ripping the rear derailleur off, which nearly happened to me a few times. I focused on pedaling smoothly so as not to destroy my bike. As expected, the final mile climb proved to be the decider and I came out on top, sprinting up the muddy hill CX style with the B's and C's (who finished earlier) cheering me on. Matt finished 50 seconds or so back, and Cody another minute or two.
My bike was trashed from the mud, so I cleaned it and myself off as best as possible and retreated to the warmth of the super battle cruiser. An hour later I was so chilled that I made the call to skip the super D in favor of warmth. Such a wimp I am!
The next day was a fun shorttrack around the parking area, and only 45 seconds per lap with a small descent/turn and another climb. I blasted off from the start, and nearly lapped the whole field (of 10) twice. Cool!
Notable happenings this weekend:
Second in the A's shorttrack was Parkfield DH winner Jeff Weed (bikerweed on mtbr, I think), on a rigid SS! He also won the B's XC on Saturday, also on the SS.
Also, some guy named Max showed up from Berkeley. I wondered why he was wearing a US national team kit, and later found out that he is the current u23 National Road Race Champion. I beat him by 8 minutes in XC and lapped him in short track. Serves him right for warming up in his spiffy team kit, trying to psych me out! roadies...
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