Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sac CX #2: Vacaville

This morning was the second race in the 2006 Sacramento Cyclocross series. Hosted by the Monticello Cycling Club at Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville, California, the weather was perfect for the C league race (but I wouldn't have wanted to be racing after noon in the A league). Registration for the race was a little bit more of an adventure than last week, and overall the atmosphere was definately low key.

The 1.41 mile (130 feet climbing) course was really two separate courses: the fast, flat path and the sketchy climb/descend MTB section. If you are looking at the satellite picture below (courtesy of Google Earth and Motionbased), the right side (south) is the flat path and the left side (north) is the MTB section. The races went counter clockwise, starting midpoint on the path closest to the lake.

We started on the flat section taking a few turns over sometimes loose but predictable doubletrack dirt. There were multiple turns and one dismount obstacle (with the barriers really close together). The second section started with a big climb out of the saddle (90' or so), followed by a harrowing downhill with a hard right bottom turn, then a hard left gulley descent, a short run up and a steep but rideable down and up gulley.

I had a pretty good race, with no major mishaps. We began with a normal start (after our military drill sergant UCSF official did a roll call). The field of 31 racers made from a crowded start but everything quickly thinned out by the first barriers and then really spread at the hill climb. I started towards the back of the lead peloton and was doing pretty well until my downhill. The rest of the peloton took off with abandon while I slid into the riot fencing at the bottom hard right. I got right back on and only slide out once more (sorry race official on the gulley turn !). I made my time back up on the climbs and eventually moved into a netherland between the leaders and the rest of the group. By the time I had completed my third lap, the drill sargant was signalling bell lap, so I kicked it up a notch and passed one last rider.

In the unofficial results, I scored a 8th place finish. However, that was somewhat tainted by the fact that the second place finisher was DQ by the race official due to "outside support." The starter had said that there was no resupplying or free lap before the start, but I think the racer didn't hear. I thought a time or lap penalty would have been more appropriate as this was beer league . . . Overall, we had a high DNF rate - it looks like only 23 of the initial 31 racers finished.I ran my usual equipment today with the substitution of slimed innertubes for my usual racing tubes. I drive by this course commuting into the Bay Area and presumed that goat heads would be prevalent. I was correct. However, I wished I had changed out my tires (Ritchey SpeedMax Comps again). Although they worked well for the straight aways, it was a little dicey on the loose corners and downright dangerous on the downhills. Thinking about investing in some Maxxis tires.

Full results have been posted over at Sacramento Cyclocross. They also have the "A" league coverage. Some good photos from SinglespeedGuy on Flickr too.

Post race beer: Warsteiner. Yes, life is too short to drink cheap beer. Another 4/5 stars.

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