Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sac CX #6: Men's A Video

Sorry this took so long, but here is part 1 of my video masterpiece from last weekend's cyclocross race:

This is the Men's A race. Sorry for the poor quality, but I took this with my cameras video option.

Look for the Women's video tomorrow. This should be better as I filmed it with an actual DV camera.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sac CX #6: Negro Bar

After several weeks on the road, I finally got a home game as the Sacramento Cyclocross series came back to Folsom this weekend. Sac CX #5 was held in Negro Bar (just north of the rainbow bridge) on the American River. With it being pretty close to home, I got there in time to do a quick pre-ride lap.
Although the morning started off cold, the weather was pretty close to perfect again this week. And the course was much more to my liking: a few climbs, sweeping turns and longer laps. I forgot my GPS unit this week, so I won't have distance or maps unless I ride the course again tomorrow. However, I think the course had about 8 minute / 1.5 mile laps. Being Folsom, the course consisted about 87% of loose gravel over hardpack, 5% sandy, 5% pavement and a little bit of grass. We had three short but steep climbs, one stair run-up and a barrier grouping of about five logs. The course was in great condition - clearly marked, lots of race marshals keeping people off the route and well designed.

The course basically went: pavement start, hard right on sketchy gravel, hard left going down deep gravel section to sand 180 degree turn. Steep hill with hard left at top. Down and off camber left turn onto grassy section. 180 degree turn then up short rise to stair run-up. Pavement section to steep singletrack climb. Singletrack back through woods then floating right back down onto pavement. Another 180 turn to grass section, then hard left to five log dismount. Up and down to 90 degree turn on deep gravel into the horse corral, flat section to 180 degree turn again. Flat section to hard left, then pavement to finish line. Repeat until bell lap.

I felt I rode a good race. Although I finished midpack at best, I rode strong towards the end of the race (passing a few people toward the finish) and had no major mishaps. Unfortunately, I kinda struggled on the first and second lap before getting my rhythm, which meant the I was well back of the leaders most of the race. I also had a lot of trouble in the deep gravel and sand, often having to dab to keep the rubber underneath me. While this hurt me on the first half of the course, after the run-up I made up a lot of ground. The hillclimb and singletrack helped me greatly and I caught more than one person on the corral flats. I think I did five or six laps. Not my best performance, but still pretty strong for me.

I ran my usual setup (Scott Team with Ritchey Speedmax at 55ish PSI). I should gone down even more on tire pressure -- I think it would have helped in the deep stuff. This was another race that hurt people on mountain bikes. They just couldn't keep up on the flat sections in the corral.

Post race beer: Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale. Hoppy, spicy, oaky. Different and quite good. And they sponsor a MTB race. 4/5 stars.

I'll be posting more photos Sunday night along with the video that I took.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sac CX #5: Rancho Seco

Okay, after the two week break (My dog was sick last week and the Bay Area Super Prestige was two weeks ago), I got my lazy ass out of bed and drove south to Herald, CA for Sacramento Cyclocross #5 at Rancho Seco Park. And for once, I actually arrived on time and got to do some pre-riding of the course.

Beer league was up first on the schedule and the weather was perfect. The course was very different from the other races: very short, very grassy (more on that later) and very technical (16 turns?). The laps measured just 0.65 miles with almost no climbing (30'/lap). It was basically 85% grass, a little pavement (10%) and one stretch of sand (which was actually pretty easy). We had two (or maybe three) barriers, a little higher than normal, along with a step up out of the sand. What was really difficult was the sharp turns on the wet grass. The course started out is good condition, but started to get muddy after the first lap. I didn't see the Men's "A" race but I imagine that the course might have gotten sketchy.

I had a pretty mediocre race. After the initial jumble of riders (which lasted several turns due to the many sharp corners), I ended up in the middle of the trailing pack. I made pretty steady progress throughout the race and by the end of the 7th lap, I was within striking distance of the lead guy in our trailing pack. Unfortunately, I almost missed a turn and lost a few seconds which let him get clean away. I finished on the lead lap (9 laps total) but somewhere around 12th place (out of probably 20ish). Considering the course didn't really cater to my skills (in fact, the technical nature, flatness and short length really hurt me), I think my race went well.

I ran my usual setup (CX bike with Ritchey Speedmax at 60ish PSI). I could definately have used better mud tires -- people on mountain bikes really had a good advantage on this course.

Post race beer: Farmhouse Hayloft Pils. Got it on sale at BevMo. Not a bad beer, a little light for my tastes. Brewed in Gilroy, CA. 3/5 Stars.