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.

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