It was disappointing to lose Golden Gate Park from the series this year for sure. A lot of my friends who don’t go to races usually come out to heckle for this one, and….you know, it’s Golden Gate Park! The race was instead held at Candlestick (again) but the organizers definitely did their best to make it interesting, and interesting it was. There was a run-up with sharp edged rocks in it, a long gravel backstretch, four barriers in a row (watching Cameron bunnyhop them blew my mind), and they brought out the “fly-over”, which kinda scared me.
I pre-rode the course with the boys from the team. Jon B was looking tough on the bike and we threatened to beat each other.
The course was super tacky and my new Limus tires were hooking up like velcro, so I was feeling fairly confident in most of the corners for once. I didn’t get a call up and started back a bit so I used my roadie powers to pass as many people as I could on the first long road section. The more laps I did, the more confident I got. I quit using my brakes so much and settled in to a epic back-and-forth battle with Kevin White of Godspeed. It’s funny how different you ride the first lap compared to the last.
I made myself suffer a bit but still had an absolute blast. Really liked the course.
Last weekends Santa Rosa race was a forgettable day for me. Unreal sticky mud+ one speed + no legs = big fat DNF. These experiences are interesting, for me a DNF doesn’t leave a warm fuzzy feeling for the coming weeks recollection. It is a lesson in sucking it up, looking ahead and keeping perspective.
Today I can’t say I was all fired up for the race, the course was sweet and tacky, to my liking for sure, but I wasn’t riding real clean in warm up and the aforementioned lack of fire was hovering, possible hangover from the disappointment of Santa Rosa. Got a good start and promptly stuffed my bars into a bush, sloppy riding. Again, interesting situation, cross is so damn hard and borderline unpleasant that the little voice was saying “quit”, I knew I would kick myself all week for bailing, so I straightened my bars atop the bridge thing and buried myself. Chased back up to Derek, where I had been before my attack on the earth and promptly tried to ride everyone off my wheel. Didn’t work, felt damn good to have done the work and not quit. Lost Derek and another guy with two to go, super gassed then pulled it together on the last lap and floored it again trying to bridge, no luck. Ended up 14th or so. Lesson of the day was never give up, which we all know but it never hurts to have it driven throughout my thick head again. Shout outs to Jon B for really stepping up the grovelling, looked good and got a guy at the end and Travis for using his Roadie super powers and riding top 20 or damn close.
I heard about the Appetite Seminar ride years ago from Joel Metz, and always wanted to try it. Every Thanksgiving since 1975 people gather in Fairfax for “20 Tough X-Country miles” on Mt. Tam. My interest was further piqued this year after reading some of Charlie Kelly’s folklore and an especially funny and dismal ride review from 1979. After expressing interest, Cameron offered me one of his mountain bikes and accompaniment, so I had no excuse. I haven’t ridden mountain bikes in about 10 years, so why not start back up by chasing a guy with 5 DFL trophies at his house across Pine Ridge?
I hopped in the car, cranked up some brutal Black Metal and headed to Fairfax.
Cameron’s bikes seem to fit me perfectly, and with a quick pedal swap, we were on our way. Kathleen met us at the ride start, and we headed up Bolinas. I’m not sure how many people did this ride, as it’s so spread out….150? The weather was cold, but warming up fast, with lots of sunshine.
We hit some mud pretty quick. Whoa, how do you ride this stuff….uphill?
I was having fun on the climbs. My mind was blown. This was also my first time riding a 29er, and I was like…”How are we riding up this stuff, this is crazy?!” I was having so much fun. This was a very important day for me as it marked the 1 year anniversary of me crashing on my bike so hard that I broke the head off my femur. My doctor told me a patient of his with a similar injury was still on a cane 3 years later, so I was stoked to spend my anniversary bombing trails on a mountain bike. Yes!
Cameron is a total ripper and a true friend.
The mud really packed onto the bikes. The stream crossings were of no help. Under all this mud is a Campy road front derailleur controlled by a Suntour friction shifter. It shifted super good!
What a great ride, highly recommended. Three slices of pie please!
I made it to the east coast to race my first UCI cyclocross race (Cycle Smart International) on Saturday 11/3/12. They pride themselves in being the longest running cx race in the US. On friday afternoon I made it out to pre ride the course before it got dark. I was amazed with the amount of racers that were out there doing the same. Everyone was super friendly and talkative. When Saturday morning came around the nerves started to set in. Since I have no UCI points, I had to draw a number that would be my start position for that day. I picked #60 out of about 80+ racers. I stuck to my same warm up and it was very helpful to have Cyclops trainers there with a tent and about 20 trainers for anyone to use prior to their race. Lining up, the UCI checks you in and then measured both tires to make sure they were 33mm or less.
The top 20 pros were the best around. Jeremy Powers was there with his national stripes jersey and behind me was past champ Mark McCormack. Being in the second to last row was tough, but atleast there was no pressure. When the whistle blew, Mark McCormack flew by my and I knew this was going to be serious. I finally got in a small group towards the rear of the field and kept it as smooth as possible. There were two run ups and one of them was really steep and loose. I was falling back during each run up but fought back on to our group right after.
My goal was to not get lapped. Our group was one of the last riders to not get lapped. I finished up in 54th place, about 7:30 mins off Jeremy Powers and the main group. The scene out here is incredible and they have over 1,400 racers for the weekend event. The Cat 3 field is full at 150 racers. Everyone kept asking about my Fresh Air Hunter kit and the team. That was awesome!!
Today they are changing up the course a little. I hope I get a better number today!!