Bay Area based cyclocross squad representing Fresh Air Bicycles in San Francisco and Hunter Cycles from the mountains of Santa Cruz County.
Besides our title sponsors, we are fortunate enough to have the support of some fantastic folks: San Francisco based companies like De La Paz Coffee Roasters and Una Pizza Napoletana, in addition to Thunderbird Energetica & EpicBar, Vans, Pacenti, Sim-Works and Paul Components.
See you in the dirt.
Cameron and I caught a ride with Andrew from the Vive La Tarte/Cykel team in their cream and orange team Vanagon. I guess it felt a bit more authentic heading to a cross race through some farmland in a noisy, slow, and cold VW van. Rumor was that we’d be racing at a nudist resort, so I was curious to see what lie ahead.
Sure enough, when we pulled in, it was a pretty nice venue with real bathrooms, showers, and a little lake, in the middle of nowhere outside Sacramento. There were only a couple of naked guys hanging around, one of whom was paddling around on a little raft in the lake. A quick pre-ride of the course confirmed it to be “boring” by comparison to Surf City or NCCX standards, but nevertheless fun because it was such a flat grass crit where you had to pedal the entire time (no technical spots or downhills to recover during), very grippy grass corners, a sweet little off-camber section, and a mini hay-maze. It was nice and sunny enough to wear just shorts and a jersey.
The Sacramento Gheto Cross crew set up quite a party tent zone on the backstretch of the course, with AstroTurf, a DJ, two bullhorns, a chicken lady, Santa, and LOTS of beer.
The A’s race was cooking! I hung on to the main group through the first lap, thinking “Cameron’s right there!”. I may have been hallucinating, but I swore I saw Cody Kaiser bunnyhop the preeeetty tall barriers. As the laps progressed, things got strung out, and I found myself dangling behind the second little group, then in a bit of a no-man’s land battling it out with some guy named Sam. I knew his name was Sam because every time we rode by people, they would yell, “Go Sam!”. I was thinking “I’m coming for you Sam!”, “You’re fading Sam!” and other silly stuff. I passed him and got a good gap, but he came back, passed me back, and finally got a bit of a gap on me. Waaaiit for meeee Saaaam!
One of the obstacles was Santa riding the course slow and downing beers. He got in my way both times I lapped him. At one point I stuffed him in a corner and heard him mumble something about “…..coal in your stocking…”. The Gheto Cross tent was raging and it was pretty intense going by every lap with a bunch of people screaming and 3 people shoving beers in your face at once. Pretty fun atmosphere!
Ryan Rinn came up and joined me from the single speed race that started behind us, and it was fun riding with him for a little while for once. He was in 2nd place in his race, and the gap to 3rd looked huge, so when I attacked him, he let me go and started taking beer handups.
I finished 16th, and it would be awhile before the naked race, so we decided to bounce. We stopped at Phil Mooney’s secret taco spot in Davis, and the long (slow) drive home yet again turned a one hour race into an all day affair.
The Sacramento races may be flat and grassy, but they have a really good vibe, are seamlessly organized, with timing chips and prompt results, and a progressively more entertaining party scene. I definitely look forward to hitting a few again next year. Next up: Central Coast, Toro Park…..
This was my first double header weekend and I think I was equal parts nervous and excited about it going into it Saturday morning.
Sierra Point at night is the most fun race all year because you’re under the lights and there are 10x more people there cheering/heckling. The course was really fast and dusty with a small mud patch and another small sand patch. Nick described the course best (see below!).
I got a 2nd row call up in the B’s based on the last BASP race result and it made all the difference. It was pretty intimidating to look back at the 80+ person field behind me…Got a good jump off the line and tried to hang with the lead group as best I could.
The first half of the race was spent chasing the chase group. I was able to make contact and slowly move past riders 1 at a time. The Hunter bike was doing it’s job, huntin dudes down! (bad joke?) Back to it, I ended up being about 20-30 seconds behind a rider in a polkadot’ish jersy and spent the last 2 laps trying to catch him but no dice. I crossed the line in 6th and couldn’t be more stoked, my best BASP result!
Waking up on Sunday was a little rough and I was not sure if I would be able to race, let alone ride my bike with how sore my legs felt. Packed up the car and cruised out to the Kitten of Vallejo.
The course was completely different from the night before - grass climbs, off camber turns, big sand pit, run ups, baseball diamond loop, and even a jump! I rode a couple pre-laps, felt good, and set out to have fun out there with my teammates Tom and NIck.
I had a front row call up in the B’s and figured I might as well go for it! Got a good jump on the uphill start into the grass soul sucking climb in the holeshot. Somehow I’m smiling in the picture above, but trust me, I was hurting pushing it up that hill!
This was the first time that I have ever led a race and as nervous as that thought made me before, it was completely awesome. I wasn’t working on chasing anyone, just riding my own race. I made it through the majority of the first lap in the lead before a rider passed me, but I got him back on the grass switchbacks. Led the start of the second lap and decided to hit the jump as hard as I could (yolo!). My left foot unclipped when I landed and the chase group went by me. Oh well, it was worth it!
Photo by Caroline
I focused on trying to not make any mistakes, to ride smoothly (thanks Cam!), and keep the power going. The course was super fun, which made the laps go by quickly, and I was able to pass a couple of the riders who had gone by me earlier. I moved up to third place for the last lap and a half, but couldn’t catch #2 and Andrew from Viva La Tarte who won the race.
This was my first podium ever and I’m really happy about how the race went. Huge thanks to Travis and Rick, the team, all of our sponsors, race organizers, and all the riders. Cross is really fun!
Photo by Caroline
It’s been a long time since I’ve raced twice in one weekend, but it’s hard to pass up the opportunity when both races are relatively close to home.
The Sierra Point night race is not only one of the funnest races of the year, it’s also only a twenty-minute drive from San Francisco. The course is wide, mostly flat, bone dry, and not much of a technical challenge. However, there are a couple things that can make it tricky:
- It’s night (duh) and very dusty (duh), which makes the course details difficult to see. Not the end of the world, but it is much better to get a pre-ride in while it is still light out so you can feel out the good lines before darkness covers them up. But even if you do pre-ride the course…
- …small mistakes can add up to lots of lost time. Overshooting turns, getting caught on a dirty line, and bad gear selection can easily cost you a few placings by the end if they happen often enough. Death by a thousand cuts.
photo by JDR, thanks dude!
This was the first race of the year where I was got a good starting position and was actually able to capitalize on it. The first couple rows on the grid were reserved for call-ups, with the rest filled according to when you registered, and I ended up in the third row (I always pre-reg weeks in advance because I am paranoid.) This put me ahead of most of the traffic before the race even started, and I was able to cling on to the front(ish) group on the first few laps before things strung out and it became a drag race to the finish. The course was fun, the crowd was great, and all four teammates in the race were riding strong.
The Kitten of Vallejo was the following afternoon. This course was completely different from Sierra Point, with lots of elevation, power-sucking grass, and some particularly evil off-camber switchbacks that went up the side of a sandy hill. The field was small but motivated, and it took a few laps before my legs showed up again after the previous night’s thrashing. Murphy was also kind enough to tack on a few extra laps for us since we were the last race of the day. The Bs don’t usually get this kind of treat at other races, and I appreciate the opportunity to squeeze out a little more racing for my money. I’m definitely looking forward to what the SuperPro crew has in store for their series finale.