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.

 

Double Header (extra long) Report!

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!

imagePhoto from Pamela Palma

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.

imagePhoto from Nigel Walker

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!

imagePhoto 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!

-Brad

imagePhoto by Caroline

Double Race Weekend: Sierra Point & Kitten of Vallejo

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.

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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.

- Nick

This was my first time racing at Stafford Lake and despite the absence of the cesspool, I had a blast.
They replaced the pool with a new movable barrier section that was hard to tell if it was faster to ride or run, had to go with your gut each lap. Other than that, everyone said the course was very similar.
Heather, Nick, Tom, Jon, and Daryl swapped stories from last year and we talked about the best lines through the loose off-camber sections before the race. I got a good warm up in and felt ready for the late start of the B’s. 
I placed well at the last race and got the last spot on the front row, stoked. GO! Charged the start down the long fireroad, across the bridge, and around to the run up. I made it to the singletrack in about 8th place and started to chase the lead group as best I could (trying to use what I’ve been learning from #svenness).
My legs felt good and I was able to keep a pretty good pace throughout the race. Geoffrey from Chica Sexy and I had a good battle back and forth going throughout the race, he really helped keep the effort high and made the race a ton of fun. I got lucky and moved in front of him on the last lap at the run up and was able to hold on.
I crossed the line in 6th place, my best finish so far this year. Huge thanks to the team for all the support and good vibes at the race.
I also can’t say enough about how great my bike is riding - the Hunter frame is so fast and lightweight (thank you Rick!), Simworks stem/handlebars are the jam, Paul mini-motos are fantastic, and the Pacenti SL23 w/tubeless tires feel incredible.
-Brad
*Thank you Laurel for the photo!

This was my first time racing at Stafford Lake and despite the absence of the cesspool, I had a blast.

They replaced the pool with a new movable barrier section that was hard to tell if it was faster to ride or run, had to go with your gut each lap. Other than that, everyone said the course was very similar.

Heather, Nick, Tom, Jon, and Daryl swapped stories from last year and we talked about the best lines through the loose off-camber sections before the race. I got a good warm up in and felt ready for the late start of the B’s. 

I placed well at the last race and got the last spot on the front row, stoked. GO! Charged the start down the long fireroad, across the bridge, and around to the run up. I made it to the singletrack in about 8th place and started to chase the lead group as best I could (trying to use what I’ve been learning from #svenness).

My legs felt good and I was able to keep a pretty good pace throughout the race. Geoffrey from Chica Sexy and I had a good battle back and forth going throughout the race, he really helped keep the effort high and made the race a ton of fun. I got lucky and moved in front of him on the last lap at the run up and was able to hold on.

I crossed the line in 6th place, my best finish so far this year. Huge thanks to the team for all the support and good vibes at the race.

I also can’t say enough about how great my bike is riding - the Hunter frame is so fast and lightweight (thank you Rick!), Simworks stem/handlebars are the jam, Paul mini-motos are fantastic, and the Pacenti SL23 w/tubeless tires feel incredible.

-Brad

*Thank you Laurel for the photo!

Another Stafford Lake CX report

image

Not much to report actually, at least for me! I was in the wrong place at the right time during staging and ended up near the back of the grid, and then REALLY in the wrong place at the wrong time on the first lap when a rider tipped over in front of a group of us on the ride-up to the stairs. The few seconds we lost getting around the spontaneous roadblock was all the front half of the field needed to scoot up the hill and open a gap that few were able to bridge. I spent the rest of the race trying to find a my own groove and counting off laps.

The one thing that did go well was my core strength. Stafford Lake has always been hell on my back and midsection not only during the race but also for a day or two afterwards, thanks to all the gopher holes and rutted hardpack. I’ve been doing core exercises lately to prepare for the season, and Stafford proved that they worked! I felt more smoother over the rough stuff and was able to put power down in the last half noticeably better than in previous years.

It was great hanging out with Heather, Tom, Jon and Brad. The team vibe is always awesome, even when your race doesn’t go well. Stafford Lake also has great facilities, the park staff are nice, the community seems genuinely supportive of the racing scene, and it’s just a damn beautiful place to race at. I hope it stays active as a race venue for many years to come.

-Nick

pic by LCA