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.
I woke up Sunday to a cold, foggy morning and thought that we finally are getting some proper cross weather! Too bad Santa Rosa didn’t get the memo and the fog burned off before noon. Oh well! Bike Monkey did a great job setting up the course and I was excited to have my parents there watching.
The course was on a bumpy field that required you to shift up a gear or two to keep from spinning too much to keep the power consistent. Lots of tape to tape turns, long straights, some sand, quick barrier section, fun off-camber area, and start/finish on the concrete. After a couple warm up laps with teammates and advice from Tom after his race, I felt ready to suffer for 60 minutes.
We lined up and even though I was on the 2nd row, I got swallowed at the start and got into a bit of traffic (note to self- work on starts this week). I could see the lead group in the distance and the chase group not far behind them, but there was a solid gap between my position and them. I settled in behind some guys and told myself to look for opportunities to pass them so I could try grab a wheel in the chase group.
I’ve been doing a lot more cx specific workouts during the week (thanks Coach Caroline!) and I felt them working as soon as I stepped on it to pass people. My legs were there and I felt the best I’ve felt all season. After a couple laps, I had moved up a handful of spots and could see my teammate Cameron about 100ft ahead of me. Seeing him gave me extra motivation and I dug as deep as I could to try to catch his wheel.
We played a bit of a cat & mouse game for the last 5 laps or so, me chasing him and him putting the hurt on me! Whenever I would get close to him, he would say “C’mon Brad, come catch me!” Then he would step on the gas! It was rad, I had a lot of fun trying to hang onto his wheel. He opened it up on the last lap and I didn’t have much left, so I tried to pushed it but he got a good gap on me. I finished 10th, my best finish so far in the A’s. I learned a lot from the race and am really looking forward to the next one.
When are you going to teach a bunny hopping clinic Cam? I want in on that action!
Leah and I made the drive up to Truckee with our better halves in tow to check out the Sagebrush CX scene in the Reno/Tahoe area.
It was a refreshing 35 degrees at 7:30am on Sunday before the race, but warmed up to about 60 by the time we started at 10:30. This was my first race in the new kit and my first time ever wearing a skinsuit. I gotta say it, skinsuits rule! So comfortable and you feel super fly. I’m going to call it now, in 50 years we’re going to be wearing them as our daily attire. I digress…
The course went through the BMX track! In warm ups, Leah and I cruised it a couple times and I channeled the skills I learned at the Bonny Dune Pump Track course at the Hunter Compound. There were banked turns, pump bumps, and real deal table tops! It was awesome. I made a mental note to try to not get too rad during the race, because we all know how that would turn out. There was one climb in the dirt, some long grass sections, sketch single track descent with a 180 hairpin turn at the bottom, and a long stair run up on the course too.
Since this was a USAC race, I raced at my current Cat 4 Level in hopes of getting some points to move up. I was in the right place at the right time and somehow ended up on the front row of the start grid and figured I should take advantage of that. At the sound of the whistle I went for it and took the hole shot around the first corner and into the BMX area. I knew that would be important since there were a couple points early on in the course where it would bottleneck. I held the lead through the track and into the first climb where I opened up to try to put a gap on the field.
At this point, I realize I’m in the lead and started to get a little nervous. I washed out in a loose turn and while I picked myself up, I took a deep breath and said, “stay cool dude, you got this!” I got back on and was able to hold the lead down the next section. The rest of the race went really smoothly, I had a blast riding the BMX section each time (see video below), and felt pretty strong even in the altitude. I finished first and now only need 2 more points to move to cat 3. I want to try to do some of the bigger races later this year and next year, so having a higher ranking will be help me do that.
Shout out to Leah for finishing 5th in a really strong Women’s field! She rode the BMX track like a champ and used her shredder skills on the descents to fight off her competitors.
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.