Race Report :: 2002 Surf City Cyclocross #2

Date: October 27, 2002
Event: Surf City Cyclocross #2
Category: Senior B
Place: 27th
Field: 70+
Team mates: Brett, Ron, Jeremy, Stephen, Mike
Support: Dennis, Funke, Matt

Oh the joy of Daylight Savings Time ending. Waking up at 6:30am and not being sure if it’s really 7:30am or possibly 5:30am. Wondering if the alarm clock was one of the many time pieces that was correctly set back. All good reasons to blow off the Masters race that would start at 10am. Or 9am or 11am or whenever. Might as well play it safe and just race the Senior B at 1:30pm. With that late a start there would be plenty of room for error. And, more time to sleep! :’)

Finally arose and then strolled down the hill for a cappuccino and bagel at Cafe Trieste. After mingling with the regulars, I headed back to the house, packed up the truck, and headed out to Watsonville. The night before I had burned a music CD with a nice pre-race selection. Popped that into the stereo and let the music settle into my head on the drive down.

As the CD finished its last track I was pulling into the fairgrounds. Ahead I could see cones lining the course and racers following their path. I quickly noticed the course was much different than last year’s. After registering, I walked around parts of the course to see the layout and changes. It was longer and followed a different route. It still had some of the same sections, but they were run in the opposite direction. I could also see there were a couple of long flat sections that really called for a CX bike. Oh well, I guess I would simply have to pedal my mt. bike a little faster.

After watching the Women’s race and then part of the Senior A’s, I started getting my gear ready. This included getting my video gear ready since I would be filming my own race. I mounted the helmetcam but this time pointed it backwards. After a few minutes of testing and adjusting, I got the angle correct. My plan would be to race and film the first two laps and then hand off the equipment to a teammate who would be waiting with my other helmet.

The start time approached and the Senior B’s were called to the line. I got myself up near the front row and waited, ready to start the camera. I joked to some of the riders that they should ignore the camera and pay attention to riding. Yeah, right!
Then we were off! A mass of riders, 70 plus, sprinting up a narrow corridor. Not wanting to lose my position and also to keep riders in the camera, I hammered forward. We traveled onto the grass and then passed through the quick left right. Maybe someone would crash, behind me please, so it would get on camera. Luckily no one crashed… well, lucky for racing but not for action video!
Back onto the paved section, flying past the parking lot, and then back onto the dirt. Down this dusty bumpy section to a 180 degree turn that sent us back towards the first set of barriers. Off the bike, over the double barriers, back on the bike, find the pedals, and start sprinting back up to speed. Which sent us to a nice fast downhill dirt road that gave a little bit of recovery time. At the bottom, bleeding some of that lovely speed, sliding it left onto the grass, down a small rise, and then zig zag towards a soft powder right turn.
Cruised around this and then up towards the barns. Back and forth around the barns and at the end, a second set of double barriers. Dismount, hop skip jump, remount and then down and across to a short bumpy grassy uphill. Up this power sucking hill, tight left around the tree, and then down and around the corral to the first run-up.

This run-up, with a barrier just at the base, grew steeper and softer near the top. My heart rate grew steeper but harder near the top. Go figure! Jump on the bike and head off onto the pavement around the stalls. Breath, breath, breath… Jeesh, this is only the first lap.
A tricky little 180 degree downhill uphill turn, through some soft powder, and then off along the back bumpy grass section. At the end of this, a quick right turn down to a grassy section with a head wind. It helped to be on a wheel here. But then you were soon back near the stalls, zig zagging around them, and off onto the pavement. Hammer down this straight to another 180 degree left hander. A fast drop down to the dirt, across towards the barns, past them, and then around and up the grass to the second run-up.
Another barrier at the base of this run-up. Off the bike, over the barrier, and then up the short and steep climb. Luckily it had been raced enough and there were footsteps the whole way up. Great footing and the spacing was perfect. At the top, back on the bike, around a corner and into another soft deep powder corner. That reminds me, I need to tune my snowboard… Out of this powder and onto the grass for the final two turns to the pavement and the stretch to the start finish.

One lap down!

This repeated for a total of 50 minutes of joy. Some unlucky riders only got to ride less than 50 minutes while others more than 50 minutes. My time earned my a 27th place.

Some additional notes from the race:

<> Heading up the run-up trying to get Dennis’ attention for the video gear handoff. Yoohoo, Dennis! Hey! My helmet? Dennis? :’) p.s. Thanks Dennis for the help. The video will be worth it.
<> SyCip riders getting unlucky breaks during the race. Sorry Stephen, Brett. In fact, I didn’t know Brett had a problem and that I had passed him. I still thought he was in the lead. On the last lap I saw him coming up behind me. I thought “oh crap, I’m going to be lapped”. I figured I must have read the lap cards wrong. Took me a second to realize what must have happened. Oh, and he beat me anyways.
<> Getting harassed by Matt and Funke for smiling and goofing off during the race.


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