Race Report :: Surf City Cyclocross #4 (Finals)
Yee haw! We’re off to the fairgrounds. The finals of the Surf City series were at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. This is a great location because of the its easy access, parking, large grassy area, and mixture of terrain and obstacles for the course.
Drove down early so my teammate Matt could do the Senior A’s race. Driving teammates is a great way to guarantee getting to the event on time. I also needed to get there early so I could film one of the earlier races. This time I decided to film the women’s race.
I picked up a new remote controller for my video camera and this would be the first race to try it out. The remote is wired and allows me to fully control my camera while it is packed away in the CamelBak. Before, I would have to remove the CamelBak, pull out the camera, and toggle the various switches. Now I can start/stop/pause the recording on-the-fly. Before, I would have to leave it recording during dead shots since it would be too much trouble and time to get to the camera.
With the new setup ready to go, I jumped into the back row of the women lining up for their race. This always get some looks from people that aren’t familiar with my filming. But, I guess I have done it enough now that I usually get ‘hellos’ and joking catcalls from spectators.
The women’s race started and off I went, trying to capture the action as best as I could. Followed for a lap and then hung out at the off-camber grass corner so I could film the leaders. Rachel Lloyd came flying around and I waited, assuming the rest of the leaders would be just behind her. I felt like the teacher in ‘Ferris Beuller’s Day Off’. Anyone? Anyone?
Then the chase leaders appeared and I jumped on to film the attacks. Let me tell you, these women can fly. They were hammering the course and showing better skills than most of the riders I chase. Watch the video.
After grabbing some final shots I headed back to the truck and swapped out the video gear for my race gear. It was the last race of the series so I figured I should try a little bit harder and take it a little more serious than I have.
Our big guns were there, Jeremy (I feel tired but place in top 5), Brett, Mike, John R., Stephen, and our new blood Matt Young. Oh, and myself :’)
Badda boom and we were off! Off into a nice bunch up on the first left turn. Argh. Caught behind goofballs. Oh well, try to hammer around and through and attack through the barriers. Some dork that got a bad start comes blasting by people into the corner, bumping and yelling. ‘Get a life!’ someone yells. Then he slams into the tree on the tight right turn after the barriers, almost falling over and taking others with him. Right on dude, your in 30th, maybe you can get to 28th with another move like that.
Luckily the race smoothed out and the field spread. I felt good and more and more confident with my new SyCip cyclocross bike. I started into my rhythm and began looking for people to attack. I began moving forward, passing here and there. Before long I came up to Jace (team Hancock) and tagged behind for a moment and then passed him. He used me as a rabbit and we continued at a good pace around the course. My teammate Page was also working his way up to us. Out of nowhere he got a burst of speed and passed us. Good job!
On the last lap I made my hard effort and pulled away. Things were going well until my rear wheel pulled out of the drop out. Duh! I hopped off and scrambled to loosen the quick release, remount the wheel, tighten, and hop on and get going again. Delay? Maybe 30 seconds. But that’s forever in this race. Several people passed me during this time. Argh.
Back on the bike and knowing it was last lap, I dug in hard and sprinted to make up any time I could. At the top of the long run-up I hopped on the bike and promptly dropped my chain. Double duh!! Another few seconds of fumbling with the chain and then off again. By now I had dropped at least 10 places. Argh argh argh!
I hammered my way around and towards the finish. A big group was just ahead and I sprinted hard to catch up. But, they had a gap and were also sprinting for the finish. I sailed over the finish line just behind.
But I felt good with the majority of my race. The two mishaps were both dumb mistakes on my part. Lessons learned.
p.s. Thanks to my teammates for support!