This past weekend was the "San Diego Double Header" with a race on Saturday at Lake Hodges (SPYclocross San Diego) and Sunday at Balboa Park (Adams Avenue Cyclo-Cross). Racing at new venues is always so exciting! Lake Hodges was a brand new venue so although we had ridden in the area we had never raced there. To up the ante even further Sunday's race was to start and finish on the San Diego Velodrome. Allison and I had never even ridden on a track before so our excitement level for the race was definitely very high! To make the weekend even better Allison arranged for us to camp out at Steph and Dan's house, Mannimal Reunion Meat Festival!!!!!
I have been slacking horribly in the mechanical department so the bikes were not at all ready for another race weekend. I am glad that the race on Saturday was close enough to home, and starting late enough, that I had time to get up and at least do some abbreviated race prep in the morning before we had to head out. Eventually we hit the road and before I knew it I had picked up my Series Leader jersey was heading out to check out the course.
First off I was stoked to have another flyover, despite the fact that it was not functional (didn't have any usable passageway below). The course was really pretty good IMO. It wasn't the typical CX course as there was zero tarmac and almost zero grass. Last week there had been quite a lot of heated discussion on Facebook about the course. I didn't really chime into the conversation as I am not an "OG" cyclocross racer. Not to disrespect the big dogs, but I actually like having the variety of courses. I really think that the course was fun. I wouldn't rank it high for "All-Time Greats", but it had a good variety of features. There were super fast sections, some long sandy sections, some tricky corners and **GASP** singletrack!
Before the race Allison took a few pictures of me in the leader's jersey and when I saw this one I thought with the beard that I could maybe do a funny bit of editing...
Being series leader affords me the privilege of first call up.
Though that doesn't guarantee that I will actually have a decent start as demonstrated moments later. I got absolutely swarmed off the gun and was probably 6th wheel or so as we headed out. Johnny O' definitely was on his game though and was out front and pulling away immediately. The high speed double track descent was broken up by a kink in the course and a couple of the riders in front of me went down which jammed things up a bit and let O' Show open the gap further. By the bottom of the course I was fourth wheel with O' Show checked out, Todd Stevenson and Jeff Sanford battling, and a gap back to me. My goal was really to catch Johnny and I sort of hoped that Todd and Jeff would work with me. At the end of the first lap I had caught the duo and as we headed out onto the fast section of the course for lap 2 I went to the front to pull.
I hoped that giving them a bit of draft could help us all reel in Johnny but I heard Todd yell up "Thanks." neither of them ever came to the front again. Though this picture definitely shows that they weren't far behind me two laps into the race.
I was pretty sure there was no way I could reel O' Show in without help but I am not smart enough to not try... and fail.
Luckily for me Johnny is almost old enough to be my dad and although he seems to kick my butt regularly we aren't in the same age group. Winning my age group means I get to go for a celebratory leap!
After my race I tried to re-hydrate and ran around taking pictures and dousing the women as they battled through the hot afternoon. Eventually after Allison got done crushing the course and collecting another win it was time to head South again for Meat Fest and some time with the original Mannimals!
Sunday morning we were up early and headed over to check out the course at Balboa Park. The course was much more of a traditional CX course, but also had some very rough sections that I would say were more mountain bike specific than a buff piece of singletrack! I heard lots of people complaining about flats and even broken carbon rims! The course was also a little confusing on the first few laps. In some places it was so wide that there was no indication that one was still on course! It was however quite fun with long grass sections, dirt, some cement walkways and wait for it... the Start and Finish on the San Diego Velodrome!!!! Here is a video of the start of the Master's 35+ A race, yep that is me on the front!
Though I did lead the race from start to finish it wasn't as easy as it sounds. I didn't know what the gaps were and I was pinned the whole time despite the fact that I had already signed up to race the Elite Men's race immediately after finishing the 35+ race!
It was totally rad that they incorporated the Velodrome into the race!
The joy of victory was quickly wiped away though as I suffered horribly in the Elite race and wound up pulling out when my legs started to cramp up. I had been desperately trying to hang onto James Walsh after catching him and with two and a half laps to go just ran out of fitness. After changing clothes I grabbed the camera and you can likely find any number of (hopefully) sweet pictures I took on Allison's blog. I am not a great photographer so I hope my spray and pray technique yielded something useful for her along with all that work of sorting through the crap photos.
See you at the next one!