Friday, December 9, 2011

L.A. Cyclocross

I am still fairly lame about blog posting.
Gonna try to pick it up a bit here.

Mary and I went to L.A. for some super fun cyclocross racing last weekend.

The race was held at the Downtown Historic Park, which seemed to have no real history involved, although it was apparently an old railroad switching yard.

Nick and his family joined us both Saturday and Sunday.
They were an awesome rooting section for him!

Here are the juniors line up and ready to start.
Nick's bent over in the second row.
The two race leaders somehow got off course Saturday, so Nick was leading briefly.
He rode a real strong race and finished third.
I dropped down to the 45+ Cat 3/4 group and found myself battling for 3rd Saturday and 2nd Sunday in fields over 20 guys. Kinda made some tactical errors and ended up 6th and 5th, but oh man was it exciting to be in the hunt for a podium finish!

Here I am getting ready to remount after the log runup.
As usual, there were lots of tight, twisty corners requiring constant concentration.
We all enjoyed decidedly un-cyclocross weather.
I sported shorts and tees both afternoons.

Nick and I were stoked with the whole deal!
Saturday we stuck around for the pro races.

Here the women were feted with a traditional Chinese dragon dance before their start.
After Nicole Duke flatted the battle shaped up between Julie Krasniak, Sue Butler, and Meredith Miller.
The racing in the second group was tight too.
Miller rode a smart race, letting Krasniak set the pace early and Butler later, then attacked on the last lap to drop Butler and take the win.
The men's race was exciting too.

Ben Berden had the intense race face going on the start line.
The men's race quickly boiled down to five men: Tim Johnson, Ben Berden, Chris Jones, Chris Sheppard, and Alan Krughoff.

Early on Krughoff set the pace, shown here with T Johnson on his wheel.
Cody Kaiser, one of the top Under 23 racers in the country, chased hard, but never quite bridged up to the leading five.
Like Miller in the women's race, Tim Johnson let the others do the pace making for the most part, with Krughoff leading the pack early and Sheppard on the front frequently mid race.

Sheppard put in a couple hard attacks late in the race to no avail.
Then, on the last lap, Tim Johnson played his cards with a huge dig that blew the lead pack apart.
Berden was able to hang in there for a bit, but yet another surge by TJ dropped him too.
Good stuff!
Good times as both a fan and a racer!!

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